In Support of Contemporary Art,
Photography and Literature
Nélida Nassar 04.10.2012
Currently, twelve out of fifty richest American foundations dedicate their funds to the arts. From these foundation expenditures by Michael Bloomberg, Bernard Osher, Shelby White, David Koch, Robert Daly, Peter Lewis, Paul Allen, Margaret Hoffman, support for the arts, remain in the last position preceded by education, research and medicine. The only exception is for the David Rockefeller Foundation, where arts’ backing is fundamental.
By contrast, France historically and politically has always relied upon vibrant government agencies and the Ministry of Culture to fund and support the arts. Within the last decade, a new philanthropy paradigm, alongside those of the USA, has emerged and developed in the proliferation of French foundations among them the Bernard Arnault, Pierre Bergé – Yves Saint Laurent and François Pinault Foundations to name just a few.
Adding to this roster, the French Champagne, Louis Roederer, has announced the creation of its foundation dedicated to contemporary art. Its mission is to support artists by promoting and popularizing their work. One of the last independent champagne houses in France, its relationship to the arts is not recent–it has been an art patron for the last ten years. Recently, the Ministry of Culture acknowledged this commitment by bestowing the insignia of the Republic Cultural Grand Patron to Frederick Rouzaud, the chairman of Roederer Champagne since 2006.
The foundation’s board is comprised of many prominent figures. Among them are the writer Michèle Fitoussiand and the designer Philippe Starck. Its mission is to extend the reach and foster the understanding of contemporary art. For the last decade, it has also promoted literature and photography. The foundation has created a partnership with the Palais de Tokyo which is slated to become the largest European Center for Contemporary Art. The Palais is currently undergoing an extensive renovation and will open soon to the public.
For the occasion, Roederer Champagne has commissioned an art piece from Jean-Michel Alberola that will be installed permanently at the Palais de Tokyo. The foundation’s endowment until 2014 is 580,000 Euros per year states Mr. Rozaud. The Roederer intends to open in 2013, a contemporary exhibition space in its headquarters in Rheims. Besides its commitment to the arts, Roederer is also dedicated to ecology by becoming the first biodynamic champagne vineyards.
As artists, we welcome Roederer Champagne’s endeavor and initiative, wishing that more individuals and corporations would follow suit worldwide.
Originally Published in Berkshire Fine Arts