Louise Comtois and Paul Morency, volunteers
As winter begins, we would like to highlight the contribution of two Sutton residents: Louise Comtois and Paul Morency. This couple likes to help and work in several organizations; D’arts et de rêves is one of their favorite projects. Find out more about them…
The pleasure of believing in the same project…
You might already have had the pleasure of meeting Louise Comtois and Paul Morency: this young couple, active retirees, adopted Sutton for its environment, its people and the quality of life we all enjoy here. Both choose to give freely of their time to projects that inspire them; of course they each have their own pet projects, though D’Arts et de rêves is one of the projects they have by mutual agreement adopted.
How did they discover D’Arts et de rêves?
Louise has been attending the Sutton City Council meetings for the longest time. She recalls one evening in 2015 when Nicole Côté, Henri Lamoureux, and friends were present because Nicole had requested a derogation for the property located at 57, rue Principale Nord. Louise, who keeps a close eye on what goes on at City Hall, then followed with interest the evolution of the derogation request. Why? Simply because she was fascinated by this innovative project of an artists’ residence and a cultural park.
Paul, on the other hand, remembers the second edition of the Sutton—Monumentum International Sculpture Symposium scheduled for August 2015. To host the invited artists, a lot of work had to be done, inside as well as outside the barn, so chores had been planned (see June 2017 newsletter). Paul, with other generous souls, rolled up his sleeves and cleared the ground, felled trees, burned branches… Then, during the Symposium, Paul put on his photographer hat and even shot a short video.
Thus began Louise’s and Paul’s occasional but faithful liaison with D’Arts et de rêves.
Louise and Paul are quite a team and have been so for almost ten years now. They enjoy working together and joining their creative and physical strengths to complete projects.
- Retirement does not mean stopping, on the contrary: we want to continue to help, to participate, to make a difference…
- Working as a pair is motivating, we help one another, we build on one another’s strengths, and we even save on gas!
Volunteering at D’Arts et de rêves
The big move
Paul took part in the big move of 2015 (see September 2017 newsletter). On a rainy and wet autumn day, trailers hitched up to cars and trucks followed one another, like a caravan, transporting the tables, chairs, lamps, beds… that would furnish the artists’ residence. It was a gratifying experience; it was like giving life to the residence. To celebrate it all, we had an excellent meal in very good company!
You might have seen, as you were coming into the village this summer, people doing landscaping work near the parking lots, including the spaces in grass reinforcement mesh. To beautify and color this space, planting trees, shrubs, and perennials was necessary (landscaping plan by Emmanuelle Tittley, see chapter 5 of The story of D’Arts et de rêves)… Both Louise and Paul were there: Louise because she likes gardening, adores flowers, and is inspired by well thought out landscaping plans; Paul because he had the opportunity to work with his sweetheart, while having fun carrying mulch (which man does not love to drive a tractor?), shovelling, planting, transplanting…
Cleaning the barn
This fall, on a nice yet rather cold afternoon, Paul had the pleasure of working in very pleasant company: Miryam St-Pierre and Nicole Côté. The trio cleaned out the barn and rearranged stuff stored there for the winter. They worked so hard that even though the weather was cold, they really did not have time to freeze…
Did you visit this year’s Sutton Christmas Market? Louise, disguised as Mother Christmas, was one of the volunteers selling trios of D’Arts et de rêves greeting cards; her selling skills contributed to our achieving, that is surpassing our crowdfunding goal.
Why give one’s time to D’Arts et de rêves?
First of all, says Louise, just the name of D’Arts et de rêves is enough to make me dream. Helping to build, to develop, here in Sutton, a creative environment for artists from here and elsewhere, then to see these talented people evolve is a gift in itself, adds Paul. Sutton is recognized for its artistic community and this residence which opens its doors to people from all over the world is an added value for each of us.
Louise and Paul agree that D’Arts et de rêves enables them to meet extraordinary, friendly, and generous people; they like to talk with these volunteers, share with them, and even learn from them, as each person’s path is rich with experience. When one gives one’s time to this organization, it is appreciated: there is no competition, everyone works at his or her own pace, our limits are respected, our contributions valued.
It is not only the chores that trigger beautiful encounters. Remember the June 18, 2016 official inauguration (see December 2016 newsletter); the Entremaille project (October 2016); Chemins de l’histoire, the joint exhibition of Louis Lefebvre and Heritage Sutton with photos reminiscent of Sutton’s history (July 2017); the meetings with Isabelle Renaud (November 2016), Kerttu Pussinen (June 2017), and Mathieu Leroux (November 2017), all artists in residence…
Then in July 2017, there was the Volunteer Day, an annual gathering that will become a tradition to highlight the remarkable contribution of our volunteers. This year, we participated in an artistic rally, in teams formed at random, and we did enjoy a good laugh!
What do Louise and Paul dream of for D’Arts et de rêves?
Both hope that this two-part project—artist residency and cultural park—will be around for a very, very long time. It is a rather unique to combine contemporary circus art, literary arts, and visual arts in a site as exceptional as this one. In addition, this project adds value to our city’s service offering.
Furthermore, Louise and Paul’s goal is to volunteer for as long as they can at D’Arts et de rêves. Why? For the simple pleasure of contributing and, selfishly they add, for the pleasure of discovering artists, admiring their works, and meeting new volunteers and friends.
Where else do they volunteer?
Louise and Paul lead very active lives; their retirement is far from being synonymous with idleness. Not enough place here to list all their activities, but suffice it to say that in 2017…
Louise has worked, among other things, on the design and production of books for children living with a visual impairment, children who will one day be Braille users; she has animated information sessions for parents and teachers of these 0-5-year-old children; greeted visitors at the Traditional Fiddle Festival; offered homework support to a child experiencing difficulties; participated in a community vegetable garden; accompanied a neighbor during her medical appointments; helped set up the “Mothers for Sutton” movement; and recently been invited to sit on the monitoring committee to increase the chances of success of the Sutton Family and Seniors Policy (Louise dreams of seeing Centre d’hébergement de Sutton residents enjoying the sights and sounds of the D’Arts et de rêves cultural park).
Paul will not be outdone: he sits on the Board of the Museum of Communications and History of Sutton where he contributes, amongst other things, to the maintenance of the buildings; he has digitized a series of photos for Heritage Sutton as well as the photos for the 120th of the Sutton Junction Community Hall, photos that were arranged in a loop and appreciated by one and all; he sings once a month at the Cowansville retirement home (Principale Street and Albert Street); welcomes once a month visitors to the Waterloo Fly Fishing Museum; does on call small jobs at the Salle Alec and Gérard Pelletier; and, when needed, helps friends and acquaintances who are overwhelmed by technology.
This is how we love our volunteers, people who are resourceful and full of good will: thank you Louise and Paul!
P.S.: Since the first working bees of D’Arts et de rêves, we have seen several couples working together; you might know some of them. Maybe we’ll talk about other couples in a subsequent issue…
Our sixth volunteer column will be published in the spring of 2018.
Who will be featured? To be continued…