Finding your way in the dark with art

The craziest interactive art gallery Kamloops has ever had

The Rex, packed with artists in the dark on Nov. 28. (Alison Hodgins/The Omega)

The Rex, packed with artists in the dark on Nov. 28. (Alison Hodgins/The Omega)

Whoever says Kamloops doesn’t have a vibrant culture and modern arts scene clearly hasn’t looked hard enough.

Black lights, neon glow sticks, energetic performers and electronic music filled the Rex last Saturday night at Kamloops Arts Council’s latest event, Art in the Dark.

The event began at 7 p.m. and was bumping by 9 o’clock. DJs D3vils RejX spun Open Format beats to the shifting crowd until 11 p.m.

The Rex was set up to encourage creativity. Twelve different booths hosted activities from button building and clay making to glow-in-the-dark Twister and puppet shows. The most popular stations were 4 Cats Art Studio’s Sugar Skull painting and Krystal William’s glow-in-the-dark body paint.

A large, blank, black mural served as a communal canvas for neon expression throughout the night. Orange, red and yellow pipe cleaners were bent and moulded to create a giant Lite Brite collage.

There was a live performance on stage every 15 minutes. Dancers dressed in white, and lit-up hula hoopers and powerful singers commanded the stage. Performances repeated throughout the evening.

This meant that those who were busy engaging in activities or grabbing a pint didn’t have to worry about missing anything.

Under black light, an illuminated dancer moves across the stage. (Alison Hodgins/The Omega)

Under black light, an illuminated dancer moves across the stage. (Alison Hodgins/The Omega)

Red Collar beer, Jackson-Triggs wine and rye, gin and vodka mixed drinks were available for $5 each outside the theatre. The Eats Amore food truck was stationed outside and sold mac ‘n cheese and ravioli to hungry, shivering event-goers.

By mid-event, the Rex was absolutely packed. The event was 19+, with art enthusiasts and curious hipsters ranging in age from 19 to 90. The majority of participants that arrived later in the night were 20-30 years old. I was ID’d at the entrance by one of two security guards. There was a slight tinge of nudity in one of the performances and I saw at least one participant take her top off for some spray paint body art.

The scene was electric, with guests wandering around in handcrafted fox masks and intricate glowing paint. There were a few high black tables around the edges of the room, though wallflowers had no seats to rest on. Some participants broke out in dancing (perhaps after a couple of cocktails). I felt as though I had stepped into a utopian space world of neon art.

Kathy Sinclair, organizer of the event, said that the KAC had been throwing around ideas about a fundraiser for awhile. “We had heard of art events in other cities that incorporated a ‘dark’ or night-time theme (Art After Dark, Nuit Blanche, etc.). At a brainstorming session, we came up with ‘Art in the Dark’ – a nice reference to our biggest event of the year, Art in the Park. It took off from there!”

Sinclair said that KAC would like to host another Art in the Dark event in the future.

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