The Pillars project: Favoring living together and social cohesion through art

The Pillars project: Favoring living together and social cohesion through art
The Pillars project: Favoring living together and social cohesion through art

Supported by the City of Quebec, the project Pillars wishes to promote living together and social cohesion. This winter, artists gave 27 artistic workshops to people who attend community organizations. Several works are on display in the window of the Saint-Roch church until June 21.

Engrenage Saint-Roch hosts part of the project Pillarsled by the City of Quebec.

“We are here to disseminate traces of the project in the window,” explains Julie Bernier, project manager for citizen participation at L’Engrenage Saint-Roch.

“Last October, we heard about the project and I approached Magali Parent, the project’s cultural mediator. I asked him if it was possible to host part of their project in our space. We found that the project fit well with the mission of L’Engrenage and the entire community,” she says.

“We come to offer them a space where we can experience art without other expectations and which allows for an encounter,” explains Magali Parent, cultural mediator for the Piliers project.

“From there, it sometimes allows us to bring out elements of beauty or humanity. »

Pillars is at the heart of two exhibitions.

One is visible in the window of L’Engrenage Saint-Roch (at 560 rue St-Joseph Est). The other is a photo exhibition at the Dorchester Bridge starting June 1 by Guillaume Fortier, which documents the creative process of Pillars.

The closing of the Pillars Project exhibition is scheduled for Wednesday, June 19 at 3 p.m. at Engrenage Saint-Roch.

27 artistic workshops conducted

It all started with a call for applications open to Quebec artists launched by the City. The intention was to initiate artistic workshops within community organizations.

The choice fell on two duos and a solo artist: the Pierre&Marie collective and the Patrick Forchild-Emmanuelle Gendron duo, as well as the artist MC Grou.

“Between January and March 2024, the Pierre&Marie collective, the Patrick Forchild-Emmanuelle Gendron duo and the artist MC Grou gave 27 creative workshops to people attending the Dauphine, Lauberivière, the Maison de Job, the Société Elizabeth Fry du Quebec, the Droit de Cité Clinic and the Dialogue program at the YMCA Saint-Roch,” lists Ms. Bernier.

The artists also visited different organizations.

Each artist had varied techniques like graffiti, spray paint, collage, stumping, among others. “The work created comes from the mixture of all these experiences. Everyone will be able to relate to it. The feeling of belonging is amplified for participants. This gives them a voice and it’s a great way to integrate them,” notes Julie Bernier of L’Engrenage Saint-Roch.
Photo credit: Courtesy Julie Bernier

“These artists had the mandate to meet people who frequent these organizations to create a moment of connection and exchange through art,” she explains.

“This allowed participants to get away from their daily lives, which are often about survival. »

According to cultural mediator Magali Parent, the project Pillars promoted “a return to basics and an experience where we overcome apprehensions and the fear of being judged (whether we are a person attending an organization or an artist very far from this environment with this apprehension of being seen as an imposter).

Soon a mural on four pillars of the Dufferin-Montmorency highway

” The project Pillars is first of all a public art competition to replace the frescoes of the pillars that we currently see on the Dufferin-Montmorency highway. These frescoes are at the end of their life and we must change them. This will revitalize the sector,” says Isabel Gagnon, public art and culture advisor to the City of Quebec.

The competition was launched last summer.

“The three finalists have started the whole process. To create the artwork, they had to raise awareness about homelessness. The artists also had to integrate different organizations welcoming disaffiliated people,” she emphasizes.

“We therefore decided to make it a major community project where several organizations and artists could participate, while involving citizens who do not have access to these cultural mediation activities. »

Thus, the result is exhibited in the window of the Saint-Roch church with a selection of works created during these artistic workshops.

For the City, this project aims to achieve its objectives regarding living together.

“We want to give a voice to those who have less in our society and generate dialogue between the different people who live in the neighborhood and who work there,” says Ms. Gagnon.

The final result of the competition regarding the artist chosen for this mural will be known in July.

“The people who use all these resources are people to whom we should listen more. The latter should have more space in the public space, because they have very rich knowledge and experience and unimaginable creativity. This project is an exercise that brings us back to the importance of reaching out to a diversity of environments, if we really want to support social cohesion. I think that Pillars made this effort,” conclude Julie Bernier and Magali Parent.

This article was produced by Local Journalism Initiative reporter Anne Charlotte Gillain.

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