COVIDArtQc, the first stage of a mural trail in Lac-Mégantic

COVIDArtQc, the first stage of a mural trail in Lac-Mégantic

After its tour of 48 monumental sculptures, including this Baladin, Lac-Mégantic could see the birth over the next few years of a tour of exterior murals, according to the vision of the Arts, Culture and Heritage Commission.

Share September 29, 2020 5:12 p.m. Share COVIDArtQc, the first stage of a mural trail in Lac-MéganticCOVIDArtQc, the first stage of a mural trail in Lac-Mégantic

Jacynthe Nadeau La Tribune The COVIDArtQc mural that the community of Lac-Mégantic will see appear in October, on the fire station, will be the first of a set of murals that the Commission des arts, de la culture et du patrimoine wishes to install in 2021 -2022.

The Arts Commission (CACP) began to think about this when the call for proposals from the Chief Scientist of Quebec arrived last June and saw it as an opportunity to take a first step.

“We can say that it was a quick first step, almost a jump, because we prepared the project in July. The office of the chief scientist gave a response on August 15 and we were among the nine [cities] recipients, ”says André Samson, of the CACP.

This COVIDArtQc mural will be the flagship activity of the Journées de la culture in Lac-Mégantic. From October 1 to 25, residents will be able to attend the performance of Sherbrooke muralist Nicolas Lareau from time to time. Given the cool weather at this time of year, the 37 square meter (400 square feet, or 10 by 40 feet) artwork will be carried out inside the building adjoining the Youth Space (a skatepark currently in operation. construction site) to then be installed on the wall of the barracks which overlooks the marina.

The activity is funded by the Quebec Research Fund. Lac-Mégantic is the only city in Estrie to participate in the activity.

Youth murals

The work in gestation will bridge the gap between the pandemic and the Cittaslow values to which the city of Lac-Mégantic adheres since 2017. It will be inspired by the work of Dr. Kim Lavoie, researcher in behavioral medicine, who is conducting a study on the effects of the pandemic on the behavior of the world population.

The CACP also had the idea of pairing the activity with the creation of a smaller mural (just under five square meters) by a small group of students from Polyvalente Montignac.

“We are going to allow a few young people to create a mural, with advice from Nicolas Lareau, to take advantage of their time here and perhaps create in them an interest, even aptitudes for the visual arts”, explains Mr. Samson. .

The youth mural will be produced during the weekend of October 17 and 18, in collaboration with visual artist Rachel Robin, and will eventually be installed in the Youth Space, potentially becoming the second work of the future route.

André Samson is very proud of the links created by this project between science and art, between the pandemic and the rail disaster, between young people and the community.

“The office of the chief scientist wishes to give a lot of visibility to COVIDArtQc and, for me, it awakened somewhat the same feelings that we had at the end of 2013”, he explains.

“Something catastrophic just happened. There is a pandemic. It's not the same thing, but it also affects our mood or our morale. With the people from the Arts Commission, we said to ourselves, when we experienced the tragedy, that it didn't look like the following summer, there was only a black hole in this place. This is where we mobilized. There was the boardwalk that became the Wind Walk, then a first sculpture symposium that we doubled the following year. It is the reaction of a community to say not that art is better than anything, but that art can often act faster. To say that we are making a gesture. Let us illustrate the life that pushes to move forward. “

COVIDArtQc, the first stage of a mural trail in Lac-Mégantic

Artist Nicolas Lareau created the Parcours ton quartier mural this summer in the Ascot sector of Sherbrooke. Photo provided, Michelle Boulay


Wall art, social art

Having a marked interest in social art, Nicolas Lareau had already had discussions with the City of Lac-Mégantic following the 2013 rail disaster. The stars were not aligned at the time, but the scientist's call in leader of Quebec has, it seems, changed their configuration.

“I have family at Lac Mégantic. I know the area a bit and when I went there I saw that there was a lot of potential for murals. I had set up a project, but I think the timing was bad at that time, ”he says.

Nicolas Lareau's ideas and energy had sufficiently marked the CACP, however, that he was called upon four years later for the COVIDArtQc project. The discussion resumed, there was an exchange of documentation on the desired concept and a creative meeting last month with Kim Lavoie and Rachel Robin.

“With the pandemic, it is a completely different mechanism that we must adopt, puts Nicolas Lareau in perspective. Being close together while being distant. We have to create proximity otherwise. And without contacts or human warmth, it's difficult. “

On the eve of packing his bags for his stay in Lac-Mégantic, the artist had just printed his final sketch when La Tribune joined it, but no question of revealing its content.

“It's very theoretical, a sketch,” he explains. There are things that can change along the way. A mural is so big that the relationship between the sketch and the mural is an incredibly different scale. It changes the perspective. But 99.9 percent of the ideas and elements that are incorporated into the sketch end up on the mural. “

Put on some beauty

Nicolas Lareau welcomes the dialogue that will be established with the citizens of Lac-Mégantic during the Journées de la culture, and particularly with young people, since it is a clientele to whom he is very committed. recent years in the region, but also in Africa, Brazil and France, to bring beauty to less privileged neighborhoods and allow young people to express themselves differently.

For COVIDArtQc, he leaves with the idea of the pleasure he will have in discussing his art and our ways of living with COVID. He is also delighted with the influence that the chief scientist of Quebec promises to give to the nine murals that will be created across the province.

“It's a great motivation, he said, it's going to be cool! “

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