A splash of colour for Montreal North

The mural, painted by the artists Arnaud Grégoire and Cyril Blanchard, is located at the Place Normandie housing complex. (CNW Group/OFFICE MUNICIPAL D'HABITATION DE MONTREAL)

Unveiling of We Are Here murals at Place Normandie

MONTREAL, Nov. 8, 2012 /CNW Telbec/ - For the first time ever, MU adds a splash of colour to Montreal North. MU unveiled the We Are Here triptych of murals in the presence of Richard Deschamps, Vice-Chair of the Executive Committee of the Ville de Montréal and Member Responsible for Services to Citizens, Gilles Deguire, Montreal North Borough Mayor, Member of the Executive Committee and Member Responsible for Housing and Social Housing, and Denis Quirion, Executive Director, Office municipal d'habitation de Montréal (OMHM). The murals, painted by artist Arnaud Grégoire, are located at the Place Normandie housing complex (walls of 12 631, 6350-6358, 6320-6326 Chartrand St.).

"We're thrilled about transforming Montreal North by bringing art to the street. We are even prouder that the tenants in these low-income housing complexes actively participated in the selection process. The theme was chosen at a community meeting. A pre-selection jury, which included tenants, was formed and 100 tenants voted for the work they liked best. They had a real sense of ownership of the project and the artists' work," said Emmanuelle Hébert, Co-Founder of MU.

"The OMHM has been working together with MU for six years. It's important for us that our tenants support and participate in all projects in our low-income housing complexes. Through its initiatives, MU adds a lot of colour to the communities where its projects are located, but MU also genuinely wants citizens to have a sense of ownership about the art it produces," said Denis Quirion, Executive Director of the OMHM. "This mural has come at the right time, since Place Normandie is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. It's what helped us determine the location of this new joint initiative with MU," said Quirion.

The silhouettes and celebrities portrayed on the We Are Here murals represent all generations, particularly youth, as well as the themes of friendship, mutual support, sports and arts. Trees evoke the community and its deep roots, strength and perseverance, dreams and hopes. The map highlights Montreal North by focusing on the community's pride and multiculturalism.

"In Montreal North, we believe in cultural mediation. We have adopted a three-year action plan with a budget of $360,000 equally funded by the Quebec government and the borough. Our primary goal is to improve access to culture for all Montreal North citizens and the We Are Here triptych exemplifies that goal perfectly. Congratulations to all the stakeholders, artists and participants who made this possible!" said Gilles Deguire, Mayor of Montreal North.

In keeping with its mission, MU offered nine mural art workshops to young tenants. They attended the mural art workshops and made their own mural on the garage wall facing the basketball court where they play. Just under 100 youth aged 7 to 17 participated daily in the workshops.

"We are proud that our administration is helping to increase the number of murals in Montreal communities, including those recently completed in Montreal North. Montreal invests in the beautification and quality of life of communities. These works of art that brighten the walls of the Place Normandie housing complex are proof of the vitality in Montreal North. I am pleased to see how enthusiastic youth are about a mural project. It is a strong incentive for the Ville de Montréal to pursue its various mural art initiatives, which also help reduce graffiti," said Deschamps.

This project would not have been possible without the support of the Place Normandie tenant association. MU and the Office municipal d'habitation de Montréal extend their warmest thanks to their financial partners: the Ville de Montréal, Foundation of Greater Montreal, Borough of Montreal North and Benjamin Moore.

About MU
MU is a charity whose goal is to transform Montreal into an open-air art gallery. Its mission is to educate people on mural art by designing murals within and for local communities. Its initiatives are based on the democratization of art and social development. In six summers, MU has produced more than 40 murals. The organization has received the Citoyen des Arts et la Ville Award from Les Arts et la Ville network (2012), TELUS INNOVATION AWARD in the Arts and Culture (2010), and two provincial awards at the 10th Québec Entrepreneurship Contest (2008).

About the Office municipal d'habitation de Montréal
The Office municipal d'habitation de Montréal (OMHM) manages more than 20,000 low-income housing units on the island of Montreal. Its role goes well beyond managing housing stock: the OMHM also has a mission to strengthen tenants' power of influence and ability to take action in their community.

Image with caption: "The mural, painted by the artists Arnaud Grégoire and Cyril Blanchard, is located at the Place Normandie housing complex. (CNW Group/OFFICE MUNICIPAL D'HABITATION DE MONTREAL)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20121108_C6095_PHOTO_EN_20314.jpg

SOURCE: OFFICE MUNICIPAL D'HABITATION DE MONTREAL

For further information:

MU
Emmanuelle Hébert
514 466-3143
emmanuelle@mu-art.ca
www.mu-art.ca

OMHM
Sophie Des Marais
514 234-4736
sophie.dm@sympatico.ca
www.omhm.qc.ca