Photo by Andrew
by James Stairs
The Dans la rue multimedia project began in 2001 when part-time professor
Israel Dupuis approached the organization with the idea of matching his
third-year design students with students from the school. The idea was
to show that artists can contribute to their communities and see a real
impact emerge from their efforts.
This year, 12 Dans la rue students came to Concordia once a week. They
received help with their projects from five design students in the form
of creative and technical support. The atmosphere was informal, as students
could direct their own art pieces.
We never talk for more than five minutes. Its really up to
them to decide how they want to proceed, Dupuis said.
He gives credit to a strong commitment by Dans la rue, Concordia and
the CSDM for the success of the project. Every week we see something
new. The creations are extraordinary. These kids have real stories to
Marlene Breton, 21, is a student at the Dans la rue school who had two
pieces on display at the exhibition. Breton is in her second year of the
program and enthusiastically praised the approach of the project. This
program has given me confidence and experience, she said. She hopes
to attend Concordia one day.
These kids have an amazing amount of talent, Johns said as
he looked at the students work. I am really proud of them.
Johns said the exhibition provides positive exposure to the services
Dans la rue provides. A lot of the work we do is intangible. We
cant really measure how many kids have stopped using drugs [as a
result of the outreach programs]. This exhibition allows us to show people
just what our squeegee kids are able to do.
Yvan Blanchard, a director with the CSDM, is responsible for the Dans
la rue school. He sees the exhibition as a validation of the school boards
commitment to alternative methods of education, and said it opens the
door to more co-operative efforts between community groups and the board.
Marianne Thibodeau teaches at Dans la rue and described the project as
one of the most important at the school. She could see how it boosts the
students self-esteem. The main goal of our school is to integrate
these kids into the regular world, and this project has been a real help
in achieving this target.
For more information about Dans la rue, visit their Web site at www.danslarue.com.