What is an Art Hive?

The Art Hives Network connects small and regenerative community arts studios together in order to build solidarity across geographic distances. This effort seeks to strengthen and promote the benefits of these inclusive, welcoming spaces across Canada, and throughout the world. Also known as "public homeplaces," these third spaces, create multiple opportunities for dialogue, skill sharing, and art making between people of differing socio-economic backgrounds, ages, cultures and abilities.  


An Art Hive: 

  • welcomes everyone as an artist and believes art making is a human behavior. 
  • celebrates the strengths and creative capacities of individuals and communities. 
  • fosters self-directed experiences of creativity, learning, and skill sharing.  
  • encourages emerging grass roots leaders of all ages. 
  • provides free access as promoted by gift economy. 
  • shares resources including the abundant materials available for creative reuse. 
  • experiments with ideas through humble inquiry and arts-based research. 
  • exchanges knowledge about funding strategies and economic development. 
  • partners with colleges and universities to promote engaged scholarship. 
  • gardens wherever possible to renew, regenerate, and spread seeds of social change.

The model and practice of Art Hives have evolved through two decades of sustained practice research, continuous observation and adaptation, and experimentation with spaces and organizational structures led by Dr. Janis Timm-Bottos, who has developed and established six successful art hives in different locations across North America.

This initiative and website is possible thanks to the generous support of the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation and Concordia University. 





Art Hives Team

  • Rachel Chainey

    Rachel Chainey is a social entrepreneur, daily life artist and community organizer.  This curious jill-of-all-trades is passionate about people, stories, intersectional social justice and collaboration. She has been serving as the Art Hives Network National Coordinator since 2014, and working within different Montreal Art Hives since 2010. She is also Co-Founder and Co-Director of Coop Le Milieu, Community Art Studio & Neighbourhood Café, an Art Hive in Montreal, QC, and is currently completing her Masters degree in Art Therapy, for which she is working on a participatory documentary film about Art Hives as her research project. 

  • Janis Timm-Bottos

    Janis Timm-Bottos is passionate about co-creating small, accessible spaces for free community art making in order to increase understanding of ourselves, strengthen our relationships across divides, and build meaningful community life. A former pediatric physical therapist, Janis is an art therapist and associate professor with the Department of Creative Arts Therapies in the Faculty of Fine Arts at Concordia University.

    Over the past twenty years she has collaboratively initiated and run six community art studios (aka art hives): ArtStreet with Albuquerque Health Care for the Homeless; OFFCenter Community Arts Project, a free standing non profit; Kitchen Table Arts, located in a thrift store in Nelson, British Columbia; Montreal’s La Ruche d’Art: Community Studio and Science Shop; and Studio d’Art St Sulpice located in a large social housing neighborhood. Janis is the Director of the Art Hives Initiative and Network. 

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