Outdoor art appreciation in the Quartier des Spectacles

June 15, 2020

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June is here, and it’s our good fortune that our city’s gradual reopening comes complete with fine summer weather. It’s a great time to stretch your legs, inhale the aroma of the season’s flowers and rediscover the Quartier’s many charms. Here are some themed art walks to inspire you.

Discovering street art in the Quartier

For years, festivals like MURAL and Under Pressure have given us a wealth of stunning designs and dazzling colours to admire. Those events aside, the Quartier is full of gorgeous street art.

You’ll find some excellent examples by taking a walk through the vast grounds of Les Habitations Jeanne-Mance. The housing project, started by the city in 1958, is home to almost one in ten Quartier residents. MU, the well-known organization that supports and promotes mural artists and their works, including a number of famous ones, is particularly prominent here. Among the eight murals adorning the walls in this part of the Quartier are several painted by the artistic team of David Guinn and Phillip Adams.

Portrait sonore is a free mobile app that offers visitors a fun and educational sensory experience. It’s a work of art in its own right: its 30 audio clips, totalling two hours, narrate three distinct walks: a literary jaunt along Savoie Ave., a creativity walk on Saint-Denis St., and an urban nature walk through Les Habitations Jeanne-Mance. More than 25 artists and experts, including Joséphine Bacon and Dany Laferrière, participated in the project, which features music by local composers Ken Lo, Simon Tremblay and Sasha Ratcliffe.

Explore visual art

Visual art is a core part of the Quartier’s DNA, and it’s at its very best after dark, when more than 30 public places and cultural sites light up brilliantly.

You aren’t dreaming: the walls of the Grande Bibliothèque, the buildings outside Saint-Laurent metro station and UQAM’s Pavillon Président-Kennedy are alive with colourful and highly entertaining architectural projections. EN FORME! is a gleeful tribute to summer pleasures by local creative studio CHAMPAGNE CLUB SANDWICH. Its lively scenes are populated with angular characters, and it appeals to our leisure-time cravings by pushing back the boundaries of city life.

Les messagers de l’espoir, an initiative of MAPP_MTL and in collaboration with Les couleurs essentielles and Arrondissement de Ville-Marie, centre-ville is a group work that strives to salve the prevailing gloom. COVID-19 has upended many lives, and is still doing so. This project’s initiators invite everyone to look inward and show their solidarity and gratitude toward essential workers by writing a message of hope. The messages – still or animated; by artists, celebrities or citizens – will be projected on Montreal walls on weekends with a bicycle-mounted projector.

Appreciating public art

The Quartier des Spectacles is most famous for its festivals, but it’s also a hotbed of visual creativity, brimming with beautiful public art. Still, you have to pay attention to fully appreciate the many pieces on display.

The Art public Montréal walk shows you 12 works in 50 minutes, between Place-des-Arts metro station and the George-Émile-Lapalme cultural space. From Histoire de la musique à Montréal by Frédéric Back – the first public artwork installed in the metro system, in 1967 – to the sculpture Où boivent les loups by Stephen Schofield, amateurs and aficionados will enjoy more than half a century of inspiring public art.

Did you know?

Geneviève Cadieux’s famous La Voie Lactée, located on the roof of the Musée d’Art Contemporain since 1992, can also be seen in the Paris metro! There’s a copy in Saint-Lazare station, at the north end of the tunnel connecting lines 14 and 9.