UPDATE: DUE TO UNSETTLED WEATHER THIS WEEKEND, EVENT POSTPONED TILL SEPTEMBER
By MIKE CHAIKEN
The city’s arts and culture scene will get a chance to shine this Saturday as White Night Bristol returns for a second installment.
Last summer, the first ever White Night Bristol was held at the American Clock and Watch Museum, which was a secret location that was only revealed the day of the event, although clues were sprinkled across the social media for days before hand.
“The response was great,” said local artist Kim Villanti, who was one of the organizers of the event last year and this year. “Many people showed up who had never been to the American Clock & Watch Museum before and they not only had a great time, but enjoyed touring the museum’s amazing clock and watch collections for free.”
The event is returning for 2014, said Villanti because “we knew we could build upon a good thing. We promoted the event strictly through social media, i.e. Twitter and Facebook, and actually watched the views of the Facebook page go up after the event, which told us that people were talking favorably about it and spreading the word.”
For those unfamiliar with the White Night concept, Villanti explained, “White Nights have always been associated with art installations, museums open to the public for free and live art. Around the world they are known as Nuit Blanches, as they originated in Paris over 30 years ago.”
“Many cities now have them (London, Montreal, and New York City are among the urban locations), and so the American Clock & Watch Museum wanted to host a mini version of a White Night by offering jazz music, (having) the museum open to everyone, (hosting) an artist painting live on site, and having everyone bring their own food and beverage of choice, along with a lawn chair to enjoy the evening.
“Adding to the theme, everyone wears something white,” said Villanti.
Why bring a White Night to Bristol? Villanti replied, “White Nights are usually associated with arts and culture. Many cities around the world host White Nights and museums are usually open free of charge all night long. Bristol actually has many museums for a city of its size and we wanted to show that the town has a wonderful arts and culture presence by highlighting one of its museums.”
Last year, the location was kept a “secret.” But this year, organizers announced ahead of time White Night will return to the American Clock & Watch Museum.
“Last year, we wanted the element of surprise,” said Villanti of the “secret” surrounding the event. “We posted clues about where it might be but did not announce its location until 48 hours before the event. There was quite a buzz about it online with people trying to figure out who was hosting it.
“This year,” said Villanti, “we wanted to build on the fact that the museum was the host and continue offering a wonderful venue for a fun themed event.”
As for why the public should come out to the White Night, Villanti said, “It is a celebration of all that is great about Bristol, as well as its clockmaking history and the beautiful museum that resides in our own backyard.
“Last year,” said Villanti, “we had people come who live right on Federal Hill who had never been inside the museum before. They could not believe the gorgeous collection of artistry on display in a museum that they pass by every day.”
White Night Bristol will be held Saturday, Aug. 2 from 6 to 9 p.m. at the American Clock and Watch Museum, 100 Maple St., on the city’s Federal Hill. Attendees are asked to bring their own food, beverage of choice, lawn chair and wear something white if you like. There will be live jazz music, an artist painting on site, a drawing for an oil painting by a local artist and several bottles of locally made red wine. The Parkside Cafe will serve complimentary coffee. And there will be a scavenger hunt for families in the museum.
White Night Bristol is free.
For event updates, “like” “White Night Bristol” page on Facebook.