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Wednesday, August 3, 2011


June 3rd 2011, a boutique, two exhibitions and a bridge between Wellington Center and the Verdun Community

by Christian Ducasse, revision of French text by Emilie Roy. Translation by Valérie Fauteux

In October 2010, I was invited to sit on the «committee for change» at Wellington Center. From the beginning, I did research on the committee’s history. Our director, Barry Crago, answered my questions and gave me information so that I had an accurate impression of this group. I also consulted some Internet websites, such as the «Yale Program for Recovery and Community Health » and the « Parachute Factory », an art gallery in New Haven, where Yale is located.

In 2009, Barry Crago and Sonia Coté did some reflexion on recovery and programs at Wellington Center. With the assistance of the Douglas Institute, this pair formed a work committee and invited David Stainer to offer them training using the Yale model. The latter came to Montreal to explain the philosophy behind PRCH, the Yale Program for Recovery and Community Health. Some things worth mentioning came out of this visit. To begin with, the work committee composed of our director, staff and users of the center wrote a chart representing Wellington’s values expressed as a mission statement.

Thus, the Change Leadership Committee was officially created. The committee is made up of our director, Barry, staff members and users of the center. Les Impatients now has a working relationship with our center. A decision was made to improve the interior of the building . On the ground floor, Espace 107, the mezzanine, and the boutique have been revamped.

Next, Mr. Crago decided to set up a bridge between the users and workers of Wellington Center and some local organizations. As a result, Pierre Demers of the Verdun CLSC and Nicole Lahaie of the Lasalle CLSC joined the Change Leadership Committee and became active members in our institution. Nicole Gay contacted some local community resources. These initiatives led to partnerships between FACV; ‘‘Fenetre Arts and Culture Verdun’’, ‘‘Empreinte d’artistes’’ and our establishment. Circuit Arts et Culture, edition 2011 is the end result of the above networking.

Next, our boutique changed its sales methods. From now on, the boutique’s creations will be sold on consignment. In this way, part of the profit will go to Wellington Centre and part to the artists. ‘‘Les Impatients’’ and ‘‘L’Atelier du Centre Ville’’ are now partners of our Centre on the commercial level.

Going back to New Heaven, in 2008, David Stainer organisation, the PRCH with the Community Services Network of New Haven, an umbrella group of community services in the New Haven area and also the Arts Council of Greater New Haven make partenership and opened a community center and art gallery nammed The Parachute Factory.
The ultimate goal was to facilitate recovery and integration of people with chronic mental illness into society. Starting in 2008, The Parachute Factory organized several art expositions. These were intended to create a bridge between users of rehabilitation services and the New Haven community.

Return to Wellington center, Action Autonomie and its representatives, Ghislain Goulet and Sylvain Leduc, were next on Wellington Center’s list. This resource enabled us to raise awareness and urge our users to become active and responsible citizens.

Like the New Heaven experience, on the subject of bridging the gap between Verdun and our center, a decision has been made to change Room 107 into Espace 107, now an art gallery open to our members and also to the Southwest community on special occasions.

Don’t forget the opening date: June 3rd 2011. We will be able to compare our Espace 107 to New Haven’s Parachute Factory at long last!

Our centre will be participating actively in “Le Circuit Arts et Culture de Verdun, edition 2011. Corrid’art has made it possible for us to exhibit art on the walls of the center’s ground floor. This will no doubt brings more visitors to our gallery. Laurent de Backer, one of our artists ,will show his paintings at IKRA Health Centre, creating a link to Verdun citizens.

Our boutique has a new look and, as part of the June sidewalk sale, will attract attention with its arts and crafts sale. Pretty, original, useful and at a good price: who could ask for more?

Lastly, our “Impatients” will see their art on exhibit in Espace 107. I was on hand to see Pierre Bellemare’s paintings hung in the art gallery. I found them charming and liked them very much. Someone by the name of Barry C. (he wishes to remain anonymous) says that these paintings will be on sale at a reasonable price to benefit the artists and our establishment.

Thanks and congrats to everyone without exception for the new life they have breathed into our centre. In short, we’ve been re-energized. Long live Verdun’s Wellington Center!

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