Party with art at Chromatic

What’s on offer at the fourth edition of Chromatic, a multidisciplinary art fest that invites the public to interact with art and artists in a multitude of settings.

Montreal is a festival city, with more than its fair share of arts, music and film festivals taking place throughout the year. This Saturday, the fourth annual installment of Chromatic kicks off, and it’s as multi-disciplinary as can get, boasting a dance party, film screenings, a magazine reading room, silent auction and the chance to admire over 150 artworks and installations.

Chromatic was started four years ago by MASSIVart to showcase the city’s best creative talents and create links between artists, professionals and the public. According to founder Philippe Demers, Chromatic owes its multi-disciplinary programme to Montreal’s vast creative community.

“With Chromatic, we’re celebrating creativity in Montreal,” Demers says. “We want to use the city as a display case. It’s a little bit like a huge fair where visitors are in contact with all forms of art, and there’s a richness that comes from the meeting of all these artistic forms.”

In the spirit of organized chaos, Chromatic has invited artists to submit works inspired by the theme of reflection, either aesthetically, by employing visually-reflective surfaces like mirrors and water, or thematically, through the ideas of introspection and of turning inward.

And as a reflection of not only Montreal’s artists but its art-loving public, Chromatic hopes to attract a wide audience through a varied array of events.

“Even for people who don’t usually visit galleries, Chromatic tries to reach out to them by placing art in unconventional places,” Demers says of the festival, which includes a dance party surrounded by installation and artworks. “We have different events for different audiences, for those who like to go out, to those who like galleries, interactive events and even events for families with young children.”

So, without further ado, here’s what’ll happen when Montreal goes Chromatic.

Music, art, and performance join together under the Darling Foundry’s roof for the Nuit Chromatique “art party,” the official kick-off to the festival programme. Featuring work by over 100 artists, live performance and sound stylings from Montreal, New York and Toronto, Nuit Chromatic promises a night of sensory overload. The evening features a full lineup of live bands, including AroarA, Memoryhouse and Toast Dawg, while local artists Labrona and Tyler invite the public to play voyeur to their artistic process as they participate in live painting on canvas as part of Chromatic’s Art En Direct segment. On the terrasse, LNDMRK offers Montrealers an exciting preview of their upcoming MURALE public art festival by featuring a live painting by one of the artists slated to paint The Main pretty later this June. May 18, 8 p.m., $15 presale, $20 at the door

The next day, May 19, Ottawa street in front of the Foundry will be transformed into a picnic space for a family-friendly afternoon event with plenty of hands-on art workshops for kids. 12-5 p.m., free

Chromatic’s art exposition is a trifecta of film, print and installation art installed in various spaces at the Darling Foundry. The SAS installation space will feature Chromatic’s reflection-inspired pieces, like a “never-ending” mirror by Baillat & Cardel, among other interactive installations. Meanwhile, the Chromatic Gallery showcases the works of over 50 local artists, like local graffiti writer STARE, who recently exhibited at the Yves Laroche gallery, and photography by Montreal’s Jonah Migicovsky. In the Lounge, viewers will be invited to sit back and enjoy short films by Sarah Ouellet, Pulses & Tind and Matthew Schoen. For readers, Paper Pusher and Papirmasse present an informal reading room, where visitors can discover Montreal-based publications like SNAP! Magazine, Nouveau Projet and Esse art review. May 18-22, 8 a.m.-8 p.m., free

Local silk-screening company Station 16 have just the solution for that awkward empty wall-space above your desk — a limited-edition, hand-pulled print created especially for Chromatic 2013. Viewers will have the chance to take a little piece of Chromatic home with them as they discover quality printed pieces by a variety of local artists. Station 16 will be on-site at the Darling Foundry in the Centrale section from 8 p.m. to 3 a.m. Chromatic-goers will also have the chance to bid on artwork created especially for the Chromatic festival, either on-site at the Foundry or online. Winning bidders will be announced at the festival wrap party Art Affaire.

Wannabe artists with more impulse than talent will get the chance to participate in an interactive drawing experiment created by Albane Guy and Alexandre Renzo. The Chromatograph works by dragging pencils attached to metal bars along a large canvas, producing geometric, clean-looking lines. Participants will also be able to follow the Chromatograph’s doodles at

Chromatic invites professionals, artists, and art-lovers to the relaxed wrap party where viewers are invited to re-discover the works offered by the city’s artists during the Chromatic festival. Presented by Infopresse, Art Affaire is styled as a meeting place to encourage discussion between viewers and artists, and perhaps the chance to purchase and take home “a few treasures” from the festival. May 22, 5-11 p.m., $15 presale, $20 online  

Chromatic festival runs May 18-22 at Darling Foundry (745 Ottawa).

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