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Nuit Blanche (French pronunciation: [nɥi ˈblɑ̃ʃ]; All-Nighter, is an annual all-night or night-time arts festival. A Nuit Blanche will typically have museums, private and public art galleries, and other cultural institutions open and free of charge, with the centre of the city itself being turned into a de facto art gallery, providing space for art installations, performances (music, film, dance, performance art), themed social gatherings, and other activities.
The Nuit Blanche concept came from Jean Blaise, who founded the Centre de recherche pour le développement culturel (Research Center for Cultural Development) in Nantes, France, in 1984. In 1989, the Helsinki Festival established its Night of the Arts, "when every gallery, museum and bookshop is open until midnight or later and the whole city becomes one giant performance and carnival venue". That same year, Jean-Marc Ayrault became mayor of Nantes, and his program included renovating the central city and establishing a "contemporary patrimony", which led Blaise to create a late-night cultural festival, "Les Allumées" ("The Lighted Up"). His concept was to have an arts festival in Nantes, 6 p.m. till 6 am, over six years with artists from six cities.
They were as follows:
In 1993, a year and a half after the St. Petersburg edition of Les Allumées, the annual White Nights Festival in that city began adding a specifically cultural component to a longstanding annual event that included street carnivals and the Scarlet Sails celebration. The expanded White Nights Festival has included pop culture (e.g. the Rolling Stones in the open air at Palace Square) in 2007 and high culture events ("Stars of the White Nights Festival" at the Mariinsky Theatre under Valery Gergiev) every year since 1993.
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