Alleyway or art gallery?

Art-Extension to launch open-air art exhibit

A piece by the collective’s youngest artist Maïna Gouanvic, 19 years old, on Durocher just south of Ball. Photo: Art Extension

The streets and alleyways of Parc-Extension will transform into an open-air art exhibit this weekend, as local collective Art Extension is set to launch their newest outdoor art installation on Saturday.

Art-Extension has been working with local building owners and tenants across the neighbourhood to paint and print art onto old disused satellite dishes.

Some residents may have already noticed the art pieces adorning buildings across the neighbourhood as the group has been installing them over the past few months. The group will be officially inaugurating the exhibit this Saturday at 1 PM a Lèstre Park. 

The group, headed by Jon Cohen and Lisa Baum, will be offering a walking tour around the neighbourhood to visit some of the retrofitted satellites. They will also be unveiling the accompanying website, which features a virtual map showcasing the works of art, the artists behind them and where they are located.

Canvases everywhere

Jon Cohen and Lisa Baum are the people behind the art project which reaches out to local artists and finances them to put up their art on buildings with visible satellite dishes. 

“The idea came to us during the pandemic when we didn’t have access to galleries and indoor spaces—noticing all of these disused satellite dishes in the neighbourhood made me realize that there are canvases everywhere, and our streets are viable art galleries for the talented visual artists who just want a place to exhibit their work,” said Cohen.

Funded by the Conseil des Arts de Montréal through a $25,000 grant, the project aims to make art more accessible to people and to embellish the streets of the neighbourhood at the same time.

Featuring over 30 local and non-local artists, the public will be able to explore and discover the art installations by using an interactive virtual map.

“I find it inspiring to see public art,” 

Inspired by Parc-Ex

Parc-Extension resident Camille Zurini is a ceramist, photographer and visual artist by trade and participated in the Art-Extension project by working on two satellite dishes included in the exhibition. 

Although she has painted in the past and continues to for certain projects, she prefers to work with image transfer processes in her artistic work. “I use photos that I like and then I make Xerox photocopies,” said Zurini, explaining that she then adheres and layers these images onto her canvas to create her work.

“What I like about working on my canvases is that there will be imperfections,” added the artist, explaining that “when I decompose the paper, by putting too much water or rubbing too hard, it will also decompose the medium.”

One of her pieces for Art Extension is based on the fountain at Jarry Park, of which she took a photo and then layered the images onto a disused satellite dish. “I’m inspired by nature and architecture,” explained Zurini, adding that she felt it was important to be inspired and bring out the beauty of Parc-Ex. 

Parc-Extension resident Camille Zurini is a ceramist, photographer and visual artist. Photo: Camille Zurini

Bringing art to everyone

Zurini is an artist by trade and makes her living by making and selling her works of art. She nonetheless saw the importance and democratizing nature of Art Extension’s project by bringing art to anyone for free and making it available to people simply walking by on the street. 

“I find it inspiring to see public art,” said Zurini, reminding people that “it brings even more colour and diversity to an area which already has a lot.” She felt it was important to get art and culture into the hands of people who wouldn’t usually feel inclined to. 

“It works on the creativity of people who may not be of that nature. People who will think differently or not go to the museum on their own, but who will appreciate these things without even knowing it,” she explained.

Les antennes de Parc-Ex launch

Organizers and artists alike will be gathering in Park Lèstre on Saturday, Sept. 25 at 1 PM to celebrate the official launch of the group’s exhibition. The free activity, open to all, will include a guided tour of the satellite dishes across the neighbourhood.

There will also be live music, dish painting and activities for kids. Although the event is open to anyone who wants to attend, organizers will limit the capacity to 50 people as per public health guidelines. 

The event will take place at the corner of Ball and Bloomfield and run from 1 PM to 4 PM. 

A satellite art piece by Camille Zurini, representing the fountain at Jarry Park. Photo: Camille Zurini