What is the Art Hive Network?

The Art Hives Network connects small and  regenerative  community art studios (known as Art Hives) 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 different socio-economic backgrounds, ages, cultures and abilities.  


An Art Hive: 

  • welcomes everyone as an artist and believes art-making is a human behaviour. 
  • celebrates the strengths and creative capacities of individuals and communities. 
  • fosters self-directed experiences of creativity, learning, and skill sharing.  
  • encourages emerging grassroots leaders of all ages. 
  • provides free access as promoted by the 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 practise 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 MA, ATPQ is a mother, art therapist, social entrepreneur, educator, and multi-tasking artist based in Tiohtià:ke/Montréal, QC. She obtained her MA in Creative Art Therapies from Concordia University (2018), prior to which she has collected an eclectic undergraduate and experiential background in the intersecting fields of Cultural Animation, Social Entrepreneurship, Studio Arts, Psychology, Graphic Design and Communications. This ever-expanding creative toolbox is put to use through her Public Practice Art Therapy work as the Art Hives HQ and Network Coordinator (since 2014). Rachel serves as the Vice- President of the Quebec Art Therapists’ Association (since 2020), was the Conference Chair for the Canadian Art Therapy Association in 2018, and is a part-time faculty member at the Winnipeg Holistic Expressive Art Therapies Institute (since 2022). She is passionate about people’s stories and creativity, and specifically interested in developing ways in which we can live and work with more mutual care, creating sustainable futures for all living beings.

  • Carmen Oprea

    Carmen is an art therapist holding a master's in Art Therapy and a master's in Fine Arts, followed by post-graduate training in sandplay therapy. 

    She is an art facilitator and supervisor with Concordia Art Hives and she is implicated in promoting accessible art and sandplay therapy in the communities. 

    Her professional trajectory also includes offering art therapy to seniors from various day centres and residences, to First Nations and Inuit children and teenagers, and a clientele of various ages and diverse problems in her private practice. 

    She facilitates self-esteem and self-identity groups in the governmental sector and in communities. She uses art and sandplay therapy as alternative ways to communicate and promote well-being and insight when words cannot describe the depth of one’s experience. 

  • Melissa Sokoloff

    Melissa is a registered art therapist with the Canadian Art Therapy Association and a supervisor for the Art Hive Network. She facilitates Art Therapy Public Practice round tables at Concordia Art Hives, where people are invited to use their creativity to express their challenges and successes in the studio space.

    She also facilitates the Network's Community of Practice to help facilitators develop, promote, and sustain their community-based arts practices.  

    With a PhD in Applied Human Sciences, a master’s degree in Art Therapy and a bachelor's degree in Health Sciences, she has developed a holistic vision that integrates the historical and psychosocial determinants of health through accessible, equitable and inclusive creative workshops.

    For the past 15 years, she has worked as an art therapist with adults with mental health problems and has collaborated with Inuit and First Nations in urban and community settings. Through her private practice, she has witnessed how art can express the depth of experience and foster creative solutions for people of different ages, genders, cultures and for various issues.

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