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News release

Concordia University and Montreal Museum of Fine Arts partner to create programs in education and art therapy

University researchers will work with museum to develop projects for the well-being of society

Montreal, November 9, 2015 – The relationship between art and wellness is the mission of innovative programming initiated by the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA) and developed in partnership with Concordia University researchers.

As part of the MMFA’s new Michel de La Chenelière International Atelier for Education and Art Therapy, Concordia professors are formally developing the first in a series of courses and public programs in art education, art history and creative arts therapies that will be used to engage families and schools, seniors and local communities.

“It is fitting that two close neighbours with overlapping missions and shared social values strategically pool their talent and resources for educational advancement,” says Alan Shepard, president of Concordia. “This ground-breaking partnership, which includes eight new programs designed for research, education, and professional certification, will serve not only scholars, students and researchers, but other Montreal communities as well.

The partnership is a natural expression of Concordia’s educational mission to enrich society by taking its expertise beyond the confines of the university. Already widely recognized for housing Canada’s only PhD in Art Education, Concordia’s Faculty of Fine Arts also offers students an unparalleled range of programs in the visual and performing arts, cinematic and design arts, education and art, music and drama therapy.

“With the construction of our new pavilion, we approached our neighbour, Concordia University, to develop an innovative and ambitious partnership around the theme of peace,” says Nathalie Bondil, director and chief curator of the MMFA. “As a result of this collaboration, our permanent collection will be enhanced by pedagogical content designed by university researchers. Two of the most notable among this collaboration’s many innovations are that, for the first time ever, an art hive – a unique community studio space – will be established at a museum, and that the MMFA will participate in the art education certification process at Concordia. Today, peace and harmony unite for the well-being of our society!”

The eight projects driven by Concordia faculty members as part of the Michel de La Chenelière International Atelier for Education and Art Therapy are:

  1. La ruche d’art at the MMFA - A new art hive – a community space open to anyone who wants to come in and create – will be opened. The art hive model, developed by Creative Arts Therapies Associate Professor Janis Timm-Bottos, is designed to stimulate the imagination, informally build art skills and foster community among neighbours.
  2. Peace Trail course - A new course created by Art Education Associate Professor Kathleen Vaughan will allow students to study the permanent collection in the new MMFA pavilion and create accompanying sound installations that encourage museum visitors to reflect on issues surrounding social justice and peace.
  3. Family Works: A Multiplicity of Meanings and Contexts – A course already offered this fall term in the Department of Art History by Professor Loren Lerner, Family Works focuses primarily on a selection of images from the MMFA collections to highlight unexpected meanings about the family, children and childhood identity.
  4. Suicide Prevention and Aftermath: Educational Arts-based initiatives - A series of workshops will be led by Creative Arts Therapies students, under the supervision of Associate Professor Yehudit Silverman and museum staff. The series will culminate in an extensive community exhibition.
  5. Art and trauma - Programming led by Creative Arts Therapies Associate Professor Josée Leclerc is already underway at the museum. In closed-group workshops, the self-reported impact of art exposure and art therapy on participants in the Douglas Institute’s eating disorders program is being assessed.
  6. A second project, in partnership with the Montreal Cardiology Institute, in association with Leclerc, aims to study the effect of art and art therapy on clients with rhythmic heart problems.
  7. Graduate Certificate in Art Museum Education and Mediation - An 18-credit graduate program being developed by Professor Richard Lachapelle from the Department of Art Education will enable training in the museum setting, including internships. For the first time, the MMFA will contribute to Concordia’s certification process.
  8. Creative Art Therapies and Education – Professor Miranda D’Amico from the Department of Education will develop autism-related programming in collaboration with the MMFA.

Training of Museum Guides - To provide visitors a meaningful learning experience through dialogue, Concordia’s Centre for Continuing Education will continue to provide prospective volunteer guides specific skills to help them facilitate group learning in the museum's collections..

Links between Quartier Concordia and Quartier du Musée being developed through the Zone Éducation-Culture urban planning initiative will be announced next spring in partnership with the City of Montreal.


Fiona Downey
Fiona Downey
Public Affairs
514-848-2424, ext. 2518

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