In this week’s installment of Art Related Things I Read in the New York Times (previous installmentsĀ 1 and 2), at the end of December I read an article about the recent shift towards crowdfunding by major institutions in Paris. Austerity measures that are sweeping across Europe have been particularly hard on France, where the first cultural budget cut in more than 30 years has resulted in only (a meager) $3.1 billion. “Money for new art acquisitions has shrunk to $11.1 million, from $26 million in 2009,” according to the article. Thanks to a French start-up, called My Major Company, anyone can donate to help, say, restore the dome of the Pantheon, or help the Louvre acquire a 13th-century pair of statuettes. In fact, with the help of 2,500 art-enthusiast average Joes, the Louvre has raised over $650k. In 2010, when they wanted a 16th-century oil painting, crowdfunding helped raise $1.6m. Donations earn exclusive tickets to private events and parties, or just a photograph of your face outside the entrance to the Pantheon. Personally, I’d like a wing dedicated in my honor, but that’s just because I’m greedy.

Public funding of the arts is sort of a staple here (think: PBS, list of major donors etched into every wall of every museum in the country) but is a relatively new phenomenon in France. I’d like to think that I’d contribute to the Lyon Museum’s bid for a $1mĀ Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres painting, but I (shamefully) don’t even donate to the arts here aside from an annual membership to the Philadelphia Museum of Art. People generally want incentives for their generosity (the article even mentions the ubiquitous free PBS tote bags). Would you donate to art for art’s sake? Or would the tickets to a private party at the Louvre really sway you?

10 thoughts on “Crowdfunding

  1. Hah of course I wouldn’t say NO to free tickets… I’d love to be able to do this more in 2013 – and squeeze in some more gallery visits. I always feel a little bit out of my element but that’s never a bad thing when it comes to art

  2. What *is* that little box front and center in the picture? Clue me in because at first I thought it was one of those little arrow thingies that you hit when you want to move forward or backward in a slideshow. Our local (surprisingly good for the size of our city) art museum is getting ready to close for renovations for more than a year. We don’t go often, but I’m going to miss it so much. I’m determined to become a member when they open back up. If I like what they did with the place, that is. ;)

  3. I have my name on the penguin pool in London Zoo as my mum contributed for a Christmas present one year. Does that count? Personally I’d rather have had a diptique candle.

    And yes I love orangery the most. Partly becuase it’s quite strong so you don’t need to burn it for long so it lasts longer. Get that one and you can pretend you’re in my bedroom wtih me wink wink.

    Feu de bois is really nice for the winter too. xx

  4. i think if i had the money, i would definitely donate for the sake of art. however, fisher went to an art based elementary school which was great but it also made me realize how little we really take in art in our modern culture – outside of movies/tv/music & other spoon feed art. which, don’t get me wrong, after a kardashians marathon watching a indie movie feels like a trip through moma. so i would personally rather have something attached to the donations that will continue to get people interested in art. and it’s just better marketing man.

  5. Isn’t it sad that somehow art & education are always seem to be first for budget cuts. I would happily give just for the art but wouldn’t say no to any freebies/incentives. A great incentive would be, at least for me, to be able to touch the art. I am always tempted ;)

  6. Oh, how I wish I lived closer to the Louvre. I am torn between wanting to financially support the arts for future generations, and wanting to be able to regularly peruse and enjoy that which I am helping to sustain. Although, frequent round trip tickets to visit would be very enticing…but I suppose that would make me more of a benefactor for the airlines than the arts ;)

  7. Ha- I’m with Nina- I’d give to be able to feel the brush strokes with my own hands.
    Otherwise, if I were in the position, I think I’d give just for the sake of art.

  8. Crowdsourcing sounds similar to Kickstarter, right? Both sound like genius ways to raise funds for good causes. I would give just for the art, though I wouldn’t refuse perks. Seems like a win-win to me as Nina and Christine so aptly pointed out.

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