Some See Empty Spaces, We See Opportunities

Some See Empty Spaces, We See Opportunities | MASSIVart
On the eve of the announcement of the winner of the international call for artists organized with MIRA for the iconic public art installation that will be integrated into their real estate development project in Mexico City – Neuchâtel: Cuadrante Polanco, we would like to introduce Evlyne Laurin, a new member of our team, who speaks on the subject of public art – crucial now and in the future.


Evlyne recently joined MASSIVart as the Director – Client & Development. Seasoned art administrator, she brings a pan-Canadian and international network and experience as a liaison agent, account manager, event and curation, strategic planning and production direction with her. She has been working with artists, photographers, non-profits, cultural enterprises, both private and public, fairs, galleries, and private collectors on two continents. She worked for Roger’s Cup & Tennis Canada, the VIP team of Frieze Art Fair, Art Bank of the Canada Council for the Arts, amongst others.


With over a decade of experience in various positions within the cultural sector, she understands the power of arts and how to leverage it. It is her mission to make it more accessible. Evlyne loves to play the role of the connection agent; bridging the client’s vision with the creative one. Her in-depth understanding of both sides makes her projects carefully planned, well-executed and on point.



Toiletpaper Exhibition in Montreal - MASSIVart / Galerie Blanc / Chromatic


The past few months brought drastic changes in our everyday life. Our homes have been turned into multipurpose spaces; our daily commute was cancelled. We went for more walks, discovered uncharted territories in our neighborhood. Statues have fallen, while murals have sprung. Art has also been at the forefront of conversations. Many find solace in painting rainbows, embellishing those non-descript spaces that became precious overnight.

Oscillations - The Urban Conga / Photo by Eva Blue / PQDS / MASSIVart - Art Public - MontréalArt, especially Public Art, the one you can see outdoors, for free, accessible to everybody, took on a new meaning. As we are moving into the very early days of the new normal, we measure how important the outdoors has become in our lives. That park, that street we walk on to get coffee simply to get out of the house. We want to enjoy our surroundings; they foster relationships; it makes us engaged with our communities. Sculptures have been scrutinized, many have been taken down their pedestal and will need to be replaced. Murals are being painted to pay homage, to get attention, to remember and to reflect our current time and struggles.

Looking forward, what will be the future of Public Art?


As outdoors is now playing a central role in our daily lives, cities turn into urban planning. Public Art takes many forms; murals, large-scale sculptures, installation, site-specific; it can stand alone or be part of a sculpture garden or a punctual event. It can be up in the air, perched in a tree, under your feet, standing next to you or inviting you in. It transpires the value of the artists that creates the project, the people who supported it and commissioned it. It reflects on what city, space or company wants to express about itself; that they are a place for creativity, a way to retain their creative classes, to engage with their communities. Art enriches life. The general expectation is that Public Art relates to time, reflects our stories, and is accessible to a broad and diverse public.

In the past 30 years or so, Public Art moved from grassroots to mainstream; projects are now almost expected to present it in one form or another. Art, and especially Public Art is becoming more and more understood as a value-added feature. It activates a city, a place. From old fashion monuments which were passive, new sculptures become a vessel. They are about activation and engagement, pushing deeper their social commitment. One good example of involving the public in the decision process is the 4Th plinth project in Trafalgar Square in London, UK. While there is a committee selecting the shortlisted, the public is invited to see the submission, give comments and vote, and take a step further in deciding what will throne at the top of the plinth left unused for more than 150 years.

New proposals for Trafalgar Square's Fourth Plinth 2018 & 2020. In order top left to bottom right: Damián Ortega, Huma Bhabha, Michael Rakowitz, Heather Phillipson, and Raqs Media Collective.

Public Art transforms, enhances, pays homage, tribute, and is a tribune for our times.


It revitalizes, highlights, gives a second life and beautifies place – think of a mural under a viaduct – instant game changer. Urban furniture pops up overnight. Suddenly, it is alive, activated. It changes the perception of an overlooked area by which we walk thousands of times. We pay attention, and we want to experience it, sit on it and enjoy that place to a degree we wouldn’t connect with otherwise.

Partnering with the Partenariat du Quartier des Spectacles, Palais des Congrès in Montreal, Hullmark in Toronto or MIRA in Mexico, MASSIVart actively work towards bringing lively, festive, uplifting destinations infused art and design, contribution to enhancing the visual landscape as well as the spirit of the space. It transforms how we experience places, changes the way we interact, gives us a breather and cuts the monotonous. While its quantitative impact is harder to measure, it’s qualitative impact shows to be reliable. Public Art commands attention, attracts your gaze, gets you to look up from your phone, engage and sparks conversation.

Commissioning Art has a mission; it is a platform to engage, and one that private companies and cities will move more and more forward to.


It is a dialogue about the social fabric of our cities. The rewarding effects are numerous. On a human level: happier population, less stressful commute, mental health benefits, lower crime rate. From an economic perspective, it creates jobs for artists and more – someone needs to design, construct, install and take care of those projects. It requires materials that are more than often sourced locally. It also fosters tourism – let’s think of Prada Marfa in Marfa and how Marfa became a destination since Donald Judd decided to create some major permanent installations there. It creates a buzz, makes the city vibrant, promotes its competitive edge, lives for its innovative thinking – the vital signs are strong.



As we see more vacant storefront; some will see empty spaces, while we will see opportunity.


This is an occasion that building owners and real estate companies should take advantage of. It is part of our mission at MASSIVart to work with cities, real estates, promoters and developers to increase the presence of art in their projects that have a strong impact in how we navigate our cities. With the current movement for shopping local, it is time to rethink the offer and push further their entertainment and well-being in the infrastructures they are part of. To push the envelope and for companies to promote their values through their implication in daily life and enhancement of multipurpose public spaces. MASSIVart puts at the service of its partner actionable insights due to our years of experience in conceiving desirable destinations that create uplifting, and engaging spaces.

Chromatic Paris - Dominique Pétrin - Public Art

Public Art can also transform and re-activate older buildings, cover-up design mistakes, and mitigate sterile streetscapes or buildings’ effects. A mural can prevent graffiti from reoccurring, and vandalism decreases. A new installation contributes to foster conversations, to engage with the locals as well as the visitors.

It leads to thinking back to programs like the Federal Art Project that ran from 1935 to 1943 and which was part of the New Deal after the Great Recession. At its core, the goals of building morale, creating jobs and reducing crime. In times like now, when we need more than ever to move from generic experience to unique ones, when alternative narratives are needed, the ideas of creating a program or investing funds in inspiring people, in giving some a purpose while enriching our everyday life seem like the way to go.

MASSIVart’s vision is aligned with this thinking; we strongly believe in creating memorable art driven experiences that the communities in which they are delivered will want to live, revisit and share. We are proud to support and offer new possibilities to artists as well as giving back and working with other communities and partners in our common goal to foster a local cultural ecosystem which is deeply rooted in creating relevant experiences delivered in unexpected ways.

We can expect to see Public Art flourish as cities will rethink themselves for smaller gatherings, engage with their communities and regional visitors, and expand their outdoors, as we know this virus is here to stay. This summer shows us the power of standing together for what we believe in and being advocates for the changes we want to see in our communities.

Let’s all contribute to bring more Public Art by a diversity of artists, with a strong creative vision, developing a human-centric experience that has soul and a vibrant personality to which we can all relate. The future of Public Art is in the value of it.


Photo 1: Toiletpaper’s Exhibition – Galerie Blanc, Montreal by Chromatic, MASSIVart, Le Village / © JF Savaria
Photo 2: Oscillations, The Urban Conga – in Montreal by Partenariat du Quartier des Spectacles and MASSIVart / © Eva Blue
Photo 3: New proposals for Trafalgar Square’s Fourth Plinth 2018 & 2020. In order top left to bottom right: Damián Ortega, Huma Bhabha, Michael Rakowitz, Heather Phillipson, and Raqs Media Collective.
Photo 4: Left: Prada MARFA, and installation by artists Elmgreen & Dragset in collaboration with the Art Production Fund & Ballroom Marfa, right, Donald Judd, 15 untitled works in concrete, 1980-1984. Permanent collection, the Chinati Foundation, Marfa, Texas / © Evlyne Laurin
Photo 5: Dominique Pétrin, Chromatic – Cité de la Mode, Paris by MASSIVart
Photo 6: Judith Portier, It’s going to be okay! – in Montreal by Partenariat du Quartier des Spectacles and MASSIVart / © Eva Blue