The Art Hive will serve as a place where all of the Museum’s clienteles — school and community groups, families and the general public — can come together to share ideas. It will take the form of a creative community studio supervised by an art therapist, with art materials provided free of charge. The Museum will provide traditional art supplies, such as brushes, paints, scissors and glue, and the Art Hive’s Honey Pot in Saint-Henri and Concordia’s new Centre for Creative Reuse (CUCCR) will contribute household and institutional recycled supplies: fabric, wood, metal, CDs, beads, buttons, and all kinds of paper.
A wide range of activities can be expected at the Art Hive, from unravelling old wool sweaters in order to knit something new, building a sculpture from recycled materials, drawing, sewing and painting. This welcoming, intergenerational space is also a place where participants can meet to discuss, perform or exhibit. The Art Hive is a user-friendly place that participants can re-organize to meet their needs.
The MMFA is the first museum to have actually set aside physical space and created a scientific committee dedicated to art and health. Chaired by Rémi Quirion, Chief Scientist of Quebec, this advisory committee is made up of experts from the areas of health, art therapy, research and the arts, in addition to philanthropists and representatives of the MMFA. Leaders in their fields, these experts, gathered from internationally renowned Quebec institutions, will offer their services free of charge. Their expertise and their interest in the benefits of art on health were what guided the selection of members for this committee.
CHAIR – Rémi Quirion, Chief Scientist of Quebec, Fonds de recherche du Québec;
VICE-CHAIR – Stephanie Rossy-Beauchamp, Administrator, The Rossy Family Foundation;
Nathalie Bondil, Director General and Chief Curator, MMFA;
Thomas Bastien, Acting Director, Department of Education and Community Programmes, MMFA;
Olivier Beauchet, Director, Centre of Excellence on Aging and Chronic Disease, RUIS McGill, Dr. Joseph Kaufmann Professor of Geriatric Medicine, Jewish General Hospital;
Michel de la Chenelière, President, Fondation Michel de la Chenelière and major benefactor of education at the MMFA;
Josée Leclerc, Associate Professor, Department of Creative Art Therapies, Concordia University;
Julie Payette, Company Administrator and Scientific Communicator;
Isabelle Peretz, Co-director, BRAMS (International Laboratory for Brain, Music and Sound Research), Université de Montréal;
Denise Pérusse, Director, Défis de société et aux maillages intersectoriels, Fonds de recherche du Québec;
Louise Poissant, Scientific Director, Fonds de recherche du Québec – Société et Culture;
Philippe Walker, General Manager R&D and Chief Scientific Officer, Neomed ;
Robert J. Zatorre, Co-Director, BRAMS (International Laboratory for Brain, Music and Sound Research), McGill University; Professor, Montreal Neurological Institute;
Claire Webster, Founder and President, Caregiver Crosswalk Inc.
Like the MMFA, researchers, government agencies and hospitals are looking at the contribution made by art and museums with a view to improving the well-being of individuals and thus of society. These questions require a holistic approach. For example, because of their complexity, the various kinds of mental illness, cancer and heart disease call for an overall approach that is integrated in the social, cultural and economic environment. The MMFA is adding museum experience to this exploratory methodology.
The MMFA wishes to develop its potential to become an agent of change and social cohesion, and more especially to contribute to individuals’ health and well-being. Accordingly, the MMFA is giving concrete expression to its wishes by means of numerous programmes involving art-therapists, researchers and health professionals. With the creation of the Art and Health Advisory Committee, the Museum can enrich and support the development of projects, in addition to bringing recognition to such expertise both locally and internationally.
The purpose of this initiative is to evaluate the benefit of museum visits among patients with high heart rates. This pilot project, supervised by the Montreal Heart Institute (MHI), opens up the way to non-invasive medicine for improving the state of health of persons living with arrhythmia.
Knowing that some drugs are effective for certain patients, but not all, we would like to see whether art might be beneficial for their hearts.
In 2017, as soon as the MHI’s ethics committee has approved the selection of patients living with arrhythmia and the technology to record their heart rates, the participants in a research project will come to visit the Museum’s collections in the company of nurses. These exploratory sessions will guide the project framework. And, if it is shown that art has an impact on a person’s heart rate, the Museum will also be helping to improve the state of health of some of its visitors.
The social readaptation project Espace Transition at the Museum is designed to promote well-being and reduce stigmatization among young people aged 14
to 25 who are struggling with mental health issues.
Launched in 2014, this project was created jointly by researchers, clinicians and art educators from the Museum and CHU Ste-Justine.
The project includes tours of the collections, discussions, workshops, an exhibition… The results are convincing and this has a lot to do with the mixed nature of the groups. Young persons without psychopathology (one-third of the group) mix with young people suffering from some sort of psychopathology (two-thirds of the group). It is an opportunity for the former to adjust their perceptions and attitudes regarding mental health, while the latter benefit from social readaptation, improved well-being and interaction with other young people whose behaviour is more normative.
Valoriser la différence is a programme designed to break the isolation experienced by some adults with mental health issues, and to expose them to the pure pleasure of discovering art. This project is the product of a longstanding collaboration between the Institute of Community and Family Psychiatry at the Jewish General Hospital and the MMFA, which gives access to its collections.
During this activity, which is both social and cultural, the participants become acquainted with some works of art, learn about them, discuss them, and take part in a creative workshop. Art arouses emotions and, in order to talk about them and even to create, a climate of trust, respect and openness is required. This is what participants find in these workshops. The context, both stimulating and pleasant, fosters autonomy and self-esteem. Not only does it stimulate creativity, but it also encourages the expression of ideas and opinions, thus fostering team spirit and each participant’s particular knowledge.
So that persons with mental health disorders can have an unforgettable experience through artistic expression, the MMFA has partnered with Les Impatients, at the Espace Création Dominique Payette at the Centre intégré de santé et de services sociaux de la Montérégie-Est, Territoire Pierre Boucher. Created in 2014, the project Les Impatients au Musée still exists.
With our volunteer guides, the participants visit the Museum several times to contemplate the collections there. In notebooks, they jot down their thoughts and visual impressions, which become the basis for creations ranging from the reproduction of paintings by masters to works exhibiting great freedom of expression.
Some participants overcome their fear of painting large works, while others go directly from colouring books to painted canvases. Challenges met, techniques acquired and fears defeated – an artistic, and highly meaningful, experience.
As part of its programme The Art of Being Unique, the Museum is pursuing its collaboration with the Miriam Foundation, the École Irénée-Lussier and Les Petits Rois, which works with persons with autism. Les petits rois is a foundation that, for nearly 15 years now, has supported children with intellectual disabilities, with or without autism spectrum disorder, either in specialized schools or through employment integration. As part of this project, some children will visit the MMFA’s collections and seek inspiration for an immersive artistic project. By offering tours of its collections, artistic creation projects and professional integration opportunities, the Museum’s hope once again is to valorize, rather than stigmatize, difference.
The Art of Being Unique
In Canada, it is estimated that the prevalence of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), among children and adults, is 1 in 94, with special needs students, among others, accounting for the largest group in Quebec. So as to act and facilitate access to art for these persons, the MMFA decided to create The Art of Being Unique, a programme whose activities began in the summer of 2015 and will continue until 2018.
With four sections, this diversified programme enables people living with ASD to take part in an employability program, to foster their discovery of art, and to be introduced to art in a safe setting. It is also combined with research activities designed to promote advances in the area of acceptance and accessibility.