Monday, September 19, 2011

Artists and dogs

Over the past year, people have told us about some amazing art that has been done with dogs. Here are a few examples. American artist Nancy Levine has photographed elder dogs in places they love for the past eight years.

Joon, 16 years old, Sandwich, MA. By Nancy Levine.

Francis Alÿs is a Belgian-born artist who bases his practice in Mexico. For the project Dog Rose (1998) he made the protagonist of a story a little, three-legged dog, Negrito.

Alÿs also worked with Mexican artist Rafael Ortega on the project, The Last Clown (1995-2000), a multi-media work, incorporating painting, animation and narrative, which told the story of a pivotal encounter between an art critic, a city, and a dog.

Alÿs discusses the project in this short video by the Tate Modern.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The petition

The petition to save Parc Gallery is ready to be signed. Hard copies are in the park, in the winter shack at the east end (pens are there too). Sign and put the sheet back in the green envelope - we will pick the petitions up in the next two weeks, to include in our official justification to the Mayor of the South-West, Benoit Dorais. If you cannot make it to the park or would like to have copies of the petition to take to friends, you can download this copy:

We will aim to submit the justification by the beginning of October. Your signatures will really matter. Need help or have questions? Email us at, or call 514 678 5595. Want to help make the justification? Please email or call. The justification will matter more if it comes from the users of the park themselves.

last day of dog parc gallery

Today we took down the exhibition and ran into a few regular park users. It was a gorgeous day! The sun cast some beautiful shadows through the portraits on the south side, along Olier Street. We had to share a picture (Gallimard) with you.

Portrait of Gallimard - Parc Gallery, 18 Sept. 2011

After we took the show down, we put up signs announcing the petition, which is ready to be signed and can be found in the winter shack at the east end of the park. Please come by, sign, and be part of the action to save Parc Gallery.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Mayor of the South-West has responded

Maire de l'arrondissement le sud-ouest, Benoit Dorais, a répondu à notre mission de sauvegarder le parc à chiens, Parc Gallery. Sa lettre est jointe:

The mayor of the South-West, Benoit Dorais, has responded to our initiative to save the dog park at Parc Gallery. His letter follows:

The good news is that there will be a public consultation about the future of the park in the very near future: within the next 30 to 60 days. Mayor Dorais has invited us to prepare a justification for the safeguarding of the park, to be considered as part of the public process. This must be written as soon as possible. As long as the land belongs to the City of Montréal, which it presently does, there is hope.

The bad news is that, according to Mayor Dorais, the park is not zoned as a park, despite all evidence to the contrary, such as its name, and the signs on the fence. It has, he writes, been incorporated into the private domain.

This incorporation may have taken place during the rezoning of Griffintown in the 1970s. But this may also have been an illegal incorporation, as the City of Montréal is supposed to support and protect all existing green, public spaces. A lawyer's advice on civic law would be extremely helpful here.

Dog park users - the time has come to publicly voice your concerns to the Mayor and to collect evidence that can show, unequivocally, that this green space is indeed a public park. A petition produced by the users, and signed by the users, would be a strong supplement to the argument that we will write and present to Mayor Dorais in the coming weeks.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Post-vernissage doings

Since our very fun vernissage, we have picked up on a number of great suggestions from visitors to the show about who to contact about Parc Gallery. Special thanks to Roshi Chadha for suggesting some high-profile figures in the Montréal political scene, including renowned astronaut, politician and dog-lover, Marc Garneau. Mr Garneau and five others will receive detailed packages this week. Other suggestions are most welcome.

We also have confirmed a meeting day with MP Tyrone Benskin, for the middle of October. Our exhibition is slated to come down on September 16th, but perhaps - if regular park users agree, and if the photographs hold up in the sun and rain - it should be extended to accommodate his schedule.

We've also followed up Dr Loren Lerner's excellent advice to seek legal counsel. Our preliminary steps confirm that legal advice is very important. We have a lead for some possible pro bono services, but would suggest that anyone in the Parc Gallery community who has a friend or family member who knows something about Montreal's civil law should ask for help! It would be really useful to be able to present a clear legal picture of the situation to MP Benskin in October.

In a nutshell: the park was understood as such according to the 1947 Land Use Map of Montreal - an important civic and legal document. But in the rezoning of Griffintown as "light industrial" in the early 1970s, this status for the park may have changed. It certainly is not shown as a park on any of the city's current planning documents - quite the opposite, in fact; it is shown as a space to be developed. So even though it is an official "aire d'exercise canin" and is maintained by city workers, this is no guarantee that it will not be developed. Lawyers! Your help to protect this wonderful space is needed.

And they say this isn't a park?

A few more photos of the exhibition

Too many wonderful pictures to choose from! Here is a selection.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Kathleen and Baloo

A big thank-you to Kelly Thompson, who took this great photograph of Parc Gallery regular user, Kathleen, and her dog Baloo. Kathleen is an artist who has thought a great deal about the role of dogs in the urban realm - she wrote a dissertation about walking in the city, dogs, humans, and art! Read more about it here. We were thrilled to get this picture of Baloo with Baloo's likeness, looking very fetching in both.