A little history
“L’Association des amis du Presbytère de Blue Sea” was started in 2012 when a group of citizens decided to rescue a building long vacated, shaded by the belfry of the village church, the former presbytery of the parish of St-Félix. Their idea was to make it a gathering place, highlighting culture and the arts, reflecting the dynamic energy of folks in the community. Municipal officials were impressed: the building was acquired by the municipality and made available to the Association. In 2013 it was incorporated as a non-profit organization. A wonderful community civic adventure was started, and has continued to develop over the past 7 years.
Create, innovate, share
With a recurring membership of over 150 members, “Le Presbytère” has become over the years a unique place of creation and gathering in the Vallée-de-la-Gatineau. Thirty artists and artisans of all ages exhibit their works, each more original than the last. A community garden grows in the organic soil of our ancestors. Stories are told, films are produced, shows and workshops are held, recipes are concocted, links are made. In short, culture unfolds there with all the authenticity and liveliness of the folks you’ll meet there. For almost a decade now, an idea has grown: the desire to share.
A culture of sharing. A sharing of culture.
“Le Presbytère de Blue Sea” has grown thanks to the commitment of its volunteers on the one hand, and community openness and sharing on the other. We are witnessing an inclusive and effervescent collective project, where culture is experienced daily, without pretence, without borders. Many people contribute: residents, cottagers, tourists, businesses. Many people benefit: the children of the (newly re-opened!) village elementary school, the students of a special-needs school in Maniwaki, adult education students and immigrants, among others.
A well-established reputation
“L’Association des amis du Presbytère de Blue Sea” benefits greatly from the skills of the members of its board of directors, most of whom are active or retired teachers or leaders in the arts, in communications and management.
In addition, about sixty volunteers are actively engaged in this community project, which has been acclaimed with several awards: the Nicole-Patry Prize, the Regional Council Prize for Culture in the Outaouais, Les Culturiades 2012 (Sylvie Grégoire); 2016 Community engagement award, MRC de la Vallée-de-la-Gatineau; Finalist, cultural / artistic event 2014, MRC de la Vallée-de-la-Gatineau; “Favoris du public” 2012, Tourisme Vallée-de-la-Gatineau; finalist, Culturiades de l’Outaouais 2014; “Favorite” activity, 2019, awarded by the national organization of Les Journées de la culture 2019.
Consistency and quality
From the start, “L’Association des amis du Presbytère de Blue Sea” has shown consistency and quality in its cultural achievements. For example, it has organized the Journées de la culture (Cultural Days) in the municipality of Blue Sea every year since 2012. In addition, on several occasions it has received regional and provincial recognition. Finally, it was able to bring together a group of about thirty generous, loyal and committed artists and artisans.
Ability to work in collaboration with school partners
“Le Presbytère” has collaborated from the very start with the Reine-Perreault elementary school in Blue Sea. Projects were also carried out with the active participation of students from the Sacré-Coeur elementary and secondary school in Gracefield as well as with the Jean-Bosco Centre in Maniwaki. Finally, video creation learning workshops were were created by retired Radio-Canada producer Pierre St-Denis, and presented to adult students at the Hauts-Bois-de-l’Outaouais school board.
Participants followed a three-pronged approach: first, the inspiration phase (imagine), followed by the realization phase (create) and finally, the evaluation phase (perceive).