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Artists at school


Host an Artist or Writer.

c.j. Fleury

Visual arts


c.j. fleury
Collaboration and photo: Vivienne Laxdal

c. j. fleury is an interdisciplinary artist specializing in large-scale public sculpture and having completed fifteen permanent commissions in Québec and Ontario. These works employ stone, concrete, steel, bronze and landscape elements. The artist is also recognized internationally for her ground-breaking community collaborations, where the creative process is completely opened up to people with no arts experience. All participants share the many processes of conceiving, producing, installing and exhibiting a major work of art. These collaborations have been the subject of many articles and essays in Canada and other countries, as well as having been presented as models in museum, gallery, university and civic contexts.

Proposed approach and type of activities

Sculpture as a Form of Communication

What is the relationship between art and society, between art and our environment? How can a big vision become real? How can individuals or groups contribute to the design and "feel" of their own place? Her artistic approach to teaching school-aged children follows directly on the true questions of her philosophical and professional research. There are also technical aspects to consider... How can team work bring big ideas to fruition? Beyond drawing and painting, did you know that artists have to know about architecture, structural engineering, sail, water and wind, trucks, cranes, foundations, municipal permits, document writing, public speaking, negotiating budgets, deadlines and photography in order to realize a permanent work of art? Her educational approach is the same as her professional approach. Artists need to employ aIl of the skills they learn in school - and more!

Students are introduced to these and other concepts in a dynamic, "behind the scenes" presentation of slides, photo panels, actual written documents and sketches, and a 10 minute (English) video. Unusual photos take the student through the artist's true steps to research, design, budget, source materials and labourers, the preparation of a maquette (model) and its presentation to a jury in order to "win" a commission. Students get to see how several kinds of large sculpture are built, transported, installed and even landscaped. They see many images of welding, sawing, heavy equipment and public interaction with the final art. Through this short presentation, students learn the difference between private and public spaces, thus between private and public art. They also learn about other terms like: permanent, temporary and ephemeral art, scale, integration and rural or urban settings, etc.

Examples of activities

A number of options are available: There can be a brief class discussion on where would be a suitable place to install the new public art, namely in the school or on the school grounds - or this can be discussed ahead of time with the teacher. Artist and teacher can select an existing option or devise a new one.

  • With available materials: Working on a small scale, student teams create maquettes (models) of public art in any design they wish. Simple techniques are given to the participants in accordance with what their designs require.
  • The artist supplies brightly coloured prepared materials that are sized for the students' age. Basic creation methods and structural principles are introduced. Student teams make pieces that comprise a larger work of "public art".

Both projects are simple enough to be finished in or after class. Parents can help. The last 10 minutes of the class are reserved for students presenting their art and reactions on the part of classmates as well as for discussing new concepts about their connection to shaping their own environment through public art and team work.

Special conditions

Depending on the size of the project, the workshop may entail production costs totaling a maximum of $100 per day of hosted activities. The artist would like the teacher to become actively involved during the workshop.

For information

c.j. fleury
Phone : 819 459-8657
Email :

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