Letter from the Art Room

As many of you might already know, the St-James art program has been undergoing some large-scale changes over the course of the last year. Now that we have secured funding from the City of Montreal to continue developing the creative arts program, we are happy to report some of the projects we have underway to revive our studio.  

First, let’s talk about Art Hives. Starting in May of 2022, staff met with a team from the Art Hive Network, a Montréal-based community arts program who shared their methods. Over the following months, our Art Hive coordinators, Hélène and Moh came in as facilitators and advisors for setting up our own Art Hive here at St-James. For a little background, an “Art Hive” is a free to access art studio which welcomes everybody to create and collaborate through art and crafts. Think of it less like an art class and more like an “art social” where creative types can gather and where art, stories and ideas are shared. For several weeks now, the art hive has been fully established and if you haven’t already please come on by! The Art Hives happen weekly on Monday evenings from 4:00pm to 7:00pm. 

Next up we have the rebooting of the art sales. We have such a huge wealth of paintings and artworks here on site and we would love to get them presented. Organising exhibitions, craft markets and vernissages is a huge undertaking and we’re about to make some big steps forward. Starting in the new year, we will be welcoming Cadie, a Concordia fine-arts student, to the centre as assistant event planner. Recently, Cadie was approved for an independent internship program wherein she will offer weekly hours to organising events aimed at exhibiting and selling artworks from members. I’ll be doing my part by focusing on online sales and print sales that I am hoping will get more of our beautiful artworks. 

If you come by Thursday mornings, you may have taken part in one of Lindsay’s art lessons. If you haven’t yet met her, she is an intern from Concordia’s art education department who has enriched the space with creative art therapy inspired art practices. If you haven’t had enough of it yet don’t be distraught, in the new year Lindsay will be back with all new lessons and activities for us to explore. I know I heard some plans about shadow puppetry and I certainly am looking forward to it!

While this only scratches the surface of the changes taking place and I’d love to continue discussing how I hope to organise the space and secure new collaborations, I’d much rather we talk about it while knitting or doing some watercolours. I’ve been so grateful for the participation and support I’ve received from you all in helping me get settled in. A special thanks to the members, staff and interns who helped me set up our recent pilot art exhibition at the beginning of December. 

Here’s to art, here’s to community and here’s to wonderful new starts in the upcoming year!

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