I wasn’t planning on writing another post about Saint John this week. But last night, something pretty special happened and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it. What happened was that the folks at Third Space Gallery put on Third Shift, Saint John’s first (and hopefully not last) interactive outdoor art show.
Comprised of 17 exhibits from 29 artists and spread over the Trinity Royal District of Uptown, this event was all kinds of magic. When my husband and I arrived Uptown around 8pm, the event was in full swing and the streets were pulsing with people and excitement. The Saint John fog was thick and lent a air of mystery to the whole affair. There was a large crowd enjoying Acre Architects’ re-imagining of public spaces, The Park, which transformed Grannan Lane into a sparkling urban oasis, where only a street had existed before.
Another favourite of mine was I Love You More With Every Remembering by Amy Ash, which asked participants to write a love letter to a place they had left behind and pin them on strings located around Canterbury Car Park. The exhibit made excellent use of this property, currently undergoing construction. Picaroons’ was giving away free samples of their brews, soon to be sold in this very location. The entire property was aglow in red light and looked spectacular, even in it’s unfinished state.
Crossing the street, we played with the ingenious Light Graffiti exhibit by Kate MacDonald and checked out Photomatic: Travelling Tintype Studio by Karen Stentaford and Christie Lawrence. Venturing a little further up the street brought us to another magical exhibit, Field Recording by Jud Crandall, where bubbles were floating across Canterbury as an audio recording from a winter snowstorm earlier this year played. The effect was dreamlike.
And there were so many more wonderful exhibits. I don’t think we even saw them all. The event was an unequivocal success. It gave the people of Saint John, myself included, a chance to experience art in a totally new, inclusive way. It caused you fall even more in love with your city while at the same time seeing it in a whole new light. And I guess that’s the point of art, to push our consciousness to expand and develop. And Third Shift certainly succeeded.
I walked by Grannan Lane today and the grass is gone, but the magical feeling remains. And I think few who were Uptown last night will soon forget the experience. Thank you to all the organizers, artists, contributors and volunteers who made the event a night of art and magic to remember.