Since its inception in 2000, Art Matters has proudly exhibited art by Concordia students in the fields of dance, music, design, film, spoken word, theatre, video and visual art. Now in its 12th year, the student-run annual festival has become the largest its kind and consistently ranks in the top five of the “Best Art Exhibit” category in the Montreal Mirror’s Best of Montreal reader’s poll. This year’s festival features two weeks of exhibits organized and curated by Concordia undergraduates in venues throughout Montreal. Over 150 artists will participate in the fest, and most exhibitions, talks and events are open to the public free of charge.

But it’s not just art that has led to the fest’s popularity and endurance: these ConU artists know how to PARTEEE DOWN! For the last dozen years, Art Matters has combined art, artists, art admirers, students, music and booze to produce the most consistently fun and quirky parties in Montreal. And, perhaps most importantly, it all goes down in early March, when one’s exasperation with Montreal’s interminable winter is at its peak. So leave your apartment! See some gorgeous art! Flirt with sexy, paint-stained artists! By the time it’s over, you’ll greet spring with a cultured air and happy (if blurry) memories of awesome parties.

The opening party happens Friday, March 2 @ Fonderie Darling, 745 Ottawa Rd. The line-up includes SUUNS, Da Pink Noise, Doom Squad, Mekele and a visual installation by Courtenay Mayes. Doors open at 8:30pm and the party runs until 2am. Tickets are $6 (ConU student presale) or $10 (Non-Concordians & door).