Montreal, March 21, 2019 – The organization MU has won the 34th Grand Prix of the Conseil des arts de Montréal as well as the accompanying $30,000 cash award. The jury prize, offered by the Desjardins Caisse de la Culture, was presented to ZH Festival.
800 personalities from the arts scene, the municipal sector and the business community attended the Grand Prix luncheon. The event was hosted by Christian Bégin from Télé-Québec, which for the first time this year joined the Conseil as a partner of the Grand Prix.
MU wins 34th Grand Prix
In selecting this year’s winner, the jury wanted to recognize the importance of MU’s murals, which over the years have become a signature for Montreal. MU creates a wide diversity of outstanding murals, making Montreal into a true open-air art museum. Produced in 2018, the murals depicting Daisy Peterson Sweeney and Alanis Obomsawin pay homage to notable figures in the community. The jury also acknowledged the contribution of women in the organization, as well as MU’s fieldwork and social inclusion work. Through its conversations with the communities involved, MU has revived a sense of pride and belonging in Montreal neighbourhoods while at the same time helping to revitalize the urban landscape. Its collaboration with the business community and municipalities was also a factor in the selection.
It was during a stay in Philadelphia that MU’s two co-founders, Elizabeth-Ann Doyle and Emmanuelle Hébert, gained an appreciation of the scope and impact of mural paintings. They knew that Montreal was ideally suited for such a project. MU’s mission is to beautify Montreal by creating murals that are anchored in local communities. At the heart of its approach: the desire to see and experience art on a daily basis and to trigger a social transformation. By putting the democratization of art at the top of its priorities, MU epitomizes the desire to take back public spaces through the use of art.
ZH Festival wins the jury prize offered by the Desjardins Caisse de la culture
Partnering with the Grand Prix for the second time, Marie-Christine Cojocaru, General Manager of the Caisse de la Culture, presented this year’s jury prize to ZH Festival. The organization also received a $15,000 cash award. The jury was won over by this dynamic organization with strong roots in its borough, Mercier-Hochelaga-Maisonneuve. ZH Festival, launched by emerging artists, now organizes a festival featuring previews of a variety of artistic works. With a focus on openness and accessibility, embracing all artistic practices, generations and countries – through a pioneering collaboration with the Festival Quatre Chemins in Port-au-Prince, Haiti – ZH Festival has been able to deliver a fantastic platform bolstered by risk-taking. The jury also saluted the work of its founder, executive and artistic director Mellissa Larivière.
This year’s finalists also included Black Theatre Workshop, Cinéma Moderne, Concours musical international de Montréal (CMIM), Diversity District, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer presented by the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal and RUBBERBAND, who all made a significant mark in 2018.
A Grand Prix rich in collaborations
In attendance as Jan-Fryderyk Pleszczynski, Chair of the Conseil des arts de Montréal, announced the winners were Valérie Plante, Mayor of Montreal, and Nathalie Maillé, Executive Director of the Conseil des arts de Montréal.
The jury for the 34th Grand Prix, chaired by Jan-Fryderyk Pleszczynski, included Caroline Monnet, multidisciplinary artist, Selena Lu, lawyer with Lapointe Rosenstein Marchand Melançon and president of the Jeune Chambre de commerce de Montréal, Rhodnie Désir, choreographer and artistic director of RD Créations, creator and executive producer of the BOW’T TRAIL project and president of MAI (Montréal, arts interculturels), as well as Annie Roy, co-founder and executive and artistic director of ATSA, When Art Takes Action, which won the jury prize offered by the Caisse de la culture in 2018.
The jury gave careful consideration to the accomplishments of the eight finalists, who all received a $5,000 cash prize made possible by ten generous Montreal donors: Luc Plamondon, Jean-Louis Roy, Bombardier, Gestion Immobilière Quo Vadis Inc., La Coop fédérée, NATIONAL Public Relations, Power Corporation of Canada, Québecor, Telus and Tourisme Montréal.
Artwork presented to the Orchestre Métropolitain, winner of the 2017 Grand Prix
The Orchestre Métropolitain was presented with a work entitled Nuit d’été, le rayon tremblant by Montreal artist Yann Pocreau. This year’s Grand Prix winner will receive a work to be created in the coming year, which will be presented to MU at the 35th Grand Prix luncheon in 2020.
The Grand Prix du Conseil des arts de Montréal
Every year since 1985, the Conseil’s Grand Prix recognizes the artistic vitality and excellence of a Montreal-based arts organization. Past winners of the grand prize include the Orchestre Métropolitain, Louise Lecavalier and Fou glorieux, and Cirque du Soleil. Created in 1956, the Conseil des arts is proud to play an influential role in making Montreal an internationally recognized cultural metropolis.