Toronto Catholic students Angela Gavin and Leslie Visaya, from Cardinal Carter Academy for the Arts and Loretto College School respectively, spent Nuit Blanche helping to express a message of charity though art. Photo by Evan Boudreau.

The helping hands of charity

  • October 8, 2014

TORONTO - Toronto’s Catholic school board made its second appearance at Nuit Blanche, Toronto’s annual dusk-to-dawn outdoor art exhibit, this year spreading a message of charity.

“Charity is something that lies at the heart of the Catholic experience,” said Maria Tavares, project lead. “The idea of sharing what you have with those that are less fortunate is part of the tenets that we are taught from a very young age. However, unfortunately it is not something that everyone acts upon.”

First held in Paris in 2002, Nuit Blanche, or Sleepless Night, brings contemporary art into public spaces. Across Toronto’s downtown core the free event began in the evening on Oct. 4 and continued until sun rise.

Each of the board’s 201 schools took part in the project, which began last year with students from Archbishop Romero Catholic Secondary School constructing wooden boxes, about 30 cubic centimetres in size. Students from each school then decorated the boxes with their collaborative expressions of charity. The board this year is celebrating the Year of Charity.

The project was installed on the grounds of the University of St. Michael’s College, with Tavares and a team of volunteers arranging the finished projects into two convex curves about two meters high, one facing north, the other south, with a walkway between them, coloured lights on the outside and a projector on the inside.

“The images that were projected on the interior sections of the sculpture were made up of the scanned messages of charity that were contributed by the students,” said Tavares. “These captions represent the individual voices of the participating students, sharing with us what charity means to them.”

For Angela Gavin, a 16-year old student at Cardinal Carter Academy for the Arts who was present at Nuit Blanche, charity is not defined by large donations but rather as “a transfer of happiness.”

Loretto College School student Leslie Visaya, 16, said “it is good to let students, every day youth, be reminded of this because we are not really absorbed in it any more. We are all Catholics and we should be able to help others.” 

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