ART IS GOOD FOR THE SOUL!
MONTREAL, Nov. 24, 2014 /CNW Telbec/ - To mark the 15th anniversary of its "Sharing the Museum" programme, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA) and its Foundation are proud to announce a five-year, $1.5 million partnership with Bell Canada ($300,000 per year) to expand the programme's educational, cultural and community initiatives, in which over 200,000 people have participated to date via 400 community organizations.
The partnership with Bell will allow the MMFA's Education and Community Programmes Department to expand the "Sharing the Museum" programme by bridging the worlds of art and well-being. On the first floor of its future Michal and Renata Hornstein Pavilion for Peace, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts will offer innovative programmes and services to people living with various challenges, including health issues. To our knowledge, this initiative is a world first!
Building on its traditional educational and aesthetic role, the Museum aims to contribute to the well-being and happiness of all visitors, especially those coping with social and health challenges. Immigrants, refugees, at-risk youth, senior citizens on low incomes, people with a low level of literacy, children, families and adults from disadvantaged neighbourhoods and cultural communities, and people with physical disabilities will have an opportunity to take part. We are perhaps not far from the day when doctors will prescribe an activity at the Museum to patients with chronic health issues.
"Bell is proud to partner with the MMFA's innovative 'Sharing the Museum' programme," said Martine Turcotte, Bell's Vice Chair, Québec. "The social benefits of art are clear and we applaud the MMFA's leadership for their commitment to supporting the well-being of Québec society and the thousands of people who will participate in the programme."
"The MMFA would like to thank Bell for helping to expand this programme, which is essential for the well-being of our community and society. Bell is a long-standing, loyal and generous partner of the Museum. Since 2010, and including this new gift, Bell has donated in goods, services and money, $3 million to the Museum and its Foundation, including the installation of a Wi-Fi network in all of our pavilions, greatly enhancing the cultural experience of our one million visitors. Bell also helped us promote a host of activities on both our website and information screens, including exhibitions, concerts, films and lectures. This new contribution will allow us to implement an innovative educational and community-building project aimed at helping visitors with specific needs embark on a journey of self-discovery and creativity, while giving them a sense of belonging and building their self-esteem," stated the MMFA's director and chief curator, Nathalie Bondil.
Through its "Sharing the Museum" programme, the MMFA allows people with specific needs to interact with the artworks in its encyclopaedic collection. Thanks to the programme, tens of thousands of visitors who rarely have the opportunity to enjoy art and culture, are able to participate for free in a variety of activities created specifically for them. Programme activities are proving to be very beneficial to these individuals and their loved ones. Many have said that a visit to the museum has a positive impact on their well-being and happiness.
Thanks to the support of Bell, the MMFA will be able to partner with a number of Montreal research centres to prove that "Art is good for the soul".
Bold pilot projects with a focus on art therapy and well-being
Collaborative research project between the MMFA and Montreal Heart Institute
This study is aimed at evaluating the benefits of art therapy in patients with elevated heart rate. The single-blind intervention study will quantify the reduction in participants' heart rate following art therapy sessions and will evaluate this reduction over time.
The project opens the door to non-invasive treatments to control heart rate. The results of this first study will lay the foundations for innovative research on the treatment and prevention of cardiovascular disease.
Alzheimer's project in collaboration with the Alzheimer Society of Montreal
This project was started in 2009, inspired by an initiative of the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in New York City. Conducted in collaboration with the Alzheimer Society of Montreal, the project aims to improve the quality of life of participants and their caregivers by involving them in inspirational, creative activities that respect their physical and mental limitations.
What participants have to say about the "Sharing the Museum" programme
"We're often victims of isolation and that isolation is hard to break. A project like the one at the Museum gives us a chance to communicate with others. Creativity helps us rediscover a sense of child-like joy. We feel like we've accomplished something and can take control of our lives."
Chistopher Reed, Accueil Bonneau
"I feel somehow liberated. When people look at my works, it's as if they're finally looking at me."
Jean Fontaine, Accueil Bonneau
"Every year it's a fantastic learning experience and a lot of fun. We feel really privileged to participate in this wonderful journey to the land of art. Thank you so much."
Christiane Gagné, supervisor of a group of mental health patients from the Jewish General Hospital of Montreal
History of an innovative programme at the MMFA: building a unique expertise in the museum world
In 1999, the MMFA began turning its attention to the realities of people who could not participate in its cultural activities or engage with its artworks for a variety of reasons (a prison sentence, health issues, financial concerns, etc.).
The Museum decided to change that. The programme, known at the time as the "Bridging Art and Community" programme and supported by the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation, made it possible to meet the needs of this vast and varied clientele. Through community programmes and intermediaries, marginalized groups were able to take part in the Museum's regular programmes and engage in projects tailored to their needs. Programmes and tours were specially adapted to accommodate these new visitors. "Beyond Our Walls" activities were also developed to reach people with reduced mobility. The project evolved and was renamed the "Sharing the Museum" programme, supported by the J.A. DeSève Foundation.
Art has often been defined as a way for humans to better understand the world around them and their place in it. Thanks to Bell, thousands of visitors with specific needs will be able to live a human experience through works of art.
About the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts
The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts has the highest attendance rate among Canadian museums. Every year over 1 million people visit its unique encyclopaedic collection and its original temporary exhibitions, which combine artistic disciplines (fine arts, music, film, fashion, design) and feature innovative exhibition designs. The Museum conceives, produces and circulates many of its exhibitions across Europe and North America. It is also one of Canada's leading publishers of art books in English and French, which are distributed worldwide. Over 200,000 families, students and people with specific needs take part in its educational, cultural and community-oriented programmemes each year. The fall of 2011 saw the opening of a fourth pavilion at the Museum, devoted exclusively to Quebec and Canadian Art – the Claire and Marc Bourgie Pavilion – and a 444-seat concert venue – Bourgie Hall – housing an outstanding collection of Tiffany stained-glass windows. The Museum's rich holdings are displayed in its other three pavilions, which house the world cultures, medieval to contemporary international art and decorative art and design collections. Music is now an integral part of the Museum, providing another perspective on the visual arts through musical audioguides and other innovative activities. The Studios Art & Education Michel de la Chenelière, inaugurated in 2012, have almost doubled the MMFA's facilities for schools, families and community groups. A fifth pavilion, the Michal and Renata Hornstein Pavilion for Peace, devoted to international art and education, will open its doors in late 2016 for Montreal's 375th anniversary.
BCE is Canada's largest communications company, providing a comprehensive and innovative suite of broadband communication services to residential and business customers under the Bell Canada and Bell Aliant brands. Bell Media is Canada's premier multimedia company with leading assets in television, radio, out of home and digital media, including CTV, Canada's #1 television network, and the country's most-watched specialty channels. To learn more, please visit BCE.ca.
The Bell Let's Talk initiative promotes Canadian mental health with national awareness and anti-stigma campaigns, like Clara's Big Ride for Bell Let's Talk and Bell Let's Talk Day, and significant Bell funding of community care and access, research, and workplace initiatives. To learn more, please visit Bell.ca/LetsTalk.
Source and requests for information:
Thomas Bastien standing in for Sophie Labat
Montreal Museum of Fine Arts
514-285-1600, ext. 205
SOURCE: Bell Canada