Art Hives HQ

The Art Hives HQ is located within the Fine Arts Faculty of Concordia University. This living lab acts as a dynamic epicenter where consulting, education, research, co-development and social innovation activities bolster the growth and sustainability of Art Hives worldwide, and the pollination of Public Practice Art Therapy, a term coined by Art Hives founder, Dr. Janis Timm-Bottos.

Where to find us

The Art Hives HQ
Concordia University
Engineering and Visual Arts Integrated Complex
1515 Ste-Catherine West, EV5.779
Montreal, QC
Canada H3G 2W1

What we do

Personalized consulting for projected and existing Art Hives

Our team offers customized consulting services to individuals and organizations who are running an Art Hive or interested in starting one.The first hour is always free.

Contact us to book a session, in person or via videoconference

Art Hives Meet-Ups

The Montreal Art Hives gather monthly to collectively explore and learn from each other about topics that matter to them, for example conflict de-escalation, working with participants of differing abilities, funding and sustainability, communication and outreach strategies, etc.

Find out about upcoming meet-ups

The Art Hives Institute

The Art Hives Institute is a 4-day experiential intensive teaching the theory, methods and materials to create inclusive public home places which bring multiple opportunities for community building and healing through art making, dialogue and skillsharing into neighbourhoods.

The course is offered by Dr. Janis Timm-Bottos, Creative Arts Therapies professor at Concordia University and Rachel Chainey,Art Hives Network National Coordinator, art therapist and social entrepreneur, in collaboration with diverse Art Hives practitioners. It is designed for professionals already working in an Art Hive setting or serious about getting started with that type of third space. While covering the theoretical underpinnings and practical aspects, it will also provide plenty of time for group discussion, skillsharing, site visits and hands-on community art studio sessions.

No prerequisite courses are needed. Previous experience in a community art studio is preferable.

After these 4 days, participants take away:

  • A new network of passionate colleagues and the many skills, ideas, tools and art making we will have shared together.
  • An overview of different art hives models (legal structures, organizational models) and ways to get them off the ground and sustain them.
  • A deepened understanding of the values and philosophical and historical inspirations of Art Hives and of the impact of these arts-based third spaces on individuals and communities.

Want us to come teach the Art Hives method in your community? Contact us!

The "Community Art Studio: Methods and Materials" credit course at Concordia University

CATS 631 / ARTE 398

Instructor: Dr. Janis Timm-Bottos
 Department: Creative Arts Therapies Please contact the department for registration

This experiential course is taught by associate professor, Dr. Janis Timm-Bottos (Creative Arts Therapies) in a welcoming community setting, La Ruche d'Art St-Henri, an arts-based third space fostering social inclusion and community building.The course, offered annually since 2011, attracts students across the university, including creative arts therapies, art education, studio arts, theater, music, philosophy, urban planning and anthropology.The course is cross-listed in order to welcome both graduate and undergraduate students, as well as community members who join the cohort as independent scholars.

Hands-on learning and art making are integral to every aspect of this course. In addition to connecting with community members within the studio in the post-industrial neighbourhood, students are also required to complete 15 hours of service learning within other grassroots or institutional settings that are part of the Art Hives Network.These urban art hives which share the strength-based, free and open access inherent to all Art Hives, they are also quite diverse: from social housing, to city parks, co-ops, seniors' residences, libraries, community missions, womens’ centres, schools and museums. In every setting, students practice the non-interventionist methods at the core of the Art Hives model of public practice art therapy: witnessing, arts-based humble inquiry, informal and horizontal skill sharing through ''Each-One-Teach-One'', as well as building studio relationships within each ''public
homeplace'' (Belenky, 1996), as they learn about the ''ethics of discomfort'' (Foucault in Rabinow, 1994).

Firmly rooted in the Psychologies of Liberation (Watkins & Shulman, 2008), public practice art therapy as developed at Concordia University invites all students to begin to examine their own social location as it relates to privilege, power, and the oppressive forces of colonialism and gentrification at play in their communities.Throughout the course, students undertake important steps of a journey, deepening their understanding of these concepts and their personal relationship to them, through art making and the reflective practice of field notes.The course culminates with a public presentation of the students' final projects, attended by community members, academic partners, and funders.

The 2017 cohort was invited to reflect on the implications of colonialism by participating in the Art Hive's Community Listening Circles based on the book ''Unsettling the Settler Within'' (Regan, 2010) as well as in the Blanket Exercise ( class then created artwork on the theme ''Reconcile'' and shared their personal stories around reconciliation during a public presentation as well as in the format of blog articles shared on the Art Hives website.

Art Hives Internship Awards For Creative Art Therapies Students

The Art Hives Internship Awards are graciously funded by the J.A. De Sève Foundation. Creative Arts Therapies students at Concordia University are invited to propose an internship and/or research project idea that responds to the needs and interests of an Art Hive, located in a neighbourhood or institution anywhere in Quebec.These learning opportunities will allow students to develop hands-on skills relevant to their career path and apply their academic learning through public practice arts engagement, while building connections and making a measurable impact at the grassroots level. On-site supervision is provided by a Registered Art Therapist for Art Hives Internships, as needed.


  • Janis Timm-Bottos

    Janis Timm-Bottos is passionate about co-creating small, accessible spaces for free community art making in order to increase understanding of ourselves, strengthen our relationships across divides, and build meaningful community life. A former pediatric physical therapist, Janis is an art therapist and associate professor with the Department of Creative Arts Therapies in the Faculty of Fine Arts at Concordia University.

    Over the past twenty years she has collaboratively initiated and run six community art studios (aka art hives): ArtStreet with Albuquerque Health Care for the Homeless; OFFCenter Community Arts Project, a free standing non profit; Kitchen Table Arts, located in a thrift store in Nelson, British Columbia; Montreal’s La Ruche d’Art: Community Studio and Science Shop; and Studio d’Art St Sulpice located in a large social housing neighborhood. Janis is the Director of the Art Hives Initiative and Network. 

  • Rachel Chainey

    Rachel Chainey is an art therapist, social entrepreneur, daily life artist and community organizer.  This curious jill-of-all-trades is passionate about people, stories, intersectional social justice and collaboration. She has been serving as the Art Hives Network National Coordinator at Concordia University since 2014, and working within different Montreal Art Hives since 2010. She is also Co-Founder and Co-Director of Coop Le Milieu, Community Art Studio & Neighbourhood Café, an Art Hive in Montreal, QC.

  • Carmen Oprea

    Carmen is an art therapist holding a master's in Art Therapy and a master's in Fine Arts, followed by post-graduate training in sandplay therapy. 

    She is an art facilitator and supervisor with Concordia Art Hives and she is implicated in promoting accessible art and sandplay therapy in the communities. 

    Her professional trajectory also includes offering art therapy to seniors from various day centres and residences, to First Nations and Inuit children and teenagers, and a clientele of various ages and diverse problems in her private practice. 

    She facilitates self-esteem and self-identity groups in the governmental sector and in communities. She uses art and sandplay therapy as alternative ways to communicate and promote well-being and insight when words cannot describe the depth of one’s experience. 

  • Lindsay Clarke

    Lindsay Clarke is a registered art therapist with the Canadian Art Therapy Association and pending with the American Art Therapy Association.  She collects food experiences and recipes, paints life’s stories, and works to promote community health.

    She is an Art Therapist and Supervisor at the Concordia University Art Hives in Montreal, supporting wellness on campus by fostering inclusive and creative public homeplace. 

    For over 6 years she has also been supporting women and children at a local women’s shelter, offering art therapy to re-establish a sense of safety after experiences of displacement, violence, and loss. 

    Lindsay also extends creative healing into the garden and kitchen as she has initiated cooking therapy groups throughout the community that involve participant grown ingredients and intergenerational collaboration.

Current Research

Our research is our sustained practice, and includes reconsidering traditional research to include community defined evidence. We have been mapping out "an intermediate space we can't quite define yet. A borderland between passion and intellect, analysis and subjectivity, ethnography and autobiography, art and life" (Behar 1996 in Watkins and Shulman p31.). On-going research endeavours include the development of institutional Art Hives with seniors, veterans and their families, as well as the development of a living lab infrastructure to collect community-generated evidence.


''RECONCILIATION'' - What does it mean to you?

A traveling exhibition, 2017

The Art Hives Network invites everyone to join in a humble, creative inquiry about the settler’s role in the Truth and Reconciliation work being done in support of establishing and restoring Indigenous people’s rights across Canada.This exploration doesn’t require answers and opinions, but time for neighbourhoods to come together for critical personal and collective reflection and art making about a topic that may be uncomfortable, uncertain, and unclear.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) of Canada ( met between 2008 and 2015, with the aim to unveil the truth about the extent of the abuse inflicted on Indigenous people through the residential school system, which existed in Canada from the early 1800’s to 1996.The Commission’s main goal is for the experiences of the Indigenous people to be heard by all Canadians.This action became the first step towards Truth and Reconciliation.

The Art Hives Network joins Reconciliation Canada (2017) in believing that ''each person has an important role to play in reconciliation. Reconciliation begins with oneself and then extends into our families, relationships, workplaces and eventually into our communities.’’

Inspired by the TRC’s Calls to Action, our hope is that through uncovering and examining how our individual and family stories intersect with colonization and engaging in spontaneous art making and dialogue with one another, we can begin to unpack the colonial wounds inflicted on indigenous people.This « unsettling the settler » work (Regan, 2010) will help us understand how practices we participate in today might still be causing harm to the first peoples across Turtle Island.When we practice listening to each other there is hope that together with indigenous neighbors we can dismantle institutions that cling, perhaps unknowingly to worn out colonial methods. If small groups of people are committed to a concilitatory process, we may begin to imagine a shared future without oppression and poverty, and in which all could experience the security of having access to clean water, land, and air. Restoule (2015), member of the Dokis First Nation (Anishnaabe) and professor of Indigenous Studies, states that ’’Reconciliation is a process of relationship building. Like the treaties, it has to be co-created, reflected upon and acted upon continually to remain relevant and alive.The potential exists for a new era of mutual respect but we each need to reflect upon our relationships and responsibilities towards each other.’’

External Link

Art Hives from Coast-to-Coast: Weaving a Collective Narrative

Chainey, 2018

The purpose of this research project is to document and disseminate the different narratives of leaders of Art Hives projects that are part of the Art Hives Network, across Canada. Research participants have submitted short videos in which they share their story of starting an Art Hive.A thematic analysis of the narrative videos collected has been realized by the researcher, in order to gain deeper insight into what these diverse projects have in common and what makes them stand out as unique.The overarching goals pursued by this study are to increase understanding and awareness that Art Hives have of each other, the visibility of Art Hives as a movement, and to democratize the understanding of this model of arts-based social inclusion for the general public, funders, and policy makers.

External Link

Facilitating an Art Hive: The Courage to Belong

Tallman, 2015

This research paper explores the psychological concept of belonging and why it is an essential human need.Art Hives, an emerging form of nonclinical art therapy delivery, is defined and explained, as is their central principle of inclusion.Through the methodology of autoethnography, the researcher examines her own experiences of belonging as a facilitator in a particular art hive, and explores how the needs of belonging, autonomy, competency and generosity can be met in this space.The complexities of belonging are examined, including three antecedents to belonging, and the belonging paradox.

The researcher supports her findings with motivational research and The Circle of Courage, which deem “belonging” to be an essential need along with autonomy, competence and generosity. Shame Resilience Theory is linked to how shame keeps people from feeling they belong.

The researcher discusses ways that building the courage to be vulnerable and authentic can help facilitators and participants overcome shame. Finally, the researcher concludes that in order to sustain a welcoming Art Hive, facilitators need to nurture their own autonomy, competence, generosity and inclusion in order to experience their own sense of belonging, as well as foster these experiences in Art Hive participants.

External Link

Learning in the Third Age: A Look into the Community Art Studio

Macoretta, 2017

This qualitative study investigated the perception of learning by third age participants at an unprogrammed community art studio (Timm-Bottos, 1995) in Montreal known as an ‘art hive’ (Timm- Bottos, 2012).Third agers are defined as participants between the ages of 55-75 (Laslett, 1989), and participation is defined as making art.A case study research design was used, and 11 participants in the third age at the art hive known as ‘La Ruche d’Art: St Henri’ were interviewed about their learning experiences.

Emergent themes suggested learning was heavily influenced by the structure and facilitation, as well as the social aspect of the art hive. Perceived learning included instrumental skills such as artistic skills, techniques, and social skills. Embodied and transformative learning experiences included learning how to freely express oneself, learning essential meanings and life lessons, learning new or broadened perspectives, and learning the healing power of art making.

Learning was perceived to occur simultaneously by observing others and through self-initiated and directed processes. Many of the reported learning experiences were perceived as transformational, and led to experiences of personal growth, empowerment and profound fulfillment.

This study points to many implications for the art hives and other community art studios to have a significant impact on the well-being of aging populations, as they offer opportunities for participants to express themselves creatively, build self-efficacy and autonomy, as well as feel welcomed to belong to an inclusive, loving community

External Link

Learning in third spaces: Community art studio as storefront university classroom

Timm-Bottos & Reilly, 2014

Third spaces are in-between places where teacher-student scripts intersect, creating the potential for authentic interaction and a shift in what counts as knowledge.This paper describes a unique community- university initiative: a third space storefront classroom for postsecondary students in professional education programs, which also functions as a community art studio for the surrounding neighborhood. This approach to professional education requires an innovative combination of theory, methods, and materials as enacted by the professionals involved and performed by the students.This storefront classroom utilizes collaborative and inclusive instructional practices that promote human and community development. It facilitates the use of innovative instructional strategies including art making and participatory dialogue to create a liminal learning space that reconfigures professional education. In researching the effectiveness of this storefront classroom, we share the voices of students who have participated in this third space as part of their coursework to underscore these principles and practices.

External Link

Public Practice Art Therapy: Enabling Spaces Across North America

Timm-Bottos, 2017

There is an open call in North America and abroad to develop third spaces (Watkins & Shulman, 2008;Timm-Bottos 2006, 2012, 2016), where neighborhoods and institutions provide places for people to connect, strengthen their voices, renew their love of each other, and develop their own community solutions with the support of university research. Public Practice Art Therapy can address the problems that we are collectively confronting by enabling small and sustainable third spaces across North America.

External Link

Seeing the Potential: A Canadian Creative Reuse Centre Case-Study

Timm-Bottos, 2017

This thesis includes practical information on existing models of creative reuse centres across Canada, and identified key themes that reflect a centre’s success which may serve as an adaptable roadmap for communities interested in developing their own creative reuse centre.The key themes of Putting people first, building relationships and seeing the potential asks us to hear the needs of the community and offer places for people of all abilities, backgrounds and demographics to see abundance of materials that are already in thee world, be inspired to create with them and feel gratitude for the others who have kept them out of the waste stream for us.

External Link

The Art Hive Science Shop: Breaking New Ground in Community Practice Research

Timm-Bottos & Lima, 2017

An Art Hive is a special type of third space, located between the home and the university and between what is known and what is not known (Timm-Bottos & Reilly, 2014).This experimental space serves primarily as a free community art studio, and secondarily as a storefront university classroom, offering a “transitional space of creative investigation” (Farley & Mishra Tarc, 2014, p.50). In 2015, the Science Shop at La Ruche d’Art St Henri began offering in earnest, a venue for art and science engagement within the community.The “science shop” is based loosely on a model created in Europe (Living Knowledge, 2015) that brings scientists, artists, and other community members from diverse backgrounds together in a unique way that allows for purposeful interaction.The Science Shop serves as a safe, neutral place to engage in complex and often uncomfortable conversations.

Steeped in the belief that citizens bring the missing and untapped creative capacity necessary to address social problems such as racism, social exclusion, food insecurity, and other social determinants of health (Mikkonen & Raphael, 2010), the Science Shop provides a space, materials, potential partnerships, and resources to support conversations and the co-creation of new knowledge.

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