About Portage


Cassidy Lake residents explore the importance of having passion in their lives with Canadian contemporary artist, Reg Noël

This spring, Moncton artist Reg Noël approached Portage Atlantic with a proposal to volunteer his time to conduct a collective art project with the residents of Cassidy Lake.

Using his trademark materials of copper and concrete, Noël worked with 39 youth from Portage Atlantic’s Cassidy Lake facility to create a contemporary art expression that now hangs proudly in the centre’s main entrance.

“The result,” writes Noël, “is an artistic expression representing the great things we can accomplish through cooperation and teamwork. It also represents Portage Atlantic’s commitment and dedication to helping its residents regain a healthy and productive lifestyle.”

Reg Noël spent many years unaware of his artistic abilities, trying on various professions in what felt like a hopeless pursuit of joy and pride in his work. In 2004, out of work and depressed at the age of 43, Noël took what felt like rock bottom and turned it around.

Taking the time to explore his personality and aptitudes with a career counselor, he had an epiphany that would totally change his life. Suddenly, after years of struggling to do ‘the right thing’, Reg Noël realised he had been going against his grain and devaluing the potential in his uniqueness. Noël shed those expectations then and there, and stepped forward to take his place in Canada’s heritage as an outstanding contemporary artist.

The purpose of the project at Cassidy Lake was to engage the youth in an exploration of their own uniqueness and creative potential, and to encourage them to discover their passions.

The piece of art was created on March 17th and the unveiling was on June 16th.

Hunter, a resident at Cassidy Lake, spoke to some reporters about the experience: “It inspired me a lot. I think that’s when I decided I was going to do something with art in some form.” Hunter finished the Portage program in June and plans to finish high school and perhaps go on to study graphic design.

“This was an important project for me, in that one of my goals is to help others understand the importance of passion in our lives” said Noël. “Based on their reaction, I feel like at least a few of the residents at Portage have understood my message.”

Kathy Kaulfield, journalist for the Telegraph Journal, wrote an excellent article on this project and on Reg Noël’s journey of self-discovery that lead him to become an advocate of what he calls the “Passion – Success link”. 

Click here to read the article

Reg Noël with a resident

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