Vacant retail spaces in Downtown Montreal become art studios for emerging artists

CRÉER DES PONTS is an ambitious initiative in partnership with the City of Montreal which consists of offering a creative workshop for 3 months to 60 emerging artists in the heart of downtown Montreal.

Photo credit: Thierry du Bois

It is through an unprecedented alliance with the real estate community that we can develop 30 exceptional vacant businesses in 22 buildings into spaces for creation, exhibition and meetings.

These artists’ ephemeral workshops offer the public an opportunity to discover the wealth of visual arts in Montreal and allow the general public to be made aware of contemporary art through unique and original in-person and virtual activities.

Alexa Hawksworth at 111 Robert-Bourassa, Montreal.
Photo credit: Thierry du Bois

Each room is shared by two artists, who will come to create and meet the public. The spaces are easily recognizable from the street or from inside indoor shopping malls.

At the front of each space, works of art are exhibited and at the back of the room, the public has privileged access to the workshop space where the artists create their work.

Louise Campion working at Le Central in Montreal.
Photo credit: Thierry du Bois

Louise Campion, Ariane Côté and Marie-Chloé Duval at Le Central in Montreal.
Photo credit: Thierry du Bois

In addition to the daily creative activities and dissemination, nearly 25 activities are offered to both the general public and artists until October 15, 2021.

In addition, 10 glass cubes are deployed across the city presenting works of art to the general public.

Michel Pierre Lachance working at Place Ville Marie in Montreal.
Photo credit: Thierry du Bois

The head of ART SOUTERRAIN, Frédéric Loury dreamed of building a historic alliance between the visual arts community and commercial real estate. CRÉER DES PONTS is the largest-scale project proposed by the organization, already known for the internationally acclaimed ART SOUTERRAIN Festival, the Artch Visual Arts Fair and the Vitrine sur l’art initiative.

Exhibition glass cube with Hearyung Kim works at the Esplanade of Place des Arts in Montreal.
Photo credit: Thierry du Bois

“Commercial real estate and contemporary art – two important sectors of Montreal’s economy – have experienced turbulence linked to the pandemic and ART SOUTERRAIN wanted to propose a networking project that could meet both the continual need for vacant premises by emerging artists and support the revitalization of commercial spaces in the Greater Downtown Montreal Area.”

“CRÉER DES PONTS is a way of investing in ‘young roots’, as it is done regularly, for example in the new technologies sector. Great visual artists have all been looking for experiences like these at the start of their careers, springboards to develop and mature their artistic practice while building relationships with the cultural and business ecosystem. Each artist benefits from support in order to live an enriching experience. The majority of artists participating in the project will have access for the very first time in their career to a place to create where networking activities are planned”, says Loury.

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