I became acquainted with Denise recently during an opening at the Maison culturelle et communautaire in Montreal North. I was struck by the warmth and the conviction with which she presented the artist exhibiting there for the summer 2015. It is however at a subsequent meeting on the site of the Moulins on l’Île-de-la-Visitation that this resident of Ahuntsic and I talked about the course of her career.
Ninth of ten children of a modest family, with a father who worked at the CNR, Denise remembers walking, as a child, from the family residence on de Lille Street near Charland to the river. The riverside at the time was left uncultivated, she notes, and did not announce the beautiful park we know today.
As a teenager, she was passionate about life and the city, and despite her young age, she aspired to be hired within the team preparing Expo 67. To achieve this, she bought a suit and asked repeatedly to meet with the Mayor of Terre des Hommes, Philippe de Gaspé Beaubien. Through determination and persistence, she got the appointment and a modest job in the team. The following year she worked as a hostess at the Quebec Pavilion during the Expo. Like many people who worked there, the experience was exhilarating and opened many doors for her. The following year, she traveled to Britain to learn English and found employment at the Canadian Embassy as a receptionist. In 1970, she was hired at the Quebec Pavilion of the Osaka international exhibition.
It is with this autonomous woman background that she became a mother. Married to an academic at once mathematician and economist with whom she had three daughters, she followed him with the kids to California, where he completed a doctorate. Determined to remain independent, she taught French conversation to academics without holding a degree herself. Back in Quebec, in Rimouski, where her husband returned to a teaching position at UQAR, she worked for the local Radio-Canada station before completing a degree in communications at Laval University.
After holding different temporary positions in the Accès-Culture network in various districts of Montreal, she finally obtained her permanency two years ago as a cultural agent in Montreal North, at an age when many have already retired. She is making significant efforts to bring people in this community and artists together. Amongst other things, she organized an exhibition of artists from the urban art gallery Fresh Paint and presented the intercultural show "Des Mots sur mesure" and a series of Blues shows. She is currently preparing cultural mediation activities for the fall 2015 inauguration of the public art project "La Vélocité des lieux” (The velocity of places) by the art collective BGL.
Passionate about culture, she plans to keep on sharing her artistic crushes for many years to come.