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.




Funders and Partners


  • 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. 

  • Rachel Chainey

    Rachel Chainey is an art therapist, 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 at Concordia University 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.

  • Nelly Daou

    Artist and lover of words, creativity coach and social entrepreneur, Nelly Daou founded La Ruche Yéléma in Montreal's neighbourhood Rosemont-la-Petite-Patrie. In April 2018, she joined the Art Hives HQ team as a part-time communications consultant. Nelly is also a board member of Culture Montreal, through she actively pursues a mission of citizen participation in art and culture. 

  • Sondra Goldman

    Sondra Goldman has been working as an art therapist at Donald Berman Maimonides Geriatric Centre (DBM) for the last 25 years. She has an MA in Art Therapy from Concordia University and has dedicated her professional life to community development through the arts. To achieve these goals, she has been supervising Creative Arts Therapies graduate students, throughout her career, and she brings this experience into her recent work as an onsite supervisor for students doing their internships in the International Art Hives Network.

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