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The Lumiere Festival, an annual nighttime art exhibition, returns to the Third this week, although not in its traditional location.

The festival, now in its 12th season, has been on pause since the Charlotte Street construction project began. However, this year the Eltuek Arts Centre has agreed to host the festival.

Lumière is a free, accessible, contemporary arts festival taking place in Unama’ki-Cape Breton this Saturday from 7 p.m. until midnight. The festival will showcase public installations and presentations of art, films, video, as well as educational programming.

“While construction is still underway, we are very grateful to New Dawn Enterprises and Eltuek Arts Centre for hosting and supporting the continuation of the festival,” said Lumiere board member, Jacqueline Blanchard.

Despite the gratitude that the festival organizers have for New Dawn and the arts centre, Blanchard says that the artists are looking forward to returning to downtown to celebrate the festival.

“We look forward to returning to and taking over downtown in the future and continuing to build relationships with local businesses, organizations, and artists in our downtown,” says Blanchard. “For some artists, Lumiere is often their first way to present their work to an audience. For others, they have been an active part of the festival for years. It’s a special opportunity to build community connections for all ages and backgrounds to enjoy contemporary art in unconventional spaces.”

Until then the organizers are working hard to provide a unique experience for all who visit the festival.

“This year we have a wonderful line-up of events and artists to celebrate on Eltuek Art Centre grounds, inside and out, that include theatre performances; dance; multimedia installations; visual art and more,” said Blanchard.

This year’s ‘spotlight project’ is entitled Conclusion: Stable Disease by New Waterford native Corey Katz. The festival describes his exhibit as “[a]n experimental video and sound piece made up from the artist’s personal MRI image scans from 2018-2022.”

Katz’ project is a look at what it is like to live with a progressive disease like Multiple Sclerosis: annual tests, doctor visits, and the looming anxiety about “whether this will be the year.” His work has been presented at Noctunre Halifax, Cape Breton Centre for Craft and Design, CBU Art Gallery, and the Eltuik Arts Centre.

In advance of the Saturday festival, and thanks to the hard work of local film maker Nelson MacDonald, nine films will be be screened at the Cape Breton Drive-In, beginning at dusk on Thursday. Please note that these films are intended for mature audiences.

If you plan to attend the Saturday night festival, organizers are asking you to consider bringing some non-perishable food items with you. In additional to helping those in need, the organizers are going to swap swag for food.

“Bring one item to donate for the food drive and receive one piece of festival-branded clothing, or hats from past years' festivals,” said Blanchard. “We have t-shirts, sweaters, hats, stickers and more. All the food will be going towards filling the local community food pantries.”

The Eltuek Arts Centre is located at 170 George Street in Sydney.

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