Thousands Turn Out for Traffic-Stopping Art All Night

Visitors watch artists at work in the Live Art section of Art All Night.

Visitors watch artists at work in the Live Art section of Art All Night. Photographs: Heather McCracken

The traffic was at a standstill in Lawrenceville on Saturday night, but inside the cavernous warehouse hosting this year’s 18th Annual Art All Night show, things were moving smoothly.

Crystal Berry's painting, "Pase Doble."

Crystal Berry’s painting, “Pase Doble.”

About six hours into the 22-hour show, the artworks being painted on site were taking shape, children’s activities were giving way to live music, improv and body painting, and the queue for the beer table was snaking its way across the floor.

Volunteers hung more than 1000 pieces of artwork in a rush of activity on Saturday afternoon, before guests flooded in.

The show was spread over several rooms of the Willow St. warehouse, both large and small, allowing plenty of room for the thousands of visitors to view the artworks and watch the entertainment.

A stilt performer entertains crowds at Art All Night.

A stilt performer entertains crowds at Art All Night.

"Colors of the Breeze," a paper crane mobile by Charles Collings.

“Colors of the Breeze,” a paper crane mobile by Charles Collings.

Kathryn Heffernan, Art All Night’s self-described poobah, said among the changes this year, the 18th time the event has been held, was the ability to turn the warehouse itself into a piece of art.

“One of the unique things this year about the building is they’re knocking it down, so we were able to paint the walls. “They’re a little more colorful and interesting.”

Visitors make their mark on the event with chalk.

Visitors make their mark on the event with chalk.

A young visitor makes use of the sidewalk chalk.

A young visitor makes use of the sidewalk chalk.

As well as viewing the art for sale, guests on Saturday night could watch artists painting in the Live Art area, while being entertained by live music, a continuous improv show, and a beat boxing world record attempt.

Beat boxer Mike Why making a world record attempt.

Beat boxer Mike Why making a world record attempt.

Starting at 10 a.m. Saturday, Mike Why was encamped inside a glass booth within the warehouse for the duration of the show, microphone clamped to his mouth, attempting to break the world record by beat boxing for more than 25 hours 30 minutes.

He clocked in at 26:00:04 , and the attempt will be submitted for confirmation as a world record.

Afterwards, Why said he was feeling better than expected after the marathon effort.  “There’s a little less to my voice than there was yesterday,” he joked. “The crowds were great, everybody was really great. Art All Night was a perfect host for the attempt.”

By the close of Art All Night at 2 p.m. Sunday, between 12,000 and 15,000 people had come through the warehouse doors.

After being displayed for thousands of viewers during the weekend, the 1051 paintings, photographs and sculptures were auctioned on Sunday at noon.

Proceeds from the auction went to support future All Night Art events.

"Woodland Wonders," by Rachel Tribley, a mixed media sculpture.

“Woodland Wonders,” by Rachel Tribley, a mixed media sculpture.

A bodypainter at work on a bright, eye-catching design.

A bodypainter at work on a bright, eye-catching design.

Visitors draw outlines of faces on panes of glass.

Visitors draw outlines of faces on panes of glass.

Heather McCracken is a Pittsburgh-based freelance journalist.