World Art Day

It was in 2019 that the 40th session of the UNESCO General Conference proclaimed World Art Day to “promote the development, dissemination and enjoyment of art.”

“This World Art Day is a timely reminder that art can unite and connect us even in the most difficult of circumstances. Indeed, the power of art to bring people together, to inspire, heal and share, has become increasingly clear during recent conflicts and crises, including COVID-19”, said UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay.

These words confirm the intuition and vision of Mother Marie-Rose, founder of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary (SNJM). From the very beginning of the congregation in 1843, the pioneers included the teaching of the arts in their program offered to young people. Mother Marie-Agnès (Mélodie Dufresne) was an artist at heart. She displayed her talents and shared them with her students. It is still possible to admire some of her works, especially in wax, at the Centre Marie-Rose.

For the SNJM, arts education has always been seen as a way to develop creativity, nurture self-esteem, and be open to beauty and diversity. In fact, UNESCO wishes to use this day to “put the spotlight back on arts education in schools, because culture can pave the way for an inclusive and equitable education.”

Concrete examples of the contribution of the arts to the development of young people exist, notably with the Maison des enfants Marie-Rose, in Beauharnois, where the SNJM has worked for many years. (French only)