Libres comme l’art is a program for creative residencies in collaboration with the school system.
It supports the development of a variety of artistic projects using dance, photography, music, theatre, literature, multimedia, etc. The repeated interactions between artists and primary and high school students in Montreal’s public school system are at the heart of the creative process.
With an annual budget of over $150 000, the program aims provide funding to artistic associations in Montreal so that they may develop creative residence projects that integrate primary and high-school students in Montreal’s public school system. This project thus allows young people to experience a professional artistic process, while the artists enrich their creativity through contact with students.
Through its emphasis on “creative” residences, the program truly stands apart from initiatives that focus on cultural mediation, an area already covered by other outreach workers and other programs.
What is the social value of this project?
-It helps enrich the creative process of professional artists by giving them the unique opportunity to interact with young people and benefit from financial support;
-It allows creating artists to work where young people spend their time, while allowing youth to discover where artists work;
-It allows youth to participate in a several-week project where they interact with professional artists in three ways:
1) Student participation;
2) Exhibiting finished art works;
3) Development of their capacity to appreciate art and critical thought;
-It establishes an effective and efficient link between artistic organizations and the scholastic environment.
With an annual budget of over $150 000, the Libres comme l’art residences program consists of two main components, one for preschool/primary students and another for high-school students. 1) The preschool/primary school program is funded equally by the CAM and the MELS Une école montréalais pour tous program, in the amount of $25 000 annually by each organization. This funding supports 4 artistic organizations in the creation of many artistic projects within the school systems. 2) The high-school program is funded by the CRÉ de Montréal and the CAM, which each invest $50 000 annually to support 7 artistic organizations in the creation of many artistic projects within the school systems. The maximum budget for any given project is $15 000. The amount provided by the organization can be matched with other funds (operations, other partners, etc.); this budget must not necessarily be autonomous. Thus, program costs schools and school boards nothing, except the occasional cost of transporting students to professional creation or exposition spaces. However, the collaboration of the school system and more specifically, of educational counselors in art, is essential. These professionals identify the schools and teachers best able to accommodate the selected projects. The collaboration of school teams (teaching and administrative personnel) is also a keystone of the program since they are the ones opening the doors of their schools and classrooms and plan their classes around the learning opportunities offered to their students by the Libres comme l’art projects.