Creation of the Grand Paris Express endowment fund

On 17 May 2016, the Grand Paris Express endowment fund was born, a new body chaired by Remi Babinet (BETC) and co-founded by Xavier Lépine (La Française). The Grand Paris Express is a project to construct 200 km of metro lines and 68 new stations by 2030, making it an urban project that is “one of the most ambitious in Europe”. This project is accompanied by an artistic and cultural programme entrusted to Jérôme Sans (co-founder of the Palais de Tokyo) and José-Manuel Gonçalvès (director of the CENTQUATRE-Paris). The new endowment fund aims to gather private funds to support and develop the implementation of these artistic projects. The Grand Paris Express endowment fund was created by the Société du Grand Paris that manages this cultural project. According to Rémi Babinet, chairman of the new fund: “We’re getting the chance to experience an extraordinary adventure – the metamorphosis of our capital. A new scale, new routes, dynamics, projections, the future Grand Paris Express metro system will drive transformation never seen since the 19th century. It is primordial to make these stakes understood, to share them with inhabitants so that the project takes up its full social dimension. Thanks to creation, we’ll be able to collaborate, dialogue, shine – take part in bringing about a “post-ring road” culture and constructing the story of Grand...

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EU cancels its funding to southern Italy

The European Union is withdrawing its funding to southern Italy, namely to Sicily, Calabria and Campania. These three regions failed to use the EU funding accorded to them, namely $57.7 million in 2015 for Sicily alone. A report commissioned by Brussels has revealed that projects for renovating Sicily’s cultural and historic heritage between 2007 and 2013 are riddled with numerous errors, inconsistencies, fake figures and also fake email addresses. The situation poses a direct threat to cultural heritage, namely the Castello Normanno-Svevo, constructed near the Sicilian port of Augusta by Emperor Frederick II in the 13th century; for this site, the Union offered $11.3 million in funding that was unused by Italian authorities due to the lack of a relevant project. A similar situation arose in relation to the Aidone Archaeological Museum in Sicily that wished to renovate its galleries but failed to put forward a reliable project according to EU criteria. Meanwhile, in Naples, a $113.3 million grant for conserving churches was not paid as the application did not reach the EU by the set deadline. The director of the UNESCO World Heritage Centre, Mechtild Rössler, wrote to the Italian minister of culture and to Italian UNESCO delegates in January, asking them for explanations on this situation that directly threatens heritage in these...

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The Van Gogh Museum to sell its services to collectors

The Van Gogh Museum has found a way to raise new funds: an offer of consultancy services for collectors. This original initiative should allow the institution to make up for the loss of various public subsidies. The institution’s offer of consulting services for conservation and museum management targets companies, other public institutions, but also private collections. Finding new funds is a constant challenge for museums, especially in the current economic context. While museums are used to sharing their collections and knowledge about these collections, the commercial use of this wealth is still a taboo in this milieu. The new service, stemming from a pilot project initiated two years ago, aims at having museum staff spend 5 to 10 % of their working time offering these new services, namely for educational programmes. If demand is high, then jobs will be created. Adriaan Dönszelmann, managing director at the Van Gogh Museum sees no ethical problems in this development, but instead, a way to offer advice on the art market to collectors whose acquisitions can potentially be shown in museums. Another example of a public/private partnership, this time initiated by the public sector. The new financing model arises at just the right time to compensate for the decline in public funding going to the museum (-€7 million per year), in other words 20% of the museum’s total...

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Egyptian museum faces funding crisis

Egyptian Streets has reported that the construction of the Grand Egyptian Museum in Giza, which was due to open this summer, has widely exceeded cost estimates, and requires another $300 million for completion. Construction of the museum, which is to be Egypt’s largest, began in 2012. Situated on a 117-acre plot near the Giza Pyramids, by the time the new museum opens it will have cost a staggering total of $1.1 billion. The country’s Antiquities Minister, Mamdouh Al-Damaty, blames the ballooning cost of the project on the weakness of the Egyptian pound relative to the US dollar. So far the Egyptian government has provided $37 million to the project, whilst the Japanese Agency for Development has provided an additional $140 million. The museum, which organisers claim will have “universal human value,” has previously been subject to controversy, when, in March of this year, the throne of King Tutankhamun was damaged whilst being transferred to the site from the Egyptian...

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Liverpool’s World Museum gets £300,000 government grant

The World Museum in Liverpool is to benefit from a £300,000 grant from the British government, which they will use to expand their Ancient Egypt section, and build a room specifically dedicated to mummies. The money will allow the museum to show 4,000 additional objects from its collection, double the number of mummies they currently have on display, and to animate a Book of the Dead scroll as part of a new display. On their website, the museum also expressed their desire to re-create a pre-Second World War display from before the museum was bombed in the Blitz. In addition to this, they are to use the money to share new research about their 16,000-artefact-strong collection, and to install new equipment to regulate environmental conditions for the collections. The money comes from UK Department for Culture, Media, and Sport’s Wolfson Museums and Galleries Improvement...

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