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Projet CASA | Great Art Space in Mount Royal Mansion Turns 3

Projet CASA | Great Art Space in Mount Royal Mansion Turns 3

Projet Casa
The Projet Casa space celebrates its third year in support of the visual arts and is thinking big for 2023

At the end of 2019, Danielle Lysaught and Paul Hamelin became owners of a mansion facing Mount Royal. The impressive white house, built in 1912, was used as a small hospital from 1963 to 1979 and finally as Casa Bianca, a bed & breakfast for tourists. The two new home owners quickly realized that the spacious ground floor spaces of the house would lend themselves well to hosting guests or exhibitions.

Projet Casa
Projet Casa (2021) | Photo Mike Patten

This is how Projet Casa was born, an intimate exhibition space that quickly gained an enviable reputation among the venues for the presentation of contemporary art in Montreal.

Projet Casa
Andrew Rutherdale, Physarum Cross (2022) | Photo Mike Patten

As Danielle Lysaught, co-founder and artistic director of Projet Casa, was happy to tell us: “For us, a philanthropic gesture can take many forms. Contemporary art is one of our interests and we are involved on many levels in support of this environment. We were looking for another way to make a meaningful contribution to the ecosystem.”

Projet Casa
Hua Jin, Golden Cloud (2020); Circle (2020); Sun Glare (2020) | Photo Hua Jin

“Following the acquisition of Casa Bianca, the idea came to us to host artistic events on the ground floor of the house. Following the first confinement during winter 2020, our friend, curator Florence-Agathe Dubé-Moreau, suggested that we invite exhibitions that could not get presented elsewhere. This is how the Projet Casa adventure began. We then continued the adventure with original exhibitions.”

Projet Casa
Hua Jin, Birds (2020); Circle (2020); Sun Glare (2020) | Photo Hua Jin

Between July 2020 and January 2023, Projet Casa has multiplied the opportunities for artists to meet with the public, collectors and various stakeholders. There were many collaborations: the space hosted 24 exhibitions, 32 curators and 144 artists.

Projet Casa
Claude Bourque, Grand Héron (2021); Spermwhale Mandibule (2015) | Photo Mike Patten

Almost 10,000 visitors passed through the doors of Projet Casa. Funds that were raised through the sale of art works were donated directly to the artists.

Projet CASA
Stéphanie Morissette, Vautour hybride (2017); Sébastien Maltais, Partie de chasse/ l’explorateur (2021); Partie de chasse/ l’hermite (2021); Stéphanie Morissette, Volière-mutation (2017-2021) | Photo Mike Patten

Projet Casa enters its third year of existence with renewed confidence and daring. We are continuing our mission to welcome the practices of artists at the start of their careers, not represented in galleries, or engaged in new projects. I am particularly pleased to have given Montrealers access to the magnificent rooms of Casa Bianca. Our program already has around ten exhibitions planned for next year,” underlined Paul Hamelin, co-founder of Projet Casa.

Projet Casa
Julie Favreau, Holding Rays (2017) | Photo Alignements

The model is very simple. Danielle and Paul lend their spaces to artists and curators in exchange for minimal royalties covering production costs. In return, the latter undertake to be on site to welcome visitors from Thursday to Sunday.

Projet Casa
Julie Favreau, Monday (2018) | Photo Alignements

As Danielle explained to us: “Our desire is to create this direct and continuous contact between artists and the public. The artists ensure an on site presence and a dialogue with visitors throughout the entire exhibition period. It is unprecedented in the visual arts community to enjoy such close proximity to creators.”

Projet Casa
Heidi Barkun, True Extracts (2022) | Photo Mike Patten

“Sharing our house with artists, art lovers and other partners in the community has been a source of great satisfaction and pleasure for us.”

Projet Casa
Collectif, L’abri-désir (2021) | Photo Dave Sidaway

Here is what you need to know about Projet CASA

Location: 4351 Avenue de l’Esplanade Montreal, QC, Canada H2W1T2

Opening Hours
Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday: Closed
Thursday and Friday: Noon to 7 PM
Saturday and Sunday: Noon to 5 PM

Instagram: @projet_casa

Projet Casa is an initiative of contemporary visual art lovers Danielle Lysaught and Paul Hamelin. In November 2019, they acquired a mansion –built on Avenue de l’Esplanade in 1912 for the merchant Raoul-Aza Girard– and made the choice to dedicate the rooms on the ground floor to a cultural vocation by inviting exhibitions and others artistic events. The objective is to promote an intimate and friendly encounter with current works and artists while taking advantage of the warm nature of the space. The Projet Casa calendar is a series of short-term events (less than a month) and focuses on current issues and problems facing society.

Projet CASA
Le couple de mécène: Paul Hamelin et Danielle Lysaugh | Photo Martine Doyon

Featured image: Stéphanie Morissette, Volière-mutation (2017-2021); Claude Bourque, Vague (2020); Stéphanie Morissette, Vautour hybride (2017) | Photo Mike Patten

NEXT: Women in Governance | Women’s Day Cocktail @ The Ritz-Carlton

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