Montrealers can hone their painting skills, take part in arts and crafts activities and meet members of their community thanks to Montreal Art Hives. These community art studios provide space and materials to create art for free or with a donate-what-you-can contribution. Some are permanent fixtures, like Concordia University’s Art Hive, and some are pop-ups that appear in libraries and other community institutions.
According to Montreal Art Hives Administration Assistant Monica Escobar, the goal is to build communities by making art. She says that the studios welcome people from any economic or social background, any age, and skill level, including families with young children. The idea is that anyone can come in and use the materials to create whatever they like. Some of the centres offer workshops in painting and drawing, cooking, sewing, poetry and music.
There are more than 30 Art Hives in and around Montreal. Le Milieu, for example, located in the Gay Village, is open five days a week from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and offers occasional workshops in the evenings.
Concordia’s studio is open to the public on Mondays and Thursdays, while the city’s very first Art Hive in St. Henri is open all week and offers various group activities. There is even a pop-up Art Hive every second Thursday at the MUHC that offers art therapy to oncology patients.
The first such centre was created in Albuquerque in 2000 by Dr. Janis Timm-Bottos, who is now an associate professor at Concordia University. She initially created the project to support struggling local artists and the homeless by providing space and materials in the community for free where they could produce and sell their art. That first Art Hive eventually grew into a place in the community that fostered skill-sharing and networking. Timm-Bottos brought the idea to Montreal in 2011, when the city’s first Art Hive was created in St. Henri.
To find the nearest one to you or for more information, visit arthives.org.