We are a collective of determined, ambitious and talented artists who face the day to day challenge of how to make our art visible to YOU - the public.
In an effort to achieve this, and, to ensure our cultural existence within the walls of the Grover building, in 2009, we created an exclusive 4-day gala event which we christened La virée des ateliers (loosely translated as the Open Studio Spree). In effect, we, the original members of this collective, simply opened our studio doors and offered the public a privileged behind-the-scenes glimpse into the atelier work-world of the artist, not to mention an opportune occasion to purchase a one-of-a-kind masterpiece, be it a stunning painting, a hand-glazed bowl, or an entire wardrobe complete with designer accessories. Hence, La virée des ateliers was born! What better way to regenerate life into an old building than to return it to community and culture.
From its' grass roots beginnings of 20 member participants, resolutely working on a volunteer basis employing out-of-pocket funds, La virée des ateliers built upon its' membership and forged new partnerships to grow into a professional organisation, now encompassing the neighbouring buildings of Chat des artistes and Lézard. Due to the outstanding success of this impressive event ( year 2014 received 10,000 visitors alone), and the keen interest of the public, this year we are pleased to present a total of #_ artists identified within the three categories of Visual Arts, Handcrafts and Fashion designers..
Where are we located?
The 4-story Grover building is a former textile manufacture that closed its doors in 1993, only to realize that its new potential was in the cultural sector - artist's studios and organizations. The Grover building is located on Parthenais street in east downtown's cultural mecca, between the Grande Bibliothèque and the Maison de la Culture Frontenac. It is the largest, most centrally located artist studio venue east of the Belgo building. Since 1994, the 200,000 sq.ft. high-ceilinged, solid-floored industrial textile mill that originally manufactured underwear and women's high fashion machine knit clothing, has proved a perfect structure for more than 200 artist's studios. Just a few steps up the street is Chat des artistes, a 30,000-sq. ft. building, inaugurated in 2008, housing 43 studios on 3 levels. Lezard, formerly a safety pin manufacture, occupies an adjacent building. Artists and cultural organizations now constitute the largest percentage of renters within the walls of these former mills.
In keeping with the face-lift plans for Sainte-Marie/ Saint-Jacques, and the Ville-Marie district's new Faubourg's Creative Hub, established in 2009, the Grover artists plan to play an important role in keeping culture alive and accessible to the growing influx of new tenants to the east downtown core.
This is an occasion linking economy and culture, and contributes significantly to Montreal's vibrant city centre. La virée des ateliers is a means of boosting economic development that will stimulate favourable conditions for generating future projects.
Benefiting all parties, La virée des ateliers provides a source of cultural contact for the public - and exposure, promotion and commerce for the artistic creators.
So what does La virée des ateliers offer... we offer a welcoming ambience with:
A rare opportunity to enter working studios
A chance to meet and visit with artists directly
Exposure to the diversity within our cultural milieu: emerging artists, full career professional artists and artisans
4 days to globe-trot through each building
The corridors are lined with ateliers of hand blown glass, award winning jewellery, high fashion designer wear, state of the art photography, handcrafted ceramic ware, and contemporary painting and sculpture. Enjoy local live music, artists' demonstrations and installation – Take a piece of La virée home with you!
Public commentary 'There is a beautiful diversity in the presentation of artists' works and we feel the energy of each artist!' visitor, interior designer Suzanne Potel