C/O Cotton Factory

Light the Night market brightening the winter season for artists and community members alike

Artists have been among those particularly hard hit by the pandemic, having limited to no opportunities to exhibit their work as well as significantly reduced income. In recent months, such opportunities are increasing but the uncertainty of the pandemic is still taking a toll. The Cotton Factory’s second annual Light the Night event is brightening the winter season and bringing some joy to the community while also supporting local artists and businesses.

Located in Hamilton’s industrial district and formerly a cotton mill, The Cotton Factory is now home to artist studios, the coworking space, CoWork, and a number of community events and workshop spaces.

Night markets, featuring various local artists, performers and vendors, are a particularly unique staple of the Cotton Factor, though the pandemic has made such events more difficult. Last year at this time, the provincial lockdown didn’t even allow for a traditional market.

In place of a traditional market, the team at the Cotton Factory held Light the Night and transformed the building into an illumination installation piece. They gathered donations from the community and through installation pieces, light exhibitions and projection art, they created a drive through exhibition for the community for three days in early Dec. 2020. 

“It was pretty magical,” said Annette Paiement, curator of the Cotton Factory.

This year the Cotton Factory will host Light the Night, a night market, on Dec. 4, 2021 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Similar to last year, the event will feature illumination and projection art, but there will also be two markets where many local artists and businesses will have booths.

It will take place inside and outside, with the entire first floor of the building being open, and the Cotton Factory will also be following provincial public health guidelines, requiring masking and checking vaccination status at the door. 

At its core, Light the Night is about supporting local, particularly local artists.

“This is really to feature them. It's been a long two years where many artists haven't been able to perform, they haven't been able to sell work, they haven't been able to showcase work because the galleries have also been closed so this provides an opportunity for them,” explained Paiement.

Paiement also noted how excited the artists are for the event. Many also participated in the Cotton Factory’s recent fall market in October and are eager for another opportunity to celebrate and come together as a community. 

Community is a crucial part of the holiday season. Given how difficult these last few years have been for everyone, an opportunity to gather and celebrate safely is a welcome one, not just for artists but also for the entire community.

“I'm hoping that if people get out of the house for the first time in a few years it'll bring a little bit of joy — a little bit more joy — back into their life. I think we need community and we need interaction with people and I think it's been a really tough two years for people, so I'm hoping it brings light into their hearts,” said Paiement.

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