Antigonight Art After Dark is a FREE interactive contemporary arts festival that takes place in Antigonish, NS annually in September. Local and regional professional artists and groups present projects in a mix of venues (library, outdoors, parks, etc.)
Antigonight: Art After Dark Festival is a free arts festival that aims to be inclusive and accessible to all persons. This year, the festival runs from September 4th-18th in Antigonish, L'nuewa'ki (Mi’kma’ki)/Nova Scotia.
We are inviting artists from anywhere in the world who have roots in Nova Scotia and Atlantic Canada to create experimental new works for the festival, including but not limited to: video, performance, dance, sound, sculpture, and installation, which can be presented online or in-person in the town of Antigonish.
Participating Antigonight artists will receive CARFAC-mandated artist fees in payment for their work. We strongly encourage members of LGBTQIA2+ communities, non-White communities, newcomers, and persons with disabilities to apply.
Our 2021 curator-in-residence, Jessica Mensch, has chosen the theme of “connection” for this year’s festival. We seek proposals that transform the way we think about our relationships and connections to one another, as well as to the non-human world; works that re-evaluate social hierarchies and our priorities within them. This may take the form of speculative storytelling: works that envision a world you haven’t seen before.
White scholar and activist Donna Haraway suggests in “Staying with the Trouble” that perhaps there is a better way of framing and being in the world we share not just with other humans but with our animal kin. She writes: “It matters what stories make worlds, what worlds make stories…Like all offspring of colonizing and imperial histories, I – we – have to relearn how to conjugate worlds with partial connections and not universals and particulars…”
In other words, we’re calling on you to offer us your own radical experiments or vision of what sustainable transformation looks like.
Applications are closed. Come back soon to check out our 2021 lineup!
Since its inception in 2010, Antigonight Art After Dark has been Antigonish Culture Alive’s most recognizable and popular public art event. It is specifically designed to offer the public an opportunity to appreciate art in a public venue. The festival provides both the opportunity for artists to display their work and become known within the community but also gives the community the opportunity to interact with contemporary artwork of different mediums, such as dance, theatre, music, visual arts, and other forms of live artistic interaction. Annual attendance at the festival has been around 3,000 for the last two years. The festival takes place in September and is free, open to all, and accessible by wheelchair and stroller. Art projects are positioned around downtown venues including parks, closed-off sections of Main Street, and the public library where visitors have easy access to the exhibits. Exhibits and performances are found on sidewalks and in storefronts, alleyways, and nooks and crannies of the downtown. Each year, artists are invited to submit proposals and selected to present projects that are participatory in nature. Over the years, projects have included music, dance, painting, sculpture, workshops in visual arts, storytelling, performance, and theatre.
Antigonight acknowledges the over-representation of White, cisgender, able-bodied voices in the arts. We prioritize and encourage perspectives, work, and input from individuals who belong to L’nuewa’ki (Mi’kma’ki)/Nova Scotia’s marginalized and underrepresented communities. We strongly encourage applicants to self-identify in their application.
- Provide free and accessible arts programming for North-Eastern L’nuewa’ki (Mi’kma’ki)/Nova Scotia.
- Provide artists from diverse backgrounds and gender-diverse communities with the opportunity to create experimental new works in the town of Antigonish, including but not limited to: video, performance, dance, sound, sculpture, visual art, and installation.
- Support artists with a connection to L’nuewa’ki (Mi’kma’ki)/Nova Scotia and provide them with opportunities to build networks with cultural workers and community members from across the region.
- Create a safe and supportive environment for artists and audiences from all walks of life to perform and participate.
- Provide CARFAC fees to participating artists.
Antigonight acknowledges the over-representation of White, cisgender, able-bodied voices in the arts. We are actively working to change the lack of representation and power imbalances within our arts community, and are striving to transform the systems that sustain these inequities. As such, we prioritize and encourage perspectives, work, and input from L’nuewa’ki (Mi’kma’ki)/Nova Scotia’s repressed and oppressed communities within the arts sector. We strongly encourage applicants from 2SLGBTQIA+ communities, BIPOC and non-White communities, newcomers, and persons with disabilities.
To ensure the selection process for Antigonight is done through a lens of equity, we would like to better identify those individuals/groups who are seeking equity and who typically experience barriers within the Canadian arts sector. If you would like to self-identify, we encourage you to do so, but by no means is this mandatory. We are invested in identifying equitable opportunities and this info will be used/seen only by festival staff, organizers, and the Selection Committee to make Antigonight more inclusive.
Antigonight has zero tolerance for discrimination or violence. This includes but is not limited to protecting the rights outlined in the Nova Scotian Human Rights Code: age; race; colour; religion; creed; sex; sexual orientation; gender identity; gender expression; physical disability or mental disability; ethnic, national or Indigenous origin; family status; marital status; source of income; or political belief, affiliation or activity.
Antigonight strives to be a safe space. We have a zero-tolerance policy for anyone who mistreats, harasses or disrespects audience members, festival staff, and artists. If you see anyone or anything that acts in violation of our mandate, we request your feedback. In addition, if you have suggestions as to how we may better improve our festival or the safety of our artists, patrons and collaborators, please let us know.
Antigonight is located in L'nuewa'ki, which has been and shall always be the unceded territory of the L’nuk (Mi'kmaw) people. This territory is covered by the “Treaties of Peace and Friendship” which L’nuk, Wolastoqiyik (Maliseet), and Passamaquoddy Nations signed between 1760-61. These treaties did not surrender rights to lands and resources. Rather, they recognized L’nuk ('Mi'kmaq) and Wolastoqiyik (Maliseet) the right to hunt, fish, farm and earn a reasonable living without British interference. "The Treaty of 1761 was signed on 25 June by the Miramichi, Shediac, Pokemouche and Cape Breton Mi’kmaq in a ‘Burying the Hatchet’ ceremony in Halifax. The Chignecto and Pictou Mi’kmaq signed onto the 1761 treaty on 12 October." Wallace, Sarah Isabel. “Peace and Friendship Treaties.” The Canadian Encyclopedia, May 30, 2018, www.thecanadianencylopedia.ca. https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/peace-and-friendship-treaties
Antigonight recognizes that Indigenous and Black & African Nova Scotian artists are underrepresented by art institutions. It is our job to eliminate oppressive practices and to critically examine settler colonialism within Antigonight’s institutional structure.
The entire Antigonight team is deeply grateful to be allowed to live, work, and create on this beautiful land. We commit to collaborating with, amplifying, and connecting with the many art communities that live and work here in L'nuewa'ki.
The art created by L’nuk and Black & African Nova Scotian artists enriches all of us living in L'nuewa'ki.
We are all treaty people.
Colleen MacIsaac, the effects were cumulative and i almost didn’t notice,
Antigonight 2019, photo by Foundry Photography.
Jessica Mensch (she/her) is a White settler artist whose work straddles painting, video, music, stage design and installation, inviting contemplation between these spheres of production and the position of women within them. Mensch received her MFA from Hunter College in 2019 and currently teaches in the Art Department at St.FX University. She has received support from the Canada Council for the Arts and was shortlisted for the RBC Painting Prize. Mensch also works collaboratively with artists Emily Pelstring and Katherine Kline to produce Sistership TV, a web series that explores topics such as telepresence and animal communication. Mensch is honoured to be given the opportunity to be Artistic Director for Antigonight, 2021. Her goal is create an inclusive and accessible festival that presents groundbreaking work by artists from diverse backgrounds.
Pictured is a digital portrait of Jessica by Dan Bray. She is depicted from the neck up as a white woman with brown hair, purple eyebrows and lips and brown eyes. The background is yellow.
Dan Bray (he/him) is a multidisciplinary, White settler artist and recent Antigonish import, having moved here last July. He is so happy to be back in a small, welcoming town after spending so many years in bigger cities. Dan is the artistic director of The Villains Theatre, an independent company he founded in 2009, as well as the former Vice Chair of the Halifax Fringe Festival and Outreach & Development Coordinator for Live Art Dance. A multi-Merritt award nominee, Dan has worked with many of the finest theatre companies in Mi’kma’ki/Nova Scotia, including Two Planks & a Passion, Eastern Front, and Shakespeare by the Sea. He also holds an MA from the University of Toronto’s Graduate Centre for Study of Drama. Dan has performed at Antigonight, most recently with North Barn Theatre Collective’s puppet show, Late Night Radio. Dan is honoured to be working for this wonderful local festival and will strive to make it the most exciting, most inclusive it has ever been!
Dan is a white man with brown hair and beard, hazel eyes, and dark eyebrows. In this digital portrait, he is portrayed as shrugging and shrugging against a textured pink background.
Late Night Radio, Antigonight 2020, photo by Noella Murphy.