Quartier des Spectacles Partnership infuses light through artistic installation

As cities around the world continue to grapple with the affects of the pandemic, the Quartier des Spectacles Partnership provides a beacon of light through its provision of engaging artistic and cultural attractions.

Spectrum – Luminothérapie | Coeur battant, Montréal, Canada, 2021
Photo credit: Ulysse Lemerise – OSA Images

In response to shutdowns of much of the downtown core due to COVID-19 restrictions, the Quartier des Spectacles Partnership initiative provides a much-needed release in the form of safe and enjoyable activities, and lays the foundations of renewed urban planning.

While COVID-19 lowered the curtain on the city’s annual calendar of internationally-recognized summer festivals, the Partnership embarked with the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal and Tourism Montreal, on a multifaceted downtown initiative to create animated pedestrian zones, new public spaces, special performances, artistic displays and installations.

“We had a choice to make: we could either stand by and watch the decline of our downtown core, or we could roll up our sleeves and get to work,” says Monique Simard, Chair of the Quartier des Spectacles Partnership. “Our mission was more important than ever in 2020, and our team has redoubled its efforts to create a participatory, welcoming, and creative route within the framework of public health guidelines.”

The initiative’s summer schedule, from July through October, focused on an infrastructure of safe, socially-distanced public squares that supported local businesses and restaurants, infused with inspiration from Montreal-based artists, designers, performers, and collectives.

As a result, the summer featured an abundance of animation courtesy of more than 150 musicians, dancers, actors, street artists, circus performers, and improv artists who illuminated the pedestrian zones and public squares.

The success of the summer initiative laid the foundations for a full winter program that includes the warm embrace of Luminothérapie, Quebec’s largest competition for temporary public art installations and a captivating annual winter experience anchored in downtown Montreal’s Place des Festivals.

The initiative, which has celebrated winter life on a smaller scale in past years, has expanded in scope to feature a circuit of 5 installations this year. Launched on December 3rd, the immersive journey of interactive sound and light has converted the darkness of an unforgettable winter into a wonderland that is keeping people connected to the city.

Each night at 6 p.m., the Moment cœur battant sound and light show begins illuminating building façades, bringing the streets of the Quartier des Spectacles to life with a mix of dancing lights and original music that embodies the spirit and beating heart of the city’s cultural community.

The Luminothérapie | Cœur battant initiative includes five creative and thought-provoking installations, beginning with Loop, an adventure in sound and light at Place des Festivals that whisks visitors away on a cultural journey through Quebec literature.

On the nearby Place des Arts Esplanade, Entre les rangs pays luminous tribute to the wintery wheat fields of Quebec’s ancestral farmlands, while Nouvelle Lune presents a series of giant luminescent spheres as a framework of shadow theatre. Iceberg immerses visitors in a unique sound and light experience in its interpretation of majestic ice flows, while Spectrum is a fun and interactive work that converts speech soundwaves into light.

“A recent survey revealed that visitors thoroughly enjoyed the temporary public squares and performances that brought life to the downtown area in the summer months, and we hope to replicate those successes throughout winter,” said Simard. “With this very special edition of Luminothérapie, we’re inviting people to come and feel the magic of an essential winter event that celebrates the immense talent of our local artists, in a unique and luminous setting.”

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