Réseau express métropolitain: a major investment in Québec public art
- Permanent works installed along the route
- Innovative agreement with four universities to foster the next generation of artists
- An additional contribution from CDPQ Infra to support local public art
M. Jean-Marc Arbaud, President and Chief Executive Officer of CDPQ Infra, Chantal Rouleau, ministre déléguée aux Transports et ministre responsable de la Métropole et de la région de Montréal, and Annie Gérin, Dean, Faculty of Fine Arts, Concordia University, and, representing the agreement with four Montréal universities, today unveiled an innovative public art program for the Réseau express métropolitain (REM). This public art collection will enhance the experience of REM users, foster the next generation of artists and help build important cultural legacies. CDPQ Infra has also committed to making an additional contribution in support of Québec public art.
The “UniR” program was developed by the curator for the Caisse de dépôt et de placement du Québec, Marie-Justine Snider, who has more than 21 years of experience working in the field of fine arts. The initiative will have three major components:
Component 1 - Permanent works
As part of the Politique d’intégration des arts à l’architecture et à l’environnement des bâtiments et des sites gouvernementaux et publics of the gouvernement du Québec, funding has been earmarked to install approximately 10 works in strategic locations across the REM’s four branches. These works will celebrate the neighbourhoods along the light rail system’s route and will showcase a wide variety of artistic expressions from some of the province’s most outstanding and cutting-edge talent.
Valued at $4,326,171
Component 2 - Temporary works
As part of an innovative agreement with Concordia University, McGill University, Université de Montréal and Université du Québec à Montréal (UQÀM), students will create a new work or art installation each year. Various temporary artworks will be installed along the REM in the Griffintown area, bringing a plurality of voices, views and experiences to the UniR program and, most importantly, encouraging the next generation of artists.
- Valued at $500,000
Component 3 - Additional cultural legacies
In addition to its commitment to respect the Politique d’intégration des arts à l’architecture et à l’environnement des bâtiments et des sites gouvernementaux et publics of the gouvernement du Québec, CDPQ Infra has pledged to make an additional contribution in support of public art. The investment will provide additional cultural legacies that will enhance the collection. This funding will also give support to a sector that has suffered greatly under the current pandemic.
- Valued at $3,000,000
“The announcement of the REM public art program represents another step toward the completion of this new transportation network, which will eventually see more than 170,000 trips per day. With this collection, the REM is building strong symbols of local and international identity while making public art a destination in itself. This program will shine a spotlight on talented Quebecers and help foster the next generation of artists. We hope that our additional contribution will also assist local artists during this particularly difficult period.”
- Jean-Marc Arbaud, President and Chief Executive Officer of CDPQ Infra
"Thanks to the Politique d’intégration des arts à l’architecture et à l’environnement des bâtiments et des sites gouvernementaux et publics of the gouvernement du Québec, more than $4.8 million will be devoted to the REM's public art program, in addition to CDPQ Infra's contribution. This initiative will allow Québec artists to shine, while embellishing the landscape of the city for the citizens. The selected works will undoubtedly enrich the cultural heritage of Montréal and all of Québec, of which we are so proud. "
- Nathalie Roy, ministre de la Culture et des Communications
"The Réseau express métropolitain is the largest public transit project in Québec in the last 50 years. It will not only position Montréal among the great cities of the world with a major automated transportation network, but it will also distinguish itself by offering the population of the metropolitan region privileged access to exceptional artworks, which will make our city and its artists shine, here and elsewhere. "
- Chantal Rouleau, ministre déléguée aux Transports et ministre responsable de la Métropole et de la région de Montréal
“While the REM will help the metropolis prosper and thrive, the REM public art program will foster connections with and among users, offering a diverse and inclusive collective vision and contributing to Québec’s cultural heritage. The REM represents new ways of living and travelling, but also new destinations and meeting points. The collection will enhance users’ experience and provide a lasting legacy for Montrealers.”
- Marie-Justine Snider, Curator for the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec
"The participation of students from four Montréal universities in the REM public art program is an extraordinary opportunity to train and encourage the next generation of public art producers. This exceptional agreement will allow them to mark the passage of the REM through their creativity, and users to discover new perspectives in visual arts, design and architecture."
- Annie Gérin, Dean, Faculty of Fine Arts, Concordia University
An innovative program in partnership with Montréal universities
One of the most innovative aspects of the REM art program is the inclusion of temporary artworks. A new artwork or installation will be put on display each year over a four-year period. The Griffintown area is targeted as the main location for this program. The first student-created temporary work will be installed in 2023.
These temporary works will be produced as part of an inter-university course under an innovative agreement with four major Montréal universities: Concordia University, McGill University, Université de Montréal and Université du Québec à Montréal. The course will be open to students in faculties of fine arts, architecture, film, music and design. The goal is to offer the first course in 2022 and to continue the program until 2026.
This temporary artwork program seeks to provide room for daring and innovative experiments, both in terms of their material and concepts, in order to help future creators hone their skills to participate in major shows, to encourage interdisciplinarity, and, above all, to help nurture the next generation of Québec artists.
The next steps
In 2021, the process of selecting the artists and works will begin. The first artists selected for the South Shore sector will be known early next year (2022). The first works of art will be installed in time for the REM’s commissioning in 2022, on the South Shore section.
About the REM
The Réseau express métropolitain (REM) is a new, 67-km integrated public transit network of 26 stations that will link downtown Montréal, the universities, the South Shore, the West Island, the North Shore and Montréal–Trudeau airport through a fully automated, electric light rail system. Offering high-frequency service, the REM will operate 7 days per week, 20 hours per day, and will be connected to the three main lines of the Montréal metro.
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