NOIR Art Festival’s Opening Gala

Arya Gunde • Nov 9, 2023

Folklore dancers at NOIR Art Festival, Nov. 2, 2023 (Arya Gunde/CHUO).


The Horticulture Building at Lansdowne Park hosted NOIR, a fine art festival supporting the Queensway Carleton Hospital (QCH). Launched by Wall Candy in 2022, NOIR is a chance for Ottawa’s best restaurants and artists to showcase the fruits of their labour. 

This year’s theme, “Day of the Dead,” ran from Nov. 2nd to Nov. 5th. The festival’s programs were curated in collaboration with the Mexican Embassy to embrace the Mexican tradition.

NOIR began with an upscale gala featuring singers, dancers, musicians, speeches, a very talented makeup artist, and high-end restaurants serving as free-food vendors. The restaurants in attendance, dubbed ‘the Gastronomic Salon,’ included Cocotte Bistro, Coconut Lagoon, Gitanes, STOFA, Raphael, Paper Tiger, Hummingbird Chocolate Maker, YOW Popcorn Co., and Chiqui Bakery. The Thirst Responder, a mobile bar service, served drinks. 


Food and vendors at the gala, Nov. 2, 2023 (Arya Gunde/CHUO).


As the night went on, multiple performances kept the crowd engaged, immersing many in the Day of the Dead festivities. A vocal performance by Dayan Salazar set the tone for the night’s elegant aura. Nick Cooper and Ruth Rivera of Firmata Music graced the stage for two performances of classical violin and guitar. In between, a Folkloric dance embodying the festival spirit took place. 

The NOIR altar for Frida Kahlo and Emily Carr (Arya Gunde/CHUO).

A Day of the Dead altar honouring Mexican artist Frida Kahlo and Canadian artist Emily Carr was present for the festivities. Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum describes altars as happy, colourful celebrations where death is honoured, the deceased are remembered and are enticed back to celebrate the joys of life.

The festival featured works from 55 professional artists, with many donating pieces for sale through a silent auction. All of the proceeds from the auction went toward fundraising to support the Queensway Carleton Hospital Foundation. The Wall Candy website states, “last year, the NOIR Gala was able to raise almost $7,000 for the hospital’s Building Space Between the Walls campaign, which has helped build a comfortable, modern, fully-equipped space for 15 bed bays at QCH.” This year, the plan is to raise that number considerably.

You can find more information about NOIR on the Wall Candy website. We hope to see you there next year!


Listen to CHUO’s coverage of NOIR Art Festival as played on The Mosaic:

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