The Club des petits déjeuners du Québec was born from a desire to nourish children’s spirits as much as their bodies. The Museum has joined forces with the Club to enable some hundred youngsters from disadvantaged communities have a unique artistic experience. Asked to create something at school, their creations are later shown in the Museum’s educational gallery.
The goal is to:
- Foster the development of self-esteem.
- Spark thinking about the transformative power of art, a metaphor for the capacity of all individuals, regardless of their age, to take control of their own lives.
- Give children a feeling of accomplishment.
Une école montréalaise pour tous
As part of Une école montréalaise pour tous, a government program contributing to the success in school of students from multi-ethnic and underprivileged communities in Montreal, the Museum has set up the project Mail Art: Portraits Written in Full.
Objective of the project :
Grade 3 and 4 students from five elementary schools in underprivileged communities took part in a cultural experience at the Museum, with the goal of having them create works of mail art, a unique form of correspondence.
Conduct of the project :
- 1The Grade 3 and 4 youngsters first welcomed to their respective classes a spoken word artist and a writer who invited them to go on a journey with words and pictures.
- 2Taking inspiration from a visit to the Museum’s contemporary art collection, the students then created postcards on the theme of roots and identity.
- 3Their stories in the form of those works were subsequently exhibited at the Museum—their contribution to Montreal’s cultural and social scene.
The MMFA has partnered with the YWCA Montreal to combat the isolation of immigrant women and contribute to their well-being.
While mothers meet other women of all ages and backgrounds at the Centre Multi, the MMFA hosts their children to a stimulating outing during which they visit the Museum, take part in a creative workshop, and spend time with other children.
Society of Saint Vincent de Paul
Specializing in first-line community services, the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul instituted, with the MMFA, the project Looking Good at the Museum.
With the support of an art therapist and a Museum facilitator, this project gives elementary and secondary school students at risk of dropping out the opportunity to take part, along with a number of seniors, in creating and exhibiting a work at the Museum.
These artistic encounters not only bring the different generations closer together, they also foster academic success among the young participants.
This project, a collaboration between the private rehabilitation centre Elizabeth House and the Museum, is aimed at young single-parent mothers and young women having trouble adjusting to their pregnancy. They gain through the positive experience of taking part in creative activities offered by the Museum, cultural interludes that provide relief for those facing challenges and isolation.
A helping hand for families
For over fifteen years, the MMFA has promoted access to culture for elementary and secondary school students from schools in underprivileged neighbourhoods in the greater Montreal area.
In a continuation of that approach, in 2012 the Museum created the program Coup de pouce aux familles. Thanks to the distribution of open passes, families can visit the Museum’s collections and temporary exhibitions free of charge, and participate in the family activities that take place every weekend.
Up to 2016, the Museum distributed some 5,000 passes through Montreal’s library network and, in 2019, over 15,000 passes for two adults and two children through key partners whose missions are closely related to accessibility and inclusion, namely the Breakfast Club, the Montreal library network, Moisson Montréal and the Fondation du Dr Julien.
Michaëlle Jean Foundation
The MMFA continues its mission to foster diversity and togetherness in conjunction with the Michaëlle Jean Foundation as part of its 4th Wall: Make the Invisible Visible program.
Two projects have resulted:
- In 2014, a presentation of works by young artists from the Black communities of Montreal;
- In 2016, young Quebec Muslims aged 15 to 30 were invited to weigh in on subjects of particular concern to them, such as social exclusion and Islamophobia.
The presentation of one of their artworks gave them the opportunity to express their feelings about belonging and their place in Quebec society.
For a number of years now, the Museum has joined forces with LOVE (Leave Out Violence) Québec, an organization working to reduce violence and its effects on the lives of adolescents, to get them involved with cultural institutions.
The Museum therefore provides specialized workshops for 12 young people at risk who have experienced the collateral damage of violence. Led by an educator who introduces the teenagers to traditional and contemporary art concepts, this activity includes:
- Tours of the collections and workshops
- Taking photos and writing
- Exhibiting their works at the Museum
By recounting their lives in the form of art, these young people can share their experiences with the Montreal community. And by showing their works on our walls, they open the door to their world to us.
In collaboration with Accueil Bonneau’s Maison Eugénie-Bernier, the Museum of Fine Arts has set up an activity designed for homeless men, who often struggle with drug dependency or mental health issues.
The activity involves:
- Visiting the Museum’s collections
- Art workshops at Maison Eugénie-Bernier
- Learning about various artistic techniques (photography, painting, writing, drawing, etc.) with cultural facilitators
- Creation of a work to enhance their daily surroundings
As well as developing their social skills and combating isolation, a major challenge for the participants, this project gives them a positive feeling of belonging.
Le Tour de lire
In 2013, the MMFA partnered with Le Tour de lire, an organization defending the rights of residents of Montreal’s Hochelga-Maisonneuve neighbourhood who have little schooling and are unable to read and write, to institute a creative and exhibition project dealing with the themes of poverty and illiteracy. Many creative workshops led by educators in the Museum’s Department of Education and Community Programs gave the participants an opportunity to express their woes in their own words.
Commission scolaire de Montréal
As part of Arts Month at the Commission scolaire de Montréal, the MMFA is hosting the fourth edition of the Point de départ project.
Pairing students from two academic levels with works from the collection of Quebec and Canadian art, Point de départ aims to spur a fresh look at the collection through exploring a particular detail of a work. The detail is constantly reinterpreted, demonstrating how many creative possibilities can begin from a single starting point.
The objective of this group art project is to:
- Enable children to forge positive social bonds among themselves.
- Foster self-affirmation through creativity, a source of personal value.
DAREarts has taken up the challenge of developing leadership among young people by opening them up to art and providing them with empowering cultural activities.
This year the MMFA and DAREarts continue the partnership they began in 2014 by offering twelve young people at risk the opportunity to enjoy an artistic experience benefiting both them and those around them.
The activity involves:
- Visiting the MMFA collections
- Taking part in creative workshops
- Participants acting as ambassadors for the program by telling their schoolmates about it