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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