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Art Therapy
and Health

Photo of a guided tour as part of Musée en partage.Photo © Mikaël Theimer (MKL)

It is our firm conviction at the MMFA that art has a positive impact on wellness and physical and mental health, a new concept known as museotherapy.

That is why the Michel de la Chenelière Centre for Learning and the Arts has instituted a wide range of innovative projects designed for people with special needs:

  • Exhibition visits in the company of an educator
  • Participation in creative workshops
  • Presentation of their creations to the Museum public

Many professionals from the medical world and the greater community have joined forces in contributing their expertise to strengthen development in the area of museotherapy at the MMFA, particularly through the Museum’s art therapy studio, medical consultation room and Art Hive.

A man paints. Photo © Mikaël Theimer (MKL)

Breaking the barriers of social isolation

CIUSSS du Centre-Sud-de-l’Île-de-Montréal – Institut Raymond-Dewar (IRD)

The MMFA’s art therapy program offers creative workshops aimed at ending the isolation of teenagers and young adults living with speech disorders or sensory impairments, such as dysphasia, deafness and auditory processing disorders (APD).

Led by an art therapist and IRD staff, such social and cultural activities are intended to facilitate the development of young people’s communication skills, boost their self-esteem and foster socialization.

Plusieurs gravures sur feuilles sont suspendues. Photo © Olivier Schwaiki

Sharing the Museum

Douglas Institute – Concordia University

Sharing the Museum – Sharing the Douglas is an art therapy program designed for people with eating disorders (anorexia and bulimia).

Once every six weeks for six months, participants come for an encounter with art and take part in a creative workshop. In the safe and affirmative setting of the Museum, they can break through their isolation, develop a feeling of belonging within their community, and build a positive body image.

Brush photo

Seeds of Hope

Concordia University

Co-directed by the MMFA and Concordia University’s Department of Creative Arts Therapies, the project Seeds of Hope aims to heighten awareness among visitors about suicide and its impact on families and communities through the presentation of masks made by people affected by it.

Tours focused on themes of resilience and the expression of feelings, as well as creative workshops supervised by art therapists, provide an opportunity for project participants to break through the isolation and veil of silence too often surrounding suicide.

In the spring and fall of 2016, four groups participated in the project, including Inuit from Nunavut and Nunavik involved in the Ivirtivik initiative.

Photo of a mask with recycled materials.

Imaginary journeys

Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue

Leaving everything behind to go and live in a foreign land leaves its mark, even on the imagination.

In order to better understand the importance of artistic expression in such intriguing life journeys, this art therapy research project explores the “existential migration” experienced by people who have voluntarily left their home country.
Project implemented in 2017.

It involves:

  • Visits and workshops leading to the construction of a life narrative, as well as the creation of works using motifs drawn from maps;
  • Exhibiting such meaningful works in an MMFA presentation.
Photo of brushes.

Drama Therapy and Art Therapy for Integration

École Barthélemy-Vimont

Through the arts, the Drama Therapy and Art Therapy for Integration project aims to create a sense of connection between children in regular Grade 4 classes and those who have recently arrived in Parc-Extension, one of Montreal’s most disadvantaged neighbourhoods.

Project implemented in 2017.

Museum activities:

  • A tour of the Museum’s collections
  • Creative workshops and discussions
  • Creation of a short play inspired by the Quebec artworks on display at the MMFA


  • Help newly arrived children to express themselves, translating as needed to facilitate the creative process;
  • Introduce young immigrants to Quebec culture and forge relationships amongst all the children taking part.
Drawing of a white silhouette of a child with wings.

Major Patron

Major Partners

The Museum also thanks
Roslyn Margles for her support to the Art Hive's weekend sessions
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