Ladies and gentlemen,
In 1982, a great idea was born here: to constitute and to give to the greatest number a collection of contemporary art unique in each of these newly created Regions of France, with each Region and for each Region. FRAC - the regional funds of contemporary art - were born.
Three decades have passed.
There are now 23 FRAC, one in each metropolitan area and one on Reunion Island, which have constituted, year after year, the third collection of contemporary art in France with more than 26,000 works by 4,200 artists that are seen every year by 1 million visitors!
That is why I am particularly proud and pleased to welcome you today to introduce you The Pleiades, the event that was conceived to celebrate the 30 years of FRAC and thus mark the attachment of my ministry to these major instruments of visibility and diffusion of the plastic arts in France.
As you know, FRAC was born from an exemplary partnership between the Ministry of Culture and Communication and the Regional Councils. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Alain Rousset, President of the Association des Régions de France, who was unable to join us and all the representatives of the communities who are with us today. Your presence further confirms, if need be, the place of culture in partnership policies carried out throughout the territory and, as I like to say, the challenge that culture can and must play at all levels of public action. The regions have supported the creation of FRAC since 1982 and have even increased their participation during these 30 years for the acquisitions of works of art or their functioning but they have been present, How many, when new conservation and dissemination requirements have to be met, by creating new places called second generation FRAC, I would prefer to call them new generation FRAC. Not that the first generation FRAC was obsolete, on the contrary, they were entering adulthood and wanted more developed tools.
Because the ambitions of FRAC are large and diverse.
Create a collection.
The members of the FRAC Technical Purchasing Committees ensure a permanent watch of the creation of which they are tireless pioneers, constantly in search of new works and projects, they have created a unique link with the artists. With a host of artists, I could say, since they are the artists, who are at the heart of the flagship event of the 30 years.
Acquiring works has meaning only to show them. And here again, the work of the FRAC is remarkable since each year they organize more than one hundred exhibitions in their premises but also more than 400 exhibitions in the rest of the territory, especially in places not dedicated to art: colleges, high schools, hospitals, retirement homes or high heritage places. And we should add the numerous loans of works and partnerships with foreign institutions.
These 23 FRAC, essential elements of the cultural development of the territory, offer to each citizen a proximity with art, works, and artists, more and more numerous, who are personally involved in sharing projects. Because it is also a FRAC, a place of sharing, openness and adventure where all audiences, whatever their origins, cultural habits or disabilities, can find a source of fulfillment. The FRAC have been pioneers and are still the major places of arts and cultural education thanks to the actions in permanent renewal that they imagine. You know that this is one of the concerns of the Government and the President of the Republic. It is one of my priorities in my mandate. The mission entrusted to Marie Despléchin has given me its conclusions and I am working closely with Vincent Peillon to strengthen our actions in this area. Through their policy of welcoming school visitors (more than 200,000 students welcomed in 2012) and their mediation mechanisms and cultural programming, FRAC fully participate in this crucial objective for the youth of our country.
It was necessary to create an exceptional event to celebrate the 30 years of these exceptional institutions. All FRAC imagined together the project Les Pleiades. I warmly thank the Presidents, Directors and all the teams for their involvement, assisted by their professional association Platform, represented here by its President, Bernard de Montferrand. Pléiades is a constellation of exhibitions for a constellation of FRAC illuminating the entire territory. 23 artists, creators, many of whom are with us today, have been invited to bring their gaze, relevant, entertained, offbeat, sensitive, on the collections of each FRAC for an unprecedented exhibition throughout the year. In September, at the FRAC Midi-Pyrénées in the Abattoirs of Toulouse, a collective exhibition will offer an overview of all these artists' views to an audience that I am sure will be numerous.
I announced last week a tour of France of initiatives in the field of arts and cultural education, this trip will of course also take me to the FRAC and their anniversary exhibitions and especially all the mediation actions that will be organized around these exhibitions.
On the occasion of their 30th anniversary, I express the hope that the FRAC will continue for a long time to be the factories of cultural and artistic link that they are - as the school is a factory of social link - and places of excellence at the service of all artists, all territories and all audiences.
I cannot conclude without mentioning Jack Lang, who is doing us the honour of being here, and Claude Mollard. They had the audacity to invent. The crisis was no less severe than today. François Mitterrand followed them, encouraged them. Today we must regain that audacity.
When you arrived, dear Jack, the policy in favor of the plastic arts was in its infancy. In thirty years, it is the field of artistic creation that has experienced the most important development with a growing enthusiasm of diverse and new audiences. Our country owes you that. Artists owe you that.