Participants in the Art’porte Moi project have been working hard to cross everything off their to-do lists before their vernissage. The opening of their exhibition is coming up on November 13, at the Alfred Langevin Cultural Hall in Huntingdon.
Initiated by Melissa’s Sunshine Camp in February 2021, with funding through the Ministry of Culture and Communication’s Culture and Inclusion program, the project was adapted specifically for adults living with intellectual or physical difficulties, including Camp members and those attending the social integration class at the Huntingdon Adult Education and Community Centre (HAECC).
The project started with artist Line Desrochers leading weekly themed art workshops around self-exploration, painting without a brush, collage, and dry brush techniques with stencils. Once these were mastered, the budding artists applied their natural creativity and freshly acquired artistic skills to the design and painting of colourful full-size doors that were contributed by area businesses and organizations.
In all, 35 people took part in the workshops, which led to the creation of eight doors for project partners including The Little Green Library, Une Affaire de Famille, the Municipality of Hinchinbrooke, the Micro ferme Retour aux Sources, Ancre et Ailes, Gosselin Courtiers d’Assurances, and the Montérégie West Community Network. As a result of this collaboration, the artwork will now “live on” in the community. An eighth door will be part of a silent auction that will take place during the exhibition.
Several of the doors have already been installed; however, two will be on display during the exhibition, which will also feature smaller replicas of the other doors and a series of photographs. Several participants also worked on personal projects as part of the Art’porte Moi initiative, and their work, as well as self-portraits painted by the participants, will also be on display.
“They are very excited,” says educator Sonia Viau of the participants, though she admits they are also sad to see the project coming to an end. “They have really enjoyed the project,” she adds, saying the experience has been an overall success.
“I am very happy to have been able to include so many people,” Viau says, noting that representatives from almost all the partner businesses and organizations participated in the creation of their doors. Viau is also very impressed by the participants’ commitment to the project, as well as with Desrocher’s guidance and implementation. “She is calm, patient, and very human,” Viau explains, noting she especially appreciated how effectively the artist was able to include everyone in the creative process.
“I am looking forward to seeing the participants when they see their work in a gallery,” says Viau, suggesting the participants now see themselves as artists and take great pride in the work they have done together. “Their minds have been opened,” she adds. “They are seeing lots of opportunities to give back to the community.”
The vernissage will take place on Sunday, November 13, from 2 to 4 p.m., and the exhibition will continue until December 11. The Alfred Langevin Cultural Hall is open on weekends from 1 to 4 p.m. or during the week by reservation. Those interested can also discover more about the project and the participants’ artistic journey on the Art’porte-moi Project Facebook page.