Art and Wellness in Museums

“When the Museum Cares” with Stephen Legari 

Museums the world over are increasingly becoming locations for activities in health, well-being and even therapy. This presentation will focus on the evolution of programming in the department of Education and Well-Being at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. The presentation will include case studies, different approaches, testimonials and artwork from a variety of co-created community partnerships. Attendees will be invited to participate in a reflective experiential using a sample of artwork from the Agnes Etherington Art Centre.

“Access to Art” with Melissa Smith

The conversation will provide an overview of the AGO Access Programs, focusing on the importance of co-creation, advocacy in bureaucratic structures, and change management. 


Speaker Biographies

Stephen Legari holds a Master’s in Creative Arts Therapies from Concordia University and a Master’s in Couple and Family therapy from the School of Social Work of McGill University. Legari is Program Officer for art therapy at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. This comprehensive museum-based program creates specialized projects for diverse groups including neuro a-typical adults, adults with disabilities and those living with long term illness, trauma, and grief. Legari is in constant search of new ways for the fine arts to be a source of connection and recovery.

Melissa Smith is the Assistant Curator of Community Programs at the Art Gallery of Ontario. Her responsibilities include inclusive public programs for adults and accessibility advocacy. Motivated by a sustained commitment to exploring the unique relationship between art and audiences, Smith was awarded the Royal Ontario Museum Visitor Engagement Award in 2014 and one of Smith’s AGO programs was awarded the 2016 People’s Choice for Quality Improvement by the City of Toronto Long Term Care Homes and Services. She holds a Master of Arts in Art History from Western University and a Masters of Museum Studies from the University of Toronto. She is also a Sessional Instructor in the Inclusive Design Graduate Program at OCADU and sits on the Board of Directors at the Miles Nadal Jewish Community Centre.

Image Credits

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