The idea behind the project of Portraits of merchants & professionals of Côte-des-Neiges

Published on: 15 September 2021 | Category: Art & Culture Entrevues News Portraits de professionnels Tourism

SDC Côte-des-Neiges is proud to launch a very meaningful project for the neighborhood, the project: Portraits of merchants & professionals of Côte-des-Neiges. This aims in particular to create a link with businesses and citizens and to put forward the owners and managers of businesses that are part of the territory of our organisation. Discover the very first edition of this enriching socio-cultural and artistic project!

A project led by SDC Côte-des-Neiges, its partners and collaborators!
This project is an initiative of the SDC Côte-des-Neiges in collaboration with the Maison de la culture Côte-des-Neiges, the borough of Côte-des-Neiges-Notre-Dame-de-Grâce and members of the SDC Côte-des-Neiges. The executive director of SDC Côte-des-Neiges, Félicia Balzano, signs the artistic direction of this initiative and has collaborated with several artists and professionals to bring this vision to life.

The project in brief
Portraits of merchants and professionals of Côte-des-Neiges is above all a socio-cultural project. We wanted to put the people behind several shops and businesses in the neighborhood up front! That’s not all, it was crucial for us to keep the project alive as long as possible and to enhance the experience of visiting the territory with a concrete project on the ground. By partnering with the Maison de la culture Côte-des-Neiges, the idea was precisely to offer a second showcase for the project by being able to deploy a free outdoor exhibition of photographs which would therefore be easily accessible to all citizens. In this sense, the project has two components: an outdoor exhibition of photographs taken by Drowster and Gaëlle Leroyer highlighting 11 companies with 16 leaders as well as a series of interviews with these entrepreneurs and available through QR codes on each sign of the exhibition and on our organization’s blog.

An idea that has gained ground
The idea of ​​making portraits of traders dates back to 2019. At the time of her arrival at the direction of the SDC Côte-des-Neiges, Félicia was delighted to know that the idea of ​​such a project had started to germinate. However, she wanted to allow the project to take on much greater scale and not reduce it to sharing photographs on social networks. “Our merchants and merchants are at the heart of our everyday actions, we had to give them the opportunity to be put forward differently” underlines Félicia Balzano (Excutive director – SDC Côte-des-Neiges). The year 2020 unfortunately did not allow such a project due to the pandemic. In 2021, she officially started the process to launch the project. Félicia then imagined a multiplatform project which could evolve over several years and which would have an important artistic and cultural dimension. “I wanted the project to bring the merchant to the pedestrian and the pedestrian to the merchant, that’s how I thought about it from the start to the end of the process,” says Félicia Balzano (Executive director – SDC Côte-des-Neiges).

This is how the first edition of this project was inaugurated on September 15, 2021 through two components: a free outdoor exhibition and a digital component allowing interviews to be offered on the SDC blog as well as through the enhancement of a weekly portrait on our social networks.

11 businesses and shops
”It was essential for us that the project could reflect the neighborhood, including the people who work, live and study there. Knowing that diversity on all levels (culture, age, gender, commercial offer, etc.) characterizes Côte-des-Neiges, it guided the entire artistic and creative process of the project” says Félicia Balzano (Executive director – SDC Côte-des-Neiges). We therefore approached shopkeepers who made it possible to draw a portrait as representative as possible of the district on the various plans and then we worked with the merchants willing to jump into the adventure with us. And if there is one key element that unites them, it is their love for Côte-des-Neiges!

A project led by inspiring and passionate collaborators
This project could not have been done without the participation of merchants and professionals members of our SDC. In the end, this project is for us and for the citizen!

Under the artistic direction of Félicia Balzano, the talents who actively contributed to the realization of this project are numerous! By all working in one direction, they have succeeded to offer a meaningful project for the community.
Renowned photographers Drowster and Gaëlle Leroyer signed the photographs for this project. And if we went to these two artists it is not only for their artistic and documentary approach, but also for their impressive work and their aptitudes to bring out the essence of each person.

Drowster’s work is very well known for the public! The one who has photographed hundreds of workers all over the world launched a first book in 2021. His name is everywere! He works his portraits digitally.

The name of Gaëlle Leroyer circulates a lot in the community. The one who works in film transmits a completely different vision to her photographs. You immediately feel close to the person who is in her portraits. Gaëlle is also a photographer for many artists in the arts and culture. We fell in love with her delicate approach.

Zeineb Khalfallah signed the texts of all interviews conducted as part of the project and available on our blog. The one who is also an influencer at time via her Instagram account, has a very human approach to her social networks and her work as a journalist and editor.

Marie-Claude Brault signs the graphics of the exhibition. By integrating the visual signature of the organization, she was able to respect Félicia’s wishes in order to represent the dynamic identity of the SDC Côte-des-Neiges without removing the space for the photographs taken by Drowster and Gaëlle. Marie-Claude is also passionnate about photography and works frequently with SDC Côte-des-Neiges for several projects regarding the visual identity.

Félicia Balzano is the general manager of the SDC Côte-des-Neiges. She led the artistic direction as well as the management of the project from the development of the idea, to its conception and its deployment. She has great experience in the field of culture and communications and is motivated by the development of concrete projects for the territory.

Where to see the exhibition?
The exhibition runs from September 15 to December 5, 2021 on the Promenade Jean-Brillant in front of the park, between rue Gatineau and rue Decelles.

How to consult the articles of the interviews?
The 11 interviews are now available on the SDC Côte-des-Neiges blog. They are also accessible via the QR codes integrated on each of the exhibition panels.

• Meet with Valérie and Karim (Caravane Café and Office): here
• Meet with Sandra (Hôtel Terrasse Royale and Café Léonidas): here
• Meet with Amjad (Exofruits): here
• Meet with Werner and Wolfgang (Boucherie Atlantique): here
• Meet with Mimi (Le Goût du Palais chez Mimi): here
• Meet with Yasmine (Yasmine Bensalem Notary): here
• Meet with Zohra (Lunetterie Côte-des-Neiges): here
• Meet Ryan, Eric and “Chops” (Le Petit Vibe): here
• Meet with Khai (Pokai): here
• Meet with Virginia (Pub McCarold and MC Hall): here
• Meet with Félicia (SDC Côte-des-Neiges): here

Credits – project:
• Initiative: SDC Côte-des-Neiges
• Artistic direction: Félicia Balzano, general manager of the SDC Côte-des-Neiges
• Exhibition section – Photographers: Drowster and Gaëlle Leroyer
• Exhibition section – panel graphics: Marie-Claude Brault
• Exhibition section – Text editor: Alexandra Moreno
• Interview section on the blog – Journalist / writer / editor: Zeineb Khalfallah
• Participating businesses and businesses: Caravane Café, Pub McCarold, Pokai, SDC Côte-des-Neiges, Le Goût du Palais chez Mimi, Hotel Terrasse Royale and Leonidas chocolate factory, Lunetterie Côte-des-Neiges, Le Petit Vibe and Yasmine Bensalem Notaire.
• Partners: Côte-des-Neiges Cultural Center and Côte-des-Neiges-Notre-Dame-de-Grâce borough

Latest publications

Advertising space