La Ruche d’Art is a free community art studio and science shop- open to everyone! Its mission is to make art more accessible, strengthen links between community members and celebrate diversity, through dialogue, art making and gardening.
The Art Hive Initiative in Montreal has made 700 art making and gardening contacts with children and youth in three different communities this summer through two permanent neighbourhood art hives, a month long mini-art hive at a children’s summer camp, and directed outreach. The initiative also involved a group of 16 art educators/ art therapists in a summer service learning course of how to start these small hives for intergenerational art making. Art themes that emerged with the children were outdoor arts, gardening, and making food with food from the garden, as well as puppet making, poetry, and performance.
In the south-west, La Ruche d’Art welcomed youth and families from the St-Henri and near-by neighbourhoods to attend the all ages community studio, open two days a week. The studio and outreach were facilitated by paid staff, including two art therapists. New families with young children also regularly visit and explore the space each weekend. Over a four-month period La Ruche had 160 art making contacts with children.
Outreach work to youth and families of the Village des Tanneries, the western most neighbourhood in St-Henri, was conducted through outdoor creative activities, with the goal of initiating youth in this struggling neighbourhood to experiment with art making. The program fostered the collaborative work between a Tanneries artist and La Ruche youth to create a puppet theatre. This led to a youth-run workshop on sock puppet making and 6 children offering a puppet show at La Ruche’s September exhibit.
In northern Montreal in Ahuntsic, the Studio d’art St-Sulpice welcomed children and families from the social housing complex in which it is situated. The studio is run by a new Concordia graduate, an art educator and an art therapist. An adult-child mentorship program was initiated in the beginning of summer 2013 in order to address the large volume of children who would attend the studio without parent supervision and connection. The mentors are asked to focus on an art project that they themselves are inspired to do. They are then asked to engage children in these activities.