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Concordia Art Hives offer creative community and care

The free on-campus spaces allow for relaxing and socializing
December 20, 2022

A group of people seated around a table in a classroom setting and creating art. Rachel Chainey: “Making art, especially in the company of others, is known to decrease stress.”

For students and members of the university community and beyond looking for a place to unwind and get creative, the Concordia Art Hives are the place to go.

Open to Concordians as well as the public, the Loyola Campus and Sir George Williams Campus Art Hives are free, non-directed community spaces that foster connection, creativity and self-care among their participants. Two creative arts therapy facilitators welcome participants at four Art Hives sessions every week in the two fixed studio locations.

There are also about 10 pop-up events per term in collaboration with other campus events and spaces, including Open House, Orientation, Mental Health Day, the Hive Café Solidarity Co-operative, Concordia University Centre for Creative Reuse (CUCCR), the SHIFT Centre for Social Transformation and the Concordia Library.

“An art hive is a community art studio that welcomes everyone as an artist,” says Concordia student and facilitator Mohammad Abdalreza Zadeh. “It’s a welcoming place to talk, make art, build communities and respond in creative ways to things that matter.”

These days students face pandemic-era anxieties coupled with typical school-year stressors. As such, the main goal of the arts-based mental-health resource is to give them the opportunity to relax through socializing and art-making, regardless of age, ability or previous experience with art.

“It’s a lab approach to creative play, with a focus on the creative process rather than making an art product,” says Rachel Chainey, MA 18, Art Hives Network Headquarters coordinator. “Making art, especially in the company of others, is known to decrease stress, boost self-esteem and increase feelings of self-efficacy.”

‘A diverse circle of care’

Janis Timm-Bottos, Concordia associate professor of creative arts therapies, founded the International Art Hives Network HQ in 2011. The Concordia Art Hives followed, opening in 2018 and 2019, thanks to a generous gift from the Rossy Foundation.

They have proven to be beneficial to students and larger community in a variety of ways, welcoming those from all walks of life.

Chainey reports that the Art Hives provide access to diverse, second-hand art supplies — often supplied with the help of CUCCR— and studio space to anyone interested, including those who may not have the resources or space to make art at home. They also support the creation of lasting bonds between people of diverse backgrounds by helping fight social isolation and providing a place of belonging. Plus they encourage creative freedom and agency unfettered by the requirements of school, work and other social roles, and they support the sharing of skills and resources outside the marketplace.

“Many international and out-of-province students do not have family and friends here when they arrive on campus. The Art Hives are a place where they can begin to weave a diverse circle of care around themselves,” Chainey says.

“In the Art Hives, the space belongs to all. It might be a place for you to unwind with a free cup of tea, break isolation, scribble the exam stress away, make a new friend from a different program of study, mend your backpack, paint a canvas, share struggles, learn how to knit, collage a card to send back home, earn volunteering hours for your extra-curricular record or maybe even be inspired to start an Art Hive in your own community,” she adds.

“Our vision is to eventually see community art studios in every neighbourhood. Art Hives serve as the participatory component of making culture accessible to all.”

The walk-in Art Hives are open on the Sir George Williams Campus (ER Building room 101) on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2 to 7 p.m., and on the Loyola Campus (Central Building room 408) on Mondays and Fridays from 2 to 7 p.m.

For more information about the Concordia Art Hives, visit their Facebook and Instagram pages or reach out to Rachel Chainey by email at



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