“We're looking to give you the best Friday night you've ever had.” - Cirque September 19th

Event 100


By Pepper Parr

April 19, 2014

We got our first look at what a No Vacancy event was about last year when Selina Jane Eckersall hosted an illustration event at the Waterfront Hotel. It was a little longer than the average movie but it came close to rocking the socks off the Burlington arts community.



Selina Jane Eckersall points out a location that will be active the No Vacancy Night.  Hundreds of people will be crawling through Village Square.

It took place at a time when the arts and culture community was beginning to create a presence for itself. The city had accepted the Cultural Action Plan prepared by Jeremy Freiburger and while they weren’t able to act on very much of the plan they did re-allocate a staff member from Parks and Recreation to co-ordinate events that were cultural in nature. This kind of work was being done by the Parks and Recreation department where the culture was more athletic than artistic.

BG_Ad2The No Vacancy event was a critical success and is being repeated this year with a much bigger venue and a more exciting program. Selina Jane Eckersall sums it up with the comment: “We’re looking to give you the best Friday night you’ve ever had.”

There will be 30 unbelievably talented contemporary artists who will transform a variety of spaces inside Village Square into an art experience that will have a lasting impact. “This incredible walking contemporary multi-artist exhibition will feature the best of contemporary installation art from Southern Ontario.”

“Village Square will be buzzing with activity as people explore the alleys and walkways and enter spaces they haven’t explored before. We will also have performance and street art throughout the square and a pop-up art market that will be open until midnight. Burlington has never had an art event quite like this and it is going to be a wondrous experience.”

Half of Pine Street will be closed to traffic and all the space available to No Vacancy in Village Square has been allocated.


Selina xxx Eckersall points to one of the locations for some of the "installation art" that will be on display for less than four hours September 19 - a not to be missed event.

Selina Jane  Eckersall points to one of the locations for some of the “installation art” that will be on display for less than four hours September 19 – a not to be missed event.

The artists doing the installations are being paid – a bit of a first for Burlington. In the past artists have been asked to donate to various causes – when they themselves are a cause. The beer garden profits will be used to pay the artists that are putting up the installations.

Eckersall is putting on a much bigger event this year and giving the Village Square some life – something it has needed for some time.  The longer term plan for No Vacancy is to be quite ambitious. They have organized themselves as an Ontario Not for Profit Corporation and have gotten charitable status in Ontario and are going after federal charitable status.

Later in the year they will apply for Trillium Funding (that’s where a lot of your lottery money goes) so they can develop the much more robust program they have wanted to put in place for some time.  “We want to open minds and push people out of their comfort zone just a bit and we feel that we need a bigger presence in the city, which is why we are looking for a place, where we can be seen and the work of the artists we want to highlight can also be seen.”

“We would like to find a building somewhere or work with someone who has space –visibility is key to what we are setting out to do. What we want to create is a facility that is part studio, part media lab and part gallery” said Eckersall.  “One of the bigger challenges is to come up with a business model that can result in an operation that is sustainable – we are still working at that”, she added.

“We would really like to find a van we could use to transport some of the material involved. Installation art tends to be quite large.”

Eckersall says she has “no idea how many people are going to show up on September 19th – it could be anywhere between 500 and 5000.” The event will run from 7 pm to 2 am and as Eckersall says : “A night of incredible art installation in Burlington.”

All the space in Village Square have been allocated and the artists are busy working on the fun stuff. Administratively Eckersall is dealing with permits, contracts, and insurance.

There is going to be a “pop up” market. If there are artists out there that are looking for a venue to sell some stuff – touch base.

Eckersall says the event is all about “Art that makes your heart beat faster.”


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