Isabelle and Patsy dream in color. But that’s not enough. Their dreams have shapes, textures, and vivid ambitions! Furthermore, dreaming is far from enough for them, they act accordingly. With Passeurs* de rêves, they take along students, teachers and other artists as well.

« It all started in 2011, explains Isabelle Tanguay, project manager at Culture pour tous. We created an individualized cultural mentoring program for students that were specially demotivated. Through this project, each student chosen by their school is teamed up with a mentor. They meet 6 times. The kids visit the artist’s studio, watch them work etc. Three years ago, we decided to provide a much larger number of teenagers an opportunity to live a similar experience. »

Passeurs de rêves is set on cultivating a sense of belonging and encouraging perseverance in school with high school students by giving them a chance to create a work of art with a professional artist. Today, the program is not only offered throughout Montreal but also in six different areas of Quebec and it includes some 30 workshops in various forms of the visual and performance arts.

Among those, we met with Patsy Van Roost who pilots Fleurs de Macadam. Through her we get a sense of the dedication of all involved. For this project in particular: « Each student chooses a symbol to represent them. Then they design and make a stencil. In doing this, they learn new skills but they also develop refined abilities. As they do so, they bond, helping one another. Finally, their work takes on a new dimension, an expanded meaning as each symbol becomes part of a huge fresco! » tells the artist with much enthusiasm.

« It’s not easy to get to work in the schools. This program allows us to create a relationship with those kids, » she says clearly happy to share her knowledge and work with teenagers.

Passeurs evolves constantly. Its managing team attends each final meeting between artist and students. « This way we can adjust our aim, fine tune our process, see where and what else we can do better », specifies Isabelle. She, Pasty, and the teachers all have touching stories to tell about the positive impact of their experience. The most telling sign remains the fact that they all enroll in the program year after year.

« We want to create magic everywhere! We want to inspire, » concludes the project manager.  With those passeurs, the Culture pour tous team, artists, teachers and students dream always bigger dreams of broadening horizons and nurturing the aspirations of the next generation.

IN THE WORDS OF KATE KENDALL, TEACHER AT ÉCOLE SAINT-LUC IN N.D.G.

Fleurs de Macadam at Dalbé-Viau high school. To learn more visit www.culturepourtous.ca

« I’ve had the privilege of doing so for two years and welcoming artists from Le Théâtre de la Pire Espèce – specialized in ‘object theater’ and ‘shadow theater’.

They come for 3 classes and with the kids they put together a sort of short story. At the end, they add a piece of music that transforms the sequence completely and the students perform it in front of their peers.

Kids get to see artists making a living with their art. They see it’s serious, it’s professional and it involves great discipline. This special contact with them broadens the students horizons. For instance, they learn how to present themselves in front of an audience and they realize it’s a privilege to be there, to earn the audience’s attention. Others light up through the symbolism of objects and even use it in other classes. It has a ripple effect all year long. »

* In French the term Passeurs refers to someone who helps you to cross a border.