While art’s capacity to entertain, engage and enlighten is well known, the means to take part in producing it are out of reach for many socially isolated individuals and low income communities. Producing art fosters a sense of identity and self-worth in vulnerable people, and when exhibited publicly, engenders feelings of recognition and belonging. Supporting and celebrating artistic production in marginalized communities generates corresponding dividends in community pride and vitality.
La Ruche d’Art opened its doors in March 2011 as an outreach program of Concordia University’s Faculty of Fine Arts. This community arts studio welcomes all community members as artists, especially individuals who may live on the margins of society: recent immigrants, people with mental or physical health issues, street youth, seniors in low income housing, and the chronically unemployed. The studio’s growing cohort of graduate students and neighbourhood artists have created a hive of creative activity that has generated interest from other Montreal neighbourhoods wishing assistance in establishing their own studios. In its first year, “La Ruche d’Art” in St. Henri has hosted over 2,000 visits by community members interested in making art under the mentorship of Concordia University Fine Arts students. In addition, it has held 12 special cultural events, and five community art exhibits.
The goal of this three-year program is to disseminate “La Ruche d’Art” as a successful community arts studio model that promotes social inclusion. It will include continuing experimentation with the model, capturing lessons and stories about its impact, and influencing universities, municipalities, and Arts Councils to recognize the social value of community arts programs.
The Foundation’s grant will support two Montreal sites (St. Henri and Ahuntsic), as well as assist with creating materials to help start new community arts studios across Canada, develop a university-community network committed to operating such studios, and conduct research on community-focused outcomes.
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- General Funding
- Social and Economic Inclusion