Pantin, France – 'While we are discussing future lifestyles at cultural events, I think it would be nonsensical to exclude companies that are major players in our economy and industry,’ said creative director and curator Kenya Hara when we interviewed him for Frame 113. 'Some people are wary of involving commercial partners. They don’t want to risk making the exhibition too much of a branding showcase. But in the end, when it comes to future living we will need commercial enterprises to realize our ideas.’
He shares this opinion with Eugénie Lefebvre, general manager of Magasins Généraux, a centre for creative arts initiated and run by French advertising firm BETC.
Partnering up is both a necessity and an asset
Lefebvre is aware she is in quite a unique position. ‘Openly collaborating with brands is a freedom I can permit because I’m an extension of an advertising agency. I don’t deal with the same complexities many museums do. In France especially, public cultural institutions don’t like to talk about accepting private money. Even though almost all need to, they don’t feel at ease with it. For me partnering up it’s both a necessity and an asset. Even though BETC invest in Magasins Généraux and two in-house creative directors were appointed, it’s not a foundation and I have to finance my projects by external parties. But I see that as a bonus. Our aim is to develop a cultural programme that’s connected to society and, to achieve that, connecting with today’s most relevant brands is key.’
For the centre’s second cultural season, a partnership with Tinder was realized with the theme Futures of Love. To Lefebvre, it's important that such brands don’t function solely as a sponsor, but actively contribute. Hence why Tinder started an arts residency under their brand claim 'Single, Not Sorry,' for which they tasked three creatives to share their vision on being single in a digital age.