Quartier Éphémère's mission is to support the creation, production, and dissemination of visual art; it seeks at once to question the role of art and artists in the heart of the city, and to promote that role. By investing in 'in situ' projects within vacant or abandoned industrial buildings, QE attempts to explore our urban zones and to reach a diverse public, off of the beaten track of contemporary art. Although this approach contains inherent difficulties, the effect of daily exposure by the public to artists and their works can be profound and poetic. Seeing how artists interpret the world and how they perceive the spaces we enter each and every day can be life-changing.
Quartier Éphémère supports different kinds of projects, sometimes highly technological, or risky, but always experimental, and open to the world of possibilities. Often working closely with other organizations, Quartier Éphémère aims to explore our common concerns, be they the preservation of our heritage, our collective memory, or the impact of architecture, in order to forge a strong cultural identity and to inspire reflection about the past and the present. Artists can gain insight and inspiration from the exchange of ideas and contacts made possible by Quartier Éphémère's international and visiting artists residency programs.
Quartier Éphémère welcomes exhibitions and installations from other art organizations which have made an international mark; in all instances, however, Quartier Éphémère strives to encourage new organizations working to promote emerging young artists and their works.
Quartier Éphémère's early settlement in the Faubourg des Récollets at 16 Prince Street set the stage for an increased socio-cultural role for the organization. After 10 long years struggling to establish a permanent art centre in a formerly industrial zone undergoing full, modern expansion, and with a successful run of visual art productions making its name—Panique au Faubourg, Tunnel, Silophone, Plan Large—the Darling Foundry Visual Arts Centre was finally established. With Phase 1 complete, and Phase 2 in progress, Quartier Éphémère and the Darling Foundry stand as proof that, as a cultural and artistic force, they contribute enormously to the economic and social welfare of the Faubourg and the city of Montréal.
The Darling Foundry Visual Arts Centre aims to be an alternative, professional complex devoted to visual artists and their supporters. Financial realities required it to be developped in 2 phases. The first phase, officially opened June 20, 2002, was conceived by the architects In Situ. On the leading edge in terms of preservation and innovation in design, they designed the reception area, Quartier Éphémère's offices, and the two public exhibition galleries. Quartier Éphémère's offices are upstairs, on the second floor, while the galleries and reception area are situated on the main floor.
The first gallery, at 500 m2, retains its strong industrial character and reflects In Situ's approach whereby the art displayed within the gallery must interact with its surroundings. The second gallery, much smaller at 180 m2, is more traditional, allowing the works to take center stage in the space.
Phase 2, adjacent to Phase 1, provides artists with studios in which to create their works, along with production workshops to assist them in their creation. Phase 2 was concived under the able direction of the environmental architectural firm, "L'Œuf." Desnoyer Mercure is overseeing the construction and renovations. Phase 2 contains 10 separate artists studios, 2 residential studios for visiting artists, and 5 production workshops, all of which encourage even more interaction between artists and add to the cultural dynamic of the Art Centre.
The Darling Foundry contains about 3500 m2 dedicated to the visual arts. This unique art centre plays a critical role in promoting art and culture in Montreal, Québec, Canada, and the rest of the world.