Saint-Chrysostome recently hired popular Valley artist Audrée Bourdeau to create a work of art on the pavement of Parc Cécile Rochefort. Bourdeau is known around the Valley for her work which often consists of painted mandala designs at local schools and on paved areas. She is also the person behind the butterfly art displayed in each municipality of the MRC du Haut-Saint-Laurent.
Bourdeau’s most recent project is now in the works and is shaping up to be quite a large one. “The project is about 20 per cent done in total.” She explains that in her proposal, she “detailed all the games [she] could do on the ground. Mandalas, drawings to colour in with chalk, a flower memory game, an alphabet game, hopscotch, etc.”
The project did end up a bit delayed because of the weather but has luckily now been started. Bourdeau explains her intentions behind this project: “The goal is to have something fun in the municipalities during [the pandemic], something extra to give to their citizens … and also to [make use of] asphalt space.” This piece will create an interactive space where kids can play multiple games, colour, and “make up their own rules.”
Her process also involves collaboration with the patrons of her work; she emphasizes that this an integral part of her practice. “The most important thing for schools and municipalities is that I accommodate their wants and the creation of their project.” When creating the new art in Saint-Chrysostome, she reached out to learn what might work best: “I contacted an animator at Maison des Jeunes to ask how we can get young people excited about this project… It’s important to involve citizens.”
Being active and involved in the community is important to Bourdeau. She explains that the Valley is part of her identity: “I come from Saint-Chrys, I live in Saint-Antoine-Abbé, I work in Valleyfield – I am very attached to the region. I like to give back and volunteer a bit extra.” She believes that her job should be very much based on give-and-take. “If someone hires me for a 10 by 10 [foot] painting, I’ll try to make it a bit bigger than what we had first said. I think it’s important to give back to people as much as they give me.”
One of the great things about Bourdeau’s art is how it appeals to children. “There are so many kids with different interests. In a park or in a school there are ways to involve them. For example, with asphalt art there might be a game that’s more sporty, but then a mandala to colour in that’s more artistic.” Not only this, but this kind of art is accessible for all ages: “It’s also great for families who have kids that are at different ages,” as it gives all kids exciting things to do.
Bourdeau affirms that art is an integral part of a community. She explains that she has heard before that art is more than “just nice” and she believes that “Art will help us develop things beyond just our creativity. It gives us a critical eye, more confidence, understanding emotions and the world we live in. It makes sense to me that art is more than just something pretty, it helps us be better people who are more resilient, sensitive to others, etc.”
She has many other new projects around the community, like the new mural in Saint-Antoine-Abbé that acts as an “I-Spy” game, and a mural in the works for St. Paul school in Beauharnois where she will include every kid.