Friday, 31 May 2013

Art party in an abondoned hospital? Don't mind if I do.

I was born at Women's College Hospital on a cold wintery day back in 1982.  Then my sister and all my first cousins were born there too.  Whenever any of my girls needed urgent care, we would visit the good folks at WCH.  The urgent care centre has now been closed for almost two years and they are getting ready to take down the old hospital walls and put up brand new ones in the hopes of being able to help the women of the world that much more.  It's pretty exciting stuff, if you ask me.

So when the good folks of Art Battle hatched an idea to have the battle of battles in a (haunted?) place, I had to investigate.

Let me start by giving you a little info on this Art Battle business.  Art battle is a monthly event where artists face off against each other. There are generally 3 rounds lasting twenty minutes each where painters work furiously to create the "best" piece.  The winner is selected by spectator voting and then all the works are auctioned off. Beautiful.  Cage matches are a whole other story, so I'll save that for another time. 


Paint the Halls worked in a pretty similar manner, except
it was kind of like Art Battle on steroids, but the good kind.  Not the kind that makes your junk shrivel up. Instead of canvases each artist was given a piece of a wall on which to paint and they were given 75 minutes in which to complete their work.  As the 60 artists raced to complete their murals, spectators wandered the halls with Sharpees in hand, leaving their own wall scribbles behind.    

Ok, let me try to create the scene for you.  We were having one of our disgustingly hot and sticky Toronto days yesterday and 1500 people were crammed into the abandoned (abandoned means there's no air conditioning) second floor of Women's College Hospital.  The drinks were flowing and the food venders were well, vending.  Tasty treats could be found around every corner. And as you wandered the halls, you were enveloped by the most intoxicating of atmospheres.  I don't know if it was the art, the music, the competition or just the feeling of good-doing, but it was electric.  "oohs and aahs" could be heard around every corner. The excitement was almost palatable.      

As the 75 minute clocked ticked down, the energy continued to build.  The
artists worked faster and more furiously.  The spectators become more enveloped by their work.  So many different styles and techniques emerged side by side. It was almost impossible to take it all in. It was like the most colourful of dreams.  You know the one where you're wandering in an abandoned hospital and painting stunning murals on the walls.  Ya, that one.

At the end of the 75 minutes, the ballots were collected and the band began to play. Did I forget to mention that there were DJs and a band? Total craziness. Beautiful, beautiful craziness.

If you missed this event, don't fret you can still donate to the WCH.  Also, the Art Battle Nationals are coming up this July and I have it on good authority that they've got something really special planned for this year.  I'm excited.  It's going to be awesome.  Details are coming soon.  Sooner if you beat me in a tickle fight.   

Link it up!