About antigonight: art after dark festival

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 3rd-18th in Antigonish, L'nuewa'ki (Mi’kma’ki)/Nova Scotia.

The theme for this year’s festival is “connection.” Our 2021 Artistic Director, Jessica Mensch, curated works that transform the way we think about our relationships and connections to one another, as well as to the non-human world by re-evaluating social hierarchies and our priorities within them. This often took the form of speculative storytelling, with works that envision a world you haven’t seen before.

Since its inception in 2010, Antigonight: Art After Dark has been Antigonish Culture Alive’s most recognizable and popular outdoor, public art event. The festival provides an opportunity for artists to display their work and become known within the community and give the community the chance to interact with contemporary art spanning multiple mediums, such as dance, theatre, music, sound art, and installation art. 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. 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 lean towards the participatory.

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. 

Our Mandate/Vision:
  • 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,

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.



Mensch is a White settler curator and 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 honored to be given the opportunity to be Artistic Director for Antigonight, 2021. Her goal is to 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.


Becca Semple (she/they) is a curator, arts educator and facilitator currently based in K'jipuktuk/Halifax. She has a passion for art, history, and plants, and loves to work with projects which allow for an intersection of these passions. She has been involved with Antigonight for 6 seasons, as a volunteer, summer student, and now Arts Coordinator of the festival's parent organization, Antigonish Culture Alive. Becca completed their undergrad at Saint Francis Xavier University in History, and completed a Masters in Art History and Curatorial Studies at Carleton University in 2018. They have held curatorial and education roles both as staff and intern at the National Gallery of Canada and Carleton University Art Gallery, and have a curatorial project opening October 2021 at the Dalhousie Art Gallery. Becca is excited to be back in her hometown of Antigonish bringing art to the community at large!


Becca Semple is a white person with brown hair and green eyes, and dark eyebrows. In this photo, they are wearing a white baggy t-shirt and round, thick-rimmed glasses.




Late Night Radio, Antigonight 2020, photo by Noella Murphy.

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