DAREarts Blog

Discipline, Action, Responsibility, Excellence

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DAREarts Montreal Youth Take Action: DAREing to Dream Like Chagall

For eight weeks in Montreal, teens from Vezina, Perspectives and JFK high schools have been gathering for weekly after-school DAREarts workshops  at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA), culminating in a Public Showcase on Sunday, June 11th, 2 pm. Alongside DAREarts Montreal Lead Teacher & Coordinator Deirdre Potash, Teaching Assistant Sebastien Haimet, MMFA Teacher Jacinthe Otis, Beatboxer Malcolm Humes, Spoken Word Artist Why’z Panthera,  and photographer and videographer Emanuele Setticasi, the teens have created together to become empowered young leaders.

Adapted from reports by Teaching Assistant Sebastien Haimet:
Day One:  At the MMFA, Jacinthe toured the DAREarts group through graffiti murals created by artist collective En Masse. Each teen sketched out symbols they saw that resonated with them. Shane shared with his peers, “Art doesn’t always have to be beautiful in the normal sense; sometimes its ugliness makes it beautiful.”  Later in the studio, the teens created their own symbols in plastercine.

Day Two: In their opening circle, the youths discussed the DAREarts value of ‘Discipline’ and how it applies to leadership. The teens talked insightfully about how respect and self-control can help them be excellent!  The MMFA’s Jacinthe then treated the teens to a tour through the special Chagall exhibit, where they explored how he created rhythm and movement in his paintings. The teens were fascinated by the ballet costumes and stained glass works. Matteus shared that he was so impressed that he wanted to see the ballet himself! Returning to the studio, the teens learned a printmaking process and created their own prints.

Day Three: The teens explored the MMFA’s contemporary collection, exploring through art the narrative of oppression faced by First Nations people. Spoken word artist Why’z Panthera inspired the teens to write short poems. Everyone was in awe of the quality of each poem. Taisha’s fearless presentation on her first DAREarts Day, and Vito’s beautifully complex writing. In the closing circle, Ariel shared that spoken word had given her a new way to express herself. All the participants said they plan on sharing this experience with friends, classmates and family.

Day Four: In their opening circle, the teens discussed how they had shared their slam poetry outside of the circle and how they can further share.  In a new wing of the MMFA, they encountered Jacinthe’s favourite self-portraits, including JM Basquiat and Joseph Beuys, revealing the many unorthodox ways that artists can portray themselves.  In the studio, beatboxer Malcolm shared the history of beatboxing and taught a few foundational sounds. Everyone gave it their all, despite an “embarrassing” sound or two!

Day Five: The teens discovered the MMFA’s new pavilion of Impressionist landscapes. Vito, a returning DAREarts teen, shared that even though he did not find the pieces appealing, he appreciated how the paintings were like photographs imbued with emotions.  At the studio, Deirdre taught the teens how to create art by embossing metal sheets.  By the end of the session, the teens shared that they felt DAREarts was a haven to get away from the stresses of regular life.

Day Six: The teens completed the first stage of their photo transfer pieces, ensuring that they covered for anyone who was absent. Then the teens started combining their spoken word pieces with beatboxing, with Why’z and Malcolm’s help.  With the showcase just a few weeks away, the teens started to see how their final creations would look and sound.  During breaks, many opened up and shared their life experiences and the challenges they face.

Day Seven: Deirdre welcomed the teens to the studio with homemade pizza and Banana bread!  While creating their photo transfer artwork, the teens’ discussions ranged from music to politics. It was clear how comfortable they had become around each other and our teaching team.  By the end of the session, many of the teens had come out of their bubble of shyness, which we hope they will continue to do both at DAREarts and in their everyday lives.

Day Eight: With their public showcase just around the corner, the teens all worked hard to finish up their varied artworks for Sunday’s display. I wish you could witness the ambience; the sound of relaxation, creativity all taking place in a safe environment.

DAREarts is grateful to all its supporters including National Supporter: Northbridge Insurance; Lead Supporters: Anne Livingston, Scotiabank, TD Bank Group and Bank of America Merrill Lynch; and Education Partner: Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.


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VITRINE! Nos jeunes artistes DAREarts Montréal 2015

2015 DAREarts Montreal Showcase

Le 30 mai dernier, le Centre Canadien d’Architecture (CCA) de Montréal a généreusement accueilli la vitrine consacrée aux jeunes artistes DAREarts Montréal 2015. Un gros merci au CCA. Le public, les parents, les enseignants, les artistes et les sympathisants se sont tous réunis pour applaudir le travail de cette douzaine de jeunes artistes.

La coordonnatrice de DAREarts Montréal, Sarah Manolson, a chaleureusement accueilli tout le monde. La fondatrice de DAREarts, Marilyn Field, a rappelé à tous présents le pouvoir des arts à transformer nos vies. Le vice-président de Northbridge Insurance, Jean-Francois Beliveau, nous a inspiré avec un témoignage personnel. Les enseignants de DAREarts, Stephen Legari and Mylene Tardif ont présenté des certificats de rendement à chacun des jeunes artistes. Les parents ont exprimé leur gratitude, dont un parent qui a déclaré que DAREarts n’a accompli rien de moins que de sauver la vie de son fils.

2015 DAREarts Montreal - Architectural PhotographyStephen a résumé le programme comme suit : « Au cours des mois d’avril et de mai 2015, un groupe de douze jeunes qui se sont choisis eux-mêmes parmi les anciens élèves de l’an dernier se sont réunis chaque semaine après l’école au Musée des Beaux-Arts de Montréal (MBAM). Ensemble, ils ont exploré les collections du MBAM,  ont créé des oeuvres d’art, ont ri ensemble et surtout, ont accepté le défi d’exprimer leur vraie nature – parce que c’est ça que l’artiste fait. Le thème du programme c’était « l’identité ». Nos jeunes artistes se sont vu confier les matériaux leur permettant de trouver des moyens d’expression qui leur sont propres. Ils l’ont fait, à travers la sculpture, la photographie, l’animation, la peinture, le dessin, le collage et les techniques mixtes. Ils avaient seulement deux heures par semaine, qui à l’occasion comprenait un détour par l’Égypte ancienne ou une visite chez Picasso. »

« Notre équipe DAREarts est incroyablement fière de tous ces jeunes. Ils ont choisi de faire ça, d’en faire quelque chose d’important. Il y a bien d’autres choses qu’ils auraient pu faire après l’école, mais ils ont fait du programme DAREarts une priorité pour eux-mêmes et les uns envers les autres. »

2015 DAREarts Montreal - Sharing ArtworkRemerciements :

Marva Ballantyne, Jean-Francois Beliveau, Frederic Bohbot, Toby Cayouette, Howard Chackowicz, Frederic Chais, Suzanne Clark, Hawa Conteh,  John Devlin, Marc Duguay, Mariana Frandsen, Marilyn Lajeunesse, Monique Macleod, Eric Akbar Manolson, Nathalie Potvin, Alain Turgeon, Barbara White, Sharon Wurst

Northbridge Insurance,  Marketwired, Groupe Celebrations Group

Perspectives I, Vezina, Mountainview, Dawson Alternative, Options I

Photos: Frederic Chais.

DAREarts Montreal - Showcasing Leadership

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SHOWCASE! Our 2015 DAREarts Montreal Young Artists

2015 DAREarts Montreal ShowcaseOn May 30th, the Canadian Centre of Architecture (CCA) in Montreal generously hosted a Showcase by the 2015 DAREarts Montreal youth artists. Thank you, CCA. The public plus parents, teachers, artists and supporters gathered to laud the work of this dozen young artists.

DAREarts Montreal Coordinator, Sarah Manolson, warmly welcomed everyone. DAREarts Founder, Marilyn Field, reminded everyone of the power of the arts to transform our lives. Northbridge Insurance VP, Jean-Francois Beliveau, inspired us with his own story.   DAREarts teachers, Stephen Legari and Mylene Tardif presented certificates of accomplishment to each of the youth artists. Parents expressed their gratitude, including one parent who said DAREarts simply saved her son’s life.

2015 DAREarts Montreal - Architectural PhotographyStephen summarized the program: “Throughout April and May 2015, a group of twelve self-selected youth as last year’s alumni has gathered every week after school at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA).  Together, they explored the MMFA’s collections, created art work, laughed together and, most importantly, took up the ‘DARE’  to express their true selves – because that’s what an artist does.  The theme of this program was Identity.  Our young artists were given the materials to find their own expressions.  They did it, through sculpture, photography, animation, painting, drawing, collage and mixed media. They only had 2 hours a week which sometimes included taking a tour through ancient Egypt or visiting Picasso.”

“Our DAREarts team is immensely proud of all the youth. They chose do to this, to make it important.  There are lots of other things they could have been doing after school but they made the DAREarts program a priority for themselves and for each other.”

2015 DAREarts Montreal - Sharing ArtworkMeet our alumni! Bryce was there every week, even when it was hard. He was often the first to arrive and always helped with the cleanup. He showed real patience when things were challenging, like when our teacher, Stephen spilled paint on his boots. He also worked hard on his art work, often returning after several weeks to add a little more. Joey takes on any art task with a refreshing curiosity and a sense of play that most artists struggle to have.  With his subtle, dry sense of humour, he is a creative natural. John’s commitment to urban art along with his talent and his sketchbook is apparent and important.  He is a natural leader. Kallee has a strong sense of composition and a unique talent. From the first to the very last day, she showed a great commitment to DAREarts, to herself and to her artwork. Kasandra is awesome. She has both a natural creative flow and a way of making people feel comfortable around her. She arrived every week in a good mood and spread it around. Her impactful artwork reflects an essential ingredient to everything she does: fun.

DAREarts Montreal - Fiercely ArtisticMarc kept us all laughing! He also has an incredible memory for the history of film and is not afraid to talk to people. Some of his art recalls the expressive work of Jackson Pollock. Martin creates art quickly, spontaneously and has the artist’s integrity to know when something is complete. He introduced us to a whole world of digital art and music. Vito is a warm and gracious young gentleman. He is also a skilled and patient illustrator who brings complexity and concentration to his art work. Roman developed leadership skills and took on important responsibilities. He is an artist committed to expressing himself with a passion for urban art while stretching his skills further. Tori makes art like a plant slowly blossoming.  She made this group an important part of her life and worked hard every session, even when confronted with materials she didn’t like. Her voice shines through her work. Zioni is a cool, natural performer who brought a mature and relaxed approach to DAREarts.  She dove into any art task and found a way to make it her own.

Special thanks to our young artist and youth mentor, Bianca Gutman, who captured the magic of each week in her photographs.

Special thanks also to our Education Partner, the MMFA, who supplied workshop space, materials tours and an educator, John Mingola.

Special Thanks / Remerciements :

Marva Ballantyne, Jean-Francois Beliveau, Frederic Bohbot, Toby Cayouette, Howard Chackowicz, Frederic Chais, Suzanne Clark, Hawa Conteh,  John Devlin, Marc Duguay, Mariana Frandsen, Marilyn Lajeunesse, Monique Macleod, Eric Akbar Manolson, Nathalie Potvin, Alain Turgeon, Barbara White, Sharon Wurst

Northbridge Insurance,  Marketwired, Groupe Celebrations Group

Perspectives I, Vezina, Mountainview, Dawson Alternative, Options I

Photos courtesy of Frederic Chais.

DAREarts Montreal - Showcasing Leadership

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DAREarts Montreal youth dare to be their best selves

DAREarts Montreal 2015 is bringing together teen alumni from last year for an eight week after-school program at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA) culminating in an exhibition at the Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA). Each week, the youth gather at the MMFA for an intensive afternoon of art-making, discussion, reflection and skill-building. The DAREarts principles of Discipline, Action, Responsibility, and Excellence remind the students that they are each capable of achieving and expressing their personal best. The MMFA’s extraordinary collection fuels the students’ ideas and inspirations. Students are collaborators at every step of their program and are expected to share their experience and expertise as leaders who teach others what they have learned.

The theme this year reflects on the adolescent experience and the DAREarts principles:
DARE to be YOU: Identity, creativity, and risk-taking through the arts.


Week 1

Since the youth were already familiar with each other, introductions were easy and we were able to get right down to art-making. This week’s project was mandalas, an art all about centering and connecting.

Week 2IMG_8055edit

Starting with a tour of the contemporary art collection at the MMFA fueled the youths’ ideas for a new activity. Each youth created their own small canvas which were then joined together to form a large tree. This act of joining artwork together will be a theme throughout many of our activities as the youth work together while also taking the initiative to lead.

Week 3

Full house today with both familiar and first-time faces! The teaching team moved about helping group cohesion while enabling three simultaneous activities today: mandalas for new members, finishing up small canvases, and beginning a group mural that would later become an animation. We really noticed a shift in comfort this week; the kids were interacting with ease and positivity even with those they were meeting for the first time.

Week 4

The museum tour in week 2 had struck a positive note with the youth who requested another. After visiting Matisse and Picasso, we headed back to the studio for a new art challenge: a mixed-media exploration using pre-cut images and drawing. As the youth finished each activity, we saw a new sense of self-expression and pride in their achievement.

IMG_8606Week 5

We began this week in a circle and although interaction does not come easily for some of the youth, the group reacted well to their discussion of personal growth and capability. The DAREarts principles of Discipline, Action, Responsibility and Excellence reminds them that they are capable of taking charge and making changes in their lives. From there, we dove into making a collective tree sculpture using an array of materials.

Week 6

A short tour of the MMFA’s ancient Egypt and Africa exhibit ignited a sense of wonder for cultural history in the kids. They then began decorating their sculptures and, with everyone painting and chatting away, the session flew by.

Week 7

The youths took on two new artistic options: printmaking and drawing. Almost all tried out printmaking, while others moved even further out of their comfort zones in an expressive brush stroke activity. We then took a walk to capture the environment surrounding the museum using photography. The hand words created by the youth at the end of the session were an excellent reflection on their experience so far: Victory, United, Lightening, Truth, Recursion, Texture, Beauty, Talking, Thoughts, and Natural.

Stay tuned and join us for the youth exhibition on May 30, 2:30pm at the CCA!

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DERA-arts Montréal“The arts have a special power” states Marilyn Field, founder of DAREarts, “They take kids outside of themselves and they begin to find out who they are.” 

Sponsored by Northbridge Insurance, in March, Ms. Field and DAREarts Montreal Coordinator Sarah Manolson along with artists, teachers and community members to launch a local program for an initial 30 teens who have already experienced life challenges. The two participating schools were Perspectives 1 and Vezina Alternative Schools.

After the successful public showcase on April 5th, 2014, hosted by the Canadian Centre for Architecture, DAREarts was invited by Montreal’s only multilingual community Radio Centre-Ville, 102.3FM station to talk about the youth’s experience. Here is a partial transcript from the show, which aired April 12, 2014.

DAREarts Montreal Radio 3web Taking Risks – DAREarts youth disclose discoveries about themselves: The young people, Vito, Martin, Mimi and Shaila, were interviewed by Stan Asher and Andrea Hazelwood for the Arts Notebook program. At first, the high school students spoke in chopped up sentences, a little unsure, but as they settled in, they got more comfortable about talking about themselves.

DAREarts Montreal Radio 6 webAndrea: I went to your showcase last week and I was very impressed by the work that you’ve done. And thank you very much, Vito, for holding the door for me.  I was very impressed by that.  Very gentle-manly. I appreciate that. What did you like best about the week?  It was very intensive, I understand.

Mimi:       What I enjoyed the most was making new friends and discovering more about myself. I’m not so scared of taking chances anymore. So I take risks and stuff. Like coming on the radio and speaking today.

Stan:         Why is that so risky? I do it every week. (They all laugh, and the kids relax.)

Vito:         My favourite part was creating a self-portrait of me. 

Martin:DAREarts     My favourite part has to be looking at all the art at the museum. They were very intricate, seeing all the personalities – how the art was displayed, how intriguing it was.  It popped out.

Mimi:       I like the Museum of Fine Arts. Because they had the artefacts from Picasso.

Andrea: Oh, you like Picasso!  Is there a particular style that you liked? A particular period?

Mimi:       Actually, I liked the cubist one.

Stan:         That’s interesting, I never met anybody who looks like any of the people in Picasso’s paintings. (All laugh)

Silvain webSarah:       When we were at the McCord Museum, we had this wonderful artist working with us. Sylvain Rivard, and he shared a lot with us about the difference between the way the media portrays the “Natives”, so to speak, and the actual rhythms he showed us on the drum and some dances and taught us a lot about the culture. That was a real gift for us.

Martin:     You know how in Hollywood they display Native American Indians, like people that like do all this weird stuff? That’s fake. So it was very interesting to meet Sylvain, it was really interesting to hear what was real and seeing all the interesting clothes they wore, and doing the dances and learning about his culture.

Andrea asked them what they liked most about DAREarts.

Vito:         One of the things that I found interesting about DAREarts is that no other group up to now has put teamwork as an emphasis – for example Martin aided my art design and it helped our group a lot more. It bonded our circle more than it would have without any form of teamwork. DAREarts

Martin:     I really don’t know how to describe it. I teamed up with Vito, and so, we kind of built a friendship together. I really like DAREarts, because –  it’s really ingenious how they put two schools together to interact.

Vito:         And I found it interesting to work with Martin. He had many interesting ideas that we spoke about, that we created this form of art and we collaborated.

Shaila:      I worked with Mimi. We are very similar in many ways, but she likes drawing and I like painting so when it came up – she showed me how to do the different styles of things.

When asked about what kind of risks they took when they were in the program, they talked about how shy they were when they started. beats

Vito:         I took a risk when we were on stage.  But when I was with DAREarts and the group I wasn’t nervous. I was fairly excited.

DERA-arts MontréalShaila:      My biggest risk was…well for one, I met a lot of people which I was very happy about, because there’s a lot of cool people that I met in the other school. Probably the risk was working outside my comfort zone; so when I draw I like to perfect my stuff – I try, I don’t usually do but I try.  We had to make a cardboard sculpture, and what I learned was that art doesn’t have to be beautiful, because the theme was really to make something hideous. And so I found that for once, just being able to let go and just make anything out of cardboard and crayons was pretty fun.

DERA-arts Montréal
Stan:  Well you’re all relaxed here, which I commend, very much. What is DAREarts to you?

Martin: DAREarts is discipline, Vito: DAREarts is Action, Shaila: DAREarts is Responsibility, Mimi: DAREarts is Excellence.

All:            DAREarts is us.

DAREarts Montreal Radio 2 web

Click image for entire interview

Photos by Frederic Chais for DAREarts. The DAREarts Montreal artists-educators were:musician and Hip-Hop artist, Butta Beats;videographer, Elijah Baker; artist, Margot Klingender;Oscar winning film producer Frederic Bohbot; dancer Marc Pronovost; and Aboriginal musician, writer and broadcaster, Sylvain Rivard. The teaching team was: Laura MacKinnon, DAREarts Lead Teacher who is a past artist-educator for Learning through the Arts, the National Ballet, Danceworks and the Canadian Opera Company;  Marie-Helene Lemaire, a Montreal based experienced museum educator in contemporary art, Emily Rose Michaud, an artist, performer and community teacher-organizer bridging art and ecology;and Stephen Legari, Montreal based art therapist and art facilitator working in secondary school, addiction recovery, private practice and arts-based community work.  Alex Leonard-Coloccia, aMontreal secondary student and musician, photographer assisted the team as Student Apprentice. With lead sponsorship fromNorthbridge Insurance, DAREarts is working in partnership withThe Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, The McCord Museum, The Canadian Centre of Architecture, DHC-ART and Tangente asEducation Partners.   Each of these Montreal institutions generously provided space for the youth to explore their creativity as well as innovative educational tours with their educational staff working closely with the DAREarts teaching team and artists. If you would like to donate towards our Montreal program, visit our DONATE page or click the button on the sidebar.