Le Centre d’Art, built in the Gingerbread style and dating from 1914, collapsed during the earthquake on January 12, 2010. Its director since 1965, Francine Murat, died several months after the earthquake at the age of 92.
This grand institution, weakened over the course of the years preceding the earthquake by the drop in artwork sales and the country’s global context, requires a thorough reorganization.
Le Centre d’Art board of directors, already assisted by FOKAL (Fondasyon Konesans ak Libète – Haiti) since the earthquake, was first introduced to the Daniel and Nina Carasso Foundation (under the aegis of the Fondation de France) in 2012. With the help of these partners, a plan of action forLe Centre d’Art revival was thoroughly brainstormed and developed.
“Le Centre d’Art in Port-au-Prince, Emergence and Resurgence” by Anne Lescot
Between 2012 and 2015, Le Centre d’Art underwent renovations in order to reorganize the space while encouraging participatory input regarding the overall reconstruction of the institution.
In terms of the Center’s space, the following achievements were accomplished:
- Construction of a reserve for the artworks;
- Reconstruction of the outer walls (124 linear meters)
- Demolition and removal of the rubble;
- Ground studies;
- Leveling of the terrain;
- Construction of a work space adjacent to the reserves;
- Construction of a 50 m2 wooden building for classes and events;
- Construction of bathrooms;
- Installation of electricity and plumbing;
- Landscaping and improvement of the site with historical artifacts (citations, photos) or exterior works
At the institutional level, the following achievements were accomplished:
- Recruitment of a technical team in charge of managing the Center’s revival;
- Sorting administrative archives and other documents from the Center since 1944;
- Setting up of a new board of directors and new statutes;
- Setting up of an administrative structure for auditing purposes;
- Regularization with authorities (registration and credit clearance certificate);
- Development of local and international partnerships (reunion des musées nationaux – Grand Palais, Ecole du Louvre);
- Development of the Center’s new corporate identity and style guide as well as social network tools (Facebook, website, posters, etc.)
Furthermore, Le Centre d’Art revived its activities for the public. In November 2014, it reopened its doors on the occasion of its 70th anniversary.
In March 2015, art classes and artistic workshops started back up and Le Centre d’Art found a new place on the Haitian cultural scene. For the first three months, the Center developed a programming for people young and old with a rotation of professors chosen among renowned artists (Pascale Monnin, Levoy Exil, Frantz Zephirin, Tessa Mars, etc.). Workshops bringing artists, both Haitian (Killy, Maksaens Denis) and foreign (Habdaphai, Kossi Assou), together were also welcomed by Le Centre d’Art as part of the Contemporary Art Forum. During the first six months after reopening, Le Centre d’Art proliferated their activity and once again became indispensable to the Haitian art world.
Le Centre d’Art faces multiple challenges:
- Develop a program and welcome the public daily while dealing with limited infrastructures;
- Conserve and promote the Center’s heritage before reconstruction begins (collections, archives);
- Develop a consistent long-term project and plan the building of an institution with ambitious functions;
- Find partners likely to help finance the Center’s reconstruction or commit to certain long-term actions.
In 2016, Le Centre d’Art plans on:
- Creating a research committee;
- Carrying out a collection assessment in partnership with the Ecole du Louvre;
- Finalizing Le Centre d’Art research and cultural project;
- Creating an architectural design brief and launching an architectural competition;
- Launching the Haitian Art Portal on the Center’s website;
- Setting up a workshop dedicated to photography and digital arts in partnership with FotoKonbit (www.fotokonbit.org);
- Developing content for cultural policies destined for schools;
- Developing workshops dedicated to artists and continuing classes for the public.
After several years of hibernation, it was decided to first prioritize the Center’s reopening in order to renew its ties with the public. Indeed, with the lack of museums and artistic educational centers, Le Centre d’Art wanted to study the needs of the public and artists in order to propose a site adapted to their interests and rebuild a place corresponding to its functions.
Several processes helped to define how to best orient Le Centre d’Art going forward. In 2014, an in-depth study of Le Centre d’Art and a benchmark evaluation of different cultural institutions were performed with the help of prestigious partners including the Réunion des musées nationaux – Grand Palais (Rmn-GP). In 2015, Le Centre d’Art concentrated on drafting its research and cultural project, an indispensable document defining the scope of work for a museum. This document will help launch, at the beginning of 2016, the architectural design brief for the new Centre d’Art with the support of a specialized service provider.
Le Centre d’Art hopes to launch an architectural competition in 2016-2017 for the building’s future reconstruction.
FOKAL has been a partner of Le Centre d’Art since 2010. It was joined by another foundation, the Daniel and Nina Carasso Foundation (under the aegis of the Fondation de France) in 2012. In addition to their financial support, these two partners are implicated in technical assistance and networking for Le Centre d’Art.
FOKAL – Fondasyon konesans ak Libète is a Haitian national foundation, which was created in 1995, received public interest status in 2000 and is currently a member of the Open Society Foundations. FOKAL’s mission is to promote the structures necessary for the establishment of a democratic, fair and unified society; encourage individuals’ autonomy through education; reinforce organizational processes in preparation for active participation in democratic management. It not only intervenes in the cultural domain, but also urban planning, civic rights, community development, the environment, etc.
To find out more: www.fokal.org
The Daniel and Nina CARASSO Foundation, under the aegis of the Fondation de France, was created in 2010. Its goal is to finance projects in the two major domains that it believes contributes the most to the prosperity of the human race: “food, in order to maintain life and art, in order to enrich the mind.” Since 2011, the Daniel and Nina Carasso Foundation has committed to helping the board of directors and FOKAL brainstorm Le Centre d’Art successful revival. These two foundations co-financed a preliminary study on rebuilding the site, as well as necessary security renovations. The Collectif 2004 Images has also provided technical support paid for by the Daniel and Nina Carasso Foundation. A plan of action for Le Centre d’Art revival was formalized and in November 2013 the partners decided to ask a consultant to ensure its coordination.
To find out more: www.fondationcarasso.org
In 2014, Le Centre d’Art collaborated with the Rmn-Grand Palais (www.rmn.fr) as part of the HAITI exhibit at the Grand Palais, and thanks to the patronage of the Daniel and Nina Carasso Foundation, temporary technical support and a communication space were provided.
In 2016, the école du Louvre (www.ecoledulouvre.fr) and Le Centre d’Art started a three-year internship program. Students from the école du Louvre will be offered internships to help carry out a collection assessment and set up communication tools at the Centre.
The Swiss embassy-Swiss development cooperation supports Le Centre d’Art in the launch of a space dedicated to “digital” arts.
Le Centre d’Art is a public interest institution…+ Find out more
History and archives
Created in 1944 under the impetus of the…+ Find out more
A public interest foundation, Le Centre d’Art is…+ Find out more