Benoît Quessy, the new General Manager (GM) for D’Arts et de rêves, assumed his role on November 25, 2019. He spent two weeks with Karina Sasseville, the former GM, who was able to review with him the dossiers he would be managing.
First public animation in Sutton
Benoît's first public assignment took place on December 7 when he hosted an "Open House" activity featuring artist-in-residence Ziemovit Fincek. Benoît quickly earned our respect (we were about a dozen participants) because he was calm, smiling, and well prepared: the questions he asked Ziemovit Fincek allowed him to explain clearly his artistic journey as well as the process for making the dozen works on display at the residence.
Bravo Benoît for this first animation in Sutton!
From Montreal to Sutton?
But how did Benoît, who was working in Montreal, end up in Sutton? It's quite a story and I’ll gladly share it with you...
A good friend of Benoît told him about a posting for a job for which the skills and competencies required resembled those she had admired in Benoît. It did not take long for Benoît to do a bit of research: he found the description of the job in question and learned more about D’Arts et de rêves, an organisation based in Sutton, a region that Benoît already knew and loved.
As D'Arts et de rêves is a unique place of creation, promotion and support for creation in the fields of visual arts, contemporary circus arts, and literary arts, the selection committee had the vision of a candidate who would not only demonstrate management experience but also an openness, even knowledge in these three artistic disciplines.
Benoît was more than tempted: he quickly updated his resume and wrote a cover letter that he immediately sent to D’Arts et de rêves. Upon receiving this letter, the members of the selection committee could hardly believe what they were reading: the ideal candidate had fallen from the sky!
What does Benoît bring to D’Arts et de rêves?
As a matter of fact, Benoît's world revolves around several passions: management/communication, sculpture, writing, and circus arts.
- His career in the field of communications has led him to specialize in communication within organizations, because the human aspect, that is contributing to the well-being of a community, is what interests him most.
Community and communication are two fundamental aspects of D’Arts et de rêves, at the local, regional, provincial, and even national and international levels―you may remember that the last artist in residence came from Poland.
- Benoît also has a proven track record in sculpture: he practiced stone carving under the guidance of professional sculptor Jean-Louis Émond. This resulted in eight exhibitions and a first prize at the La Prairie Sculpture Symposium in 2001.
- During the last fifteen years, writing has become an essential part of Benoît's life. He has three novels to his credit, two of which are published by Éditeur Québec-Amérique and another to be published soon. À Juillet toujours nue dans mes pensées, published in 2009, was nominated for the 2010 Booksellers’ Prize. Benoît is working on his fourth novel.
- Having collaborated in the early years of Cirque du Soleil and having been in charge of internal communications, Benoît has acquired a vast experience which will undeniably serve him at D’Arts et de rêves. He also had the privilege of collaborating to the beginnings of the cité des Arts du Cirque―Tohu, Cirque du Soleil Headquarters, National Circus School―and witnessing the emergence of many circus troupes, including Les 7 doigts (de la main) where works Joannie Leroux-Côté, co-founder of D’Arts et de rêves.
Benoît believes in both a proactive culture of communication and team mobilization, all based on a strong relationship between the organization’s objectives and its partners, be they employees, volunteers, or citizens. This management expertise will surely serve the goals of outreach and sustainability of D’Arts et de rêves, an organization that in 2015 already counted on a strong contingent of partners, collaborators, and volunteers.
Interestingly, Benoît has always enjoyed working with volunteers. He has forgotten the number of events he has organized that, without the contribution, the dedication, the energy, and the time invested by volunteers, would never have been as successful. Benoît is looking forward to meeting the many D’Arts et de rêves volunteers, working with them and then celebrating with them at the 2020 Volunteers’ Day.
To top it all!
Two other elements in Benoît's cover letter surely appealed to the members of the selection committee:
- The community dimension is dear to Benoît. He likes the spirit of the quote that says that "alone, we can go faster, in a group, we can go further".
The work of the D’Arts et de rêves volunteers over the years confirms the validity of this quote.
- Benoît also underlined how much the name of the organization appealed to him: D’Arts et de rêves. "Hard to resist," he added!
You might have wondered how come Benoît knew about Sutton and had already fallen in love with the area? The truth is that for more than two years now, Sutton had become his second place of residence. You will understand that with his nomination as General General, his principal place of residence is now Sutton.
Congratulations Benoît on your nomination and welcome to Sutton!