This weekend, Saint John saw two of its busiest days this year, and only one of them involved The Tragically Hip. Friday night was the second annual Third Shift art happening put on by Third Space, and even more than its first year, the event managed to pack the streets of Uptown Saint John.
From Germain to Prince William Street, and Princess to King Street, blocks were closed off, and filled with art of wildly varying styles and sizes. Curated pieces were brought in from as far as Vancouver, Toronto, and New York, alongside local artists – showcasing their works in Saint John’s most public of settings.
The Society Of Anonymous Drawers made an appearance, projecting locally sourced artworks cultivated on the spot through the distribution of paper, markers, and personal identity obfuscation units. The Teaching Artists of Sistema NB Saint John offered a unique opportunity for conductors to step up to the plate as they performed. Maggie Higgins displayed her photography installation of ‘Catch, Preserve, Keep’ in the corner of a parking lot. Marcia Huyer of Toronto nearly filled Grannan’s Lane as her truck’s airbag boiled over. Andrew Reed Miller and Joel LeBlanc dragged an accompanying band through the streets for Charade Parade, touring with their amps strapped to dollies, and their drummer making use of any available surface. Saint John’s Acre Architects rehashed their installation from last year – installing sod on a Germain Street parking lot, with the addition of banners, and allowing attendees to play bocce ball across the spread. The idea behind Le Parc, as the organizers describe it, was to “advocate for the importance of recreation and play in our city. More so, encouraging sensitive and healthy development of our vacant urban spaces.”
Amongst the ample crowd, positive commentary was readily available. One attendee remarked, “This is fantastic – it really feels like Saint John is doing something here, like it’s really on the upswing. It’s like there’s an energy here that’s been missing for ten years.”
The real standout installations were, of course, the Picaroons General Store, which acted as a natural hub and beer reservoir for the whole affair, alongside the tacos being served outside. Aside from the artwork (which wasn’t always easy to spot amongst the throng) it proved to be a particularly successful social outing where you couldn’t move ten feet without bumbling into another friendly conversation. Third Shift has set a new benchmark for Friday nights in Saint John.
For more information visit ThirdShift.ca