16 Things To Do At Montreal's "Underground City" Festival

Art Souterrain is about to begin.
16 Things To Do At Montreal's "Underground City" Festival

If there's one event that makes February amazingly exciting despite the cold, it's Nuit Blanche. The event quite literally takes over Montreal and brings the city alive with vibrant works of art and creativity.

But in truth, Nuit Blanche would be next to nothing without Art Souterrain, the underground city art festival that annually places a multitude of multidisciplinary artistic works throughout the city's subterranean network.

Beginning on February 27th and running until March 20th, Art Souterrain will provide you with plenty to do and see come Nuit Blanche, and beyond. You'll be able to find out a majority of what's going down for the 2016 edition of Art Souterrain below, but be sure to check out the official website for more details.

5 À 7 Festival Pre-Opening

February 16th

Check out the festival's full lineup of events and preview some of the art to be on display in the most dynamic and fun of ways: a 5 à 7. Live DJs, a fully stocked bar, and several performances are in store for you at the event.

Traverse The Underground Path

The Underground City

You obviously knew about this one (given the festival's name) but you can't not mention the art-filled underground path when talking about Art Souterrain.

Over 70 different exhibits will be set up throughout the downtown underground network, and you can check out a map here.

Be sure to also check out some of the special above-ground exhibitions too, listed as the "Satellite Path," with the venues listed below.

Daily Guided Tours

Palais des congrès

Appreciating all the works on display can be a little daunting if you know nothing about the world of art. Thankfully, Art Souterrain is offering guided tours every single weekday. Note, there is a small fee and you'll have to book your place a bit ahead.

There is also an audio guide you can listen to as well, for folks who want to go it alone.

Dazibao (Satellite Path)

Feb. 11th to April 9th

Created by Damir Ocko, this multimedia projection examines "explored dislocation," what is lost and gained when transition from one artistic medium (or language) to another. You can check out the vernissage on February 11th at 7pm.

Espace Ubisoft (Satellite Path)

Feb. 26th to April 21st

Under the theme "Jeux de massacre," sculptor Larent Craste examines "the status of decorative objects through vandalism perpetrated on historical archetypes of ceramics." Craste will also be on-site during Nuit Blanche (6pm to 9pm) to answer any of your questions.

Atelier Circulaire (Satellite Path)

March 3rd to April 9th

Titled Champs fluides: Paysages d'un présent rapproché, Sean Caulfield's printed art exhibition draws upon the ways in which technological innovations have been reshaping our connection to nature and our own physical form.

Galerie Art Mure (Satellite Path)

March 5th to April 23rd

The works of several different artists (Karine Giboulo, Zeke Moores, Patrick Bérubé, and Holly King) will be showcased at this exhibit, each of which touch upon themes and ideas that are entirely unique to the individual creator.

Galerie Joyce Yahouda (Satellite Path)

February 27th to April 23rd

At this noted art gallery on Sainte Catherine street, the prints of Celine Berger will be showcased, all of which will fall under the theme Rare birds in these lands

Galerie Castiglione (Satellite Path)

February 23rd to March 19th

A collective exhibit that will bring together the artist creations of three artists, the works of Guy Lavigueur, Alain Pratte, and Judith Bellavance will be presented.

Elephant (Satellite Path)

Feb. 27th to March 27th

A dynamic and unique exhibit, the artist "Caro Caron invites you to dance the twist on the addictions that play with your mind, to break your chains with an overdose of painting, drawing and trashy installations full of love!"

Iranian Dance Workshop

Feb. 27th at 6pm at Édifice Place Bonaventure

One part spectacle and one part workshop, attendees will be able to experience a contemporary dance performance led by Chun Hua Catherine Dong as well as an "interactive traditional Iranian dance workshop."

Oli Sorenson Live Performance

Feb. 27th at 6pm at Édifice Complexe Guy-Favreau

Using a plasma screen, artist Oli Sorenson will give a live artistic performance as he "creates work from the destruction of its components."

Espaces Lecture

Place Ville-Marie and Place des Arts

Take a break while checking out all of the art at these two designated cafe-chilling zone combo areas. The Place Ville-Marie loung area will be in front of the Renaud-Bray, and the PDA one will be at Café Van Houtte.


Throughout the festival grounds

It's not like you aren't going to Instagram it up throughout the festival, so go ahead and indulge at the #MtlMoments frames that will be set up all around the underground area.

Artist Studio Visits

Various locales

For a fee, festival goers will be able to dive into the space in which several different artist create their works, a rare opportunity afforded to very few.

Here are the artists you could check out:

Private Art Collections

Various locales

Once per year, what would normally be private collections become open to the public (for a price) during Art Souterrain. Here's what you could check out:

    • La Collection Banque Nationale: a compilation of the art placed inside of BN branches, one of the largest art collections in Canada.
    • l’Arsenal: The artwork of David Altmejd, Nicolas Baier, Michel de Broin, Anselm Kieffer, Giuseppe Penone, Ugo Rondinone, Marc Séguin and Danh Vo will be showcased.
    • Collection Norton Rose:

Canada's third largest legal practice will offer guided tours of their collection, led by Claudio Marzano, Art Consultant at the Canada Council Art Bank.

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