Setting new records in Canada
Through the highly innovative Sharing the Museum programme, we work with more than 450 community organizations whose clienteles include immigrants, refugees, the underprivileged, the disabled, seniors and people at risk. With Michel de la Chenelière’s first donation, we made a qualitative and quantitative leap, doubling our educational and community facilities in 2012. We launched several pilot projects in health and education. We initiated and produced a documentary, the first in the “Art Is Good for You” series. The result? The Museum ranked first among Canadian museums in 2015, with 307,000 participants in its educational, cultural and community programmes – a 207% increase in three years!
The museum and health
The Museum innovates with its health-care partners in research and pilot projects: to validate and monitor the impact of a Museum visit, studio practices and even reintegration into the workforce, in treatment or rehabilitation for the following :
- Alzheimer’s with the Alzheimer Society of Montreal, Alzheimer Group, Centre Évasion, Cummings Centre.
- Post-traumatic stress with Ste. Anne’s Hospital (PTSD in veterans) and suicide (Concordia University).
- Cardiac arrhythmia with the Montreal Heart Institute.
- Autism, a world first, with the Miriam Foundation, La Fondation Les Petits Rois, Giant Steps School and École Irénée-Lussier. There are several pilot projects, including one to destigmatize intellectual disabilities and autism and encourage integration into the labour force. Two young adults are now part of the Museum team.
- Eating disorders, including anorexia nervosa, with the Douglas Mental Health University Institute and Concordia University.
- Psychological problems and mental health issues with Ste-Justine Hospital, the Centre d’Apprentissage Parallèle, Les Impatients, the Jewish General Hospital of Montreal, the Centre d’intégration à la Vie Active, The Yellow Door, RelaxAction, as well as McGill University.
The Museum is a place that enhances well-being for seniors, in partnership with Réseau Sélection and Défi Santé, and for convalescents (Jewish General Hospital) by offering health walks in our galleries. This helps dispel loneliness and encourages physical fitness and mental well-being.
The Museum exhibits works in medical centres, through a partnership with the Canada Council for the Arts for three exhibitions featuring works from the Art Bank collection in the new CLSC des Faubourgs. These exhibitions will travel to various health-care organizations.
The MMFA is a founding partner of the Research Chair in Art, Culture and Well-being at UQAM, along with the Centre hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal (CHUM) and Exeko, a community organization. It serves on the new advisory committee for the exhibition centre at the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC).
The museum as a laboratory for the 21st century
With Michel de la Chenelière’s second major donation, the Museum can expand its educational, social and therapeutic initiatives to an unprecedented degree. With a total area of 38,620 square feet, the Michel de la Chenelière International Atelier for Education and Art Therapy will be the largest educational centre in a North American art museum. In November 2016, it will welcome our community, school and family clienteles with specific areas for digital mediation, a cafeteria serving healthy meals, a Family Lounge, galleries, a safe bus loading zone, plus twelve studios.
Two studios for art therapy, a world first in a museum, thanks to support from Bell Canada. The first will be for groups taking part in our clinical research projects, a consultation area and private areas for confidentiality. The second is an open art-therapy studio for community use, in collaboration with Concordia and its Ruches d’art network.
The Museum wants to educate across Quebec with EducArt, an ambitious pilot project supported by Quebec’s Digital Cultural Plan. This novel digital platform was created in collaboration with teachers for inclusion in the Quebec curriculum across all subjects (social studies, science, French, mathematics, ethics and religious culture, etc.). For 2017, seventeen cross-disciplinary educational projects have been developed with partner schools in Quebec’s seventeen regions, based on our encyclopedic collection, a national treasure.
Michel de la Chenelière explains: “I see and hear moving testimonials from students, underprivileged families and people with a variety of mental and physical disorders who, thanks to the Museum, feel less lonely, less excluded. They rediscover their will to live and find their way in life… Art is good for you: this is something we experience daily at the Museum.” Thanks to this remarkable patron, the Museum doubled its educational facilities in 2012, and will triple them in 2016. This scholastic publishing magnate wants to give back to education and to Quebec. On behalf of our entire team and all of our visitors: bravo!
We’ll leave the last word to his daughter Évelyne, a well-known author and actor, who attended the event that evening with her sister Véronique and their families: “Do you remember what it felt like to be seven years old? My father does. He may be sixty-six and a half years old, but his childhood is not far away. He doesn’t have to struggle to remember, it’s with him every day. It has made my father someone who lives in the moment. When you look at my father, you can see childhood in his eyes, in his shoulders, in his smile, and above all in his driving need for dreams, life and beauty.”
Construction of the Pavilion for Peace
Last but by no means least, along with its unprecedented growth, the MMFA is hard at work building the new Michal and Renata Hornstein Pavilion for Peace, which will be devoted to international art and education … coming in 2016!
Director and Chief Curator