Inspiring Engagement with the Arts in a Revitalized North Core
Story by Leah Ching, Photos by Patrick Chondon
For the twelfth installation of Thunder Bay’s premiere arts and culture event, Definitely Superior Art Gallery is welcoming the community to rediscover the city’s north core and indulge in multi-sensory displays of art, music, and performance at Urban Infill, taking place on the evening of April 7.
Boasting 2,500 attendees last year, this one-night event brings together the multi-disciplinary works of over 400 regional, national, and international artists in 25 downtown locations. Also featured are nine live bands and DJs and an impressive range of performance art that includes dance, theatre, drag performance, body suspension, and even an “oculus rift” virtual reality experience.
Initiated in 2006, Urban Infill sought to revitalize the community’s downtown north core by capitalizing on assets of art and culture, reinforcing connections to the city’s spaces, and showcasing the diverse works of multidisciplinary artists, both established and emerging.
Representative of the next evolution in creative possibilities, the event makes use of both empty/underutilized spaces and existing arts and commercial business/social spaces to create a unique hub for urban arts and entertainment, complete with performative tour guides at each location to show visitors the way.
“The Infill offers a commitment and passion for presenting contemporary artworks in alternative, everyday spaces to develop the audience’s experience, and deepen engagement with the arts. Urban Infill promotes Thunder Bay as an extraordinary and uniquely creative place,” says Def Sup’s executive/artistic director David Karasiewicz. “This event is a fusion of multiple art forms that work symbiotically with local commercial spaces and businesses in an event that many comment on as ‘something they could only imagine seeing in a larger city like Toronto or New York.’ Yet, this original event is a part of our scene right here in Thunder Bay.”
Going into its twelfth year, Urban Infill has been acknowledged provincially and nationally for its ability to engage artists and the community on a variety of levels, and for taking action through the arts to transform the city that it inhabits. “Premised upon the concept of ‘creative city partnerships,’ the fusion of art into the urban landscape promotes the cultural image of Thunder Bay, creating a new model of urban development and planning for the future,” explains Karasiewicz. “In the 12-year history of the Infill, we have utilized over 25 buildings and spaces throughout downtown, all of which were rented or sold on completion of the event, showing its ability to aid in vital downtown revitalization and art/community engagement.”
Attendees are invited to start at Definitely Superior Art Gallery, located at 250 Park Avenue, to pick up their art map and then enjoy a Nuit Blanche-like evening starting with the downtown-wide gala event running from 7 to 11 pm, and culminating with an “arty after-party” that runs until 2 am. More information can be found at definitelysuperior.com/events.