Story by Olivia Levesque, Photos by Chad Kirvan

Definitely Superior Art Gallery’s Urban Infill – Art In The Core has become a well-known event to those in Thunder Bay and surrounding areas. Celebrating its 11th year, once again Def Sup is working hard to create an interactive and sensory affair for 2017. The festivities started with the popular Derelicte 9 and continued through February, and will culminate on March 25 with the Urban Infill main event, with visual pieces from the event accessible until March 28.

Art admirers and community seekers have traveled from near and far to experience the extravaganza, as Renée Terpstra, Def Sup’s development/administrator, explains. “We are beginning to see people travel to attend the event,” she says. “Many of them are coming from Northern Minnesota.” The draw of the event is undeniable as it captures the essence of Thunder Bay’s multi-disciplinary art community with live music performances, visual and interactive art pieces, performance art displays, and so much more. Terpstra states the importance of the event is having an “emphasis on downtown revitalization, through contemporary arts, specifically partnering with artists in the region.”

David Karasiewicz, the gallery’s executive/artistic director, spoke of the art community expanding, growing, and reaching out as being a huge impact on the development of the Downtown North Core over the last 10 years. “Everyone who works, lives, and plays in the arts were found downtown,” he says. Karasiewicz describes Urban Infill as having a symbiotic relationship with local businesses, galleries, and other art programs and initiatives. The downtown scene is a lot different than it was 11 years ago when Urban Infill began, which Karasiewicz and Terpstra explain as a challenging but exploratory aspect of the planning.

The event organizers state how lucky they feel to have such interest and participation from the local businesses in the area. The event gives Thunder Bay a chance to open its doors and allow empty spaces to be transformed into something completely magnificent. “People are coming for the art, but also for the sake of curiosity because this event allows the general public to gain access to what are usually unavailable spaces,” explains Terpstra. Another main goal of the event is to create a sense of safety at night in parts of town it encompasses, as well as accessibility.

In the past the event has been compared to Nuit Blanche, a large all-night arts festival that takes place globally. However, as Urban Infill ages, it has really come into its own and is becoming unique to Thunder Bay. Karasiewicz says the event is different as it is a blend of gallery hops that have Nuit Blanche aspects but on a scale for Thunder Bay. “It’s more regional, connections are being made, and it’s more intimate,” he says.

Urban Infill showcases regional, national, and international artists. Diane Landry, who is a well-known contemporary Canadian artist, will be be showcased at the event with her award-winning contemporary piece Solo Knight. The installation will be at Definitely Superior Art Gallery for the Urban Infill event, where doors will open at 7 on March 25. It will be a night of unforgettable experiences with over 18 projects, 400 artists, 25 locations, 150 volunteers, and 35 businesses participating. You won’t want to miss this.

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