France : European Trades of the Arts Weekend

Every year France celebrates the Arts by a nation-wide manifestation organized by the various chamber of the arts around the country. Artists are invited to open their studios to the public over a 3 day holiday weekend and various shows and exhibits take place throughout the country to honor the arts. As of last year this event was moved from the Fall to the Spring. As of this year the big change is that  the "National Trades of the Arts Weekend" (Les Journées Nationales des Métiers d'Art") has now become the "European Trades of the Arts Weekend" (Les Journées Européennes des Métiers d'Art") with Italy, Spain and Switzerland joining in the fun ! So ... Mark your calendars! This year the it will take place from March 30th to April 1st, no kidding ;o) ! So if you find yourself in one of these countries, then don't be an April's fool and don't miss out! Hundreds of studios open their doors to the public and various exhibits and shows will take place throughout these 4 participating countries. You can visit the website to discover the list of participating artists and exhibits by choosing the country of your preference.

If you plan to take advantage of this great opportunity  and happen to be in the region of Brittany (Bretagne), then come on over and visit! I will be be taking part in a collective of 15 artists at the Chapelle d'Arradon, a beautifully restored chapel used now specifically for art exhibits and shows. I will be exhibiting many new pieces of my jewelry before they go onto my website and will be doing a hands-on demonstration at 3 pm.

Voilà! Now that's a plan !

Cheers from France to all my creative colleagues!

Angela

Angela Baduel-Crispin

http://www.AngelaCrispin.com

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Comment by Angela Baduel-Crispin on March 16, 2012 at 11:51am

What I find really interesting is that something that started 6 years ago as a national movement has spread over to other countries. I'm not sure, but maybe they already had something similar and are now uniting their efforts in order to further spread the word, this is excellent !

Now, as far as art in schools go, that's another story. In my opinion art is still regarded, as 2 Roses mentioned, as a sort of cute past time/ job dead end here too to a certain degree. Kids have art and music in school until they reach high-school, then it is completely ignored in high-school. But even in grade school it's seen as a nice activity but not as a possible road to travel. Kids don't generally have extra-curricular activities in school and the program is jam-packed from 8 am to 5 pm daily except Wednesday afternoons. So if they want to take a sport or learn to play an instrument or have more in depth art lessons they have to take that privately either after school which is a bit late and kids are tired from intellectual activity, on Wednesday afternoon when school is out,  or on Saturdays.

This also means that parents who can't afford to pay for those private lessons may have to deprive their kids of extra-curricular activities, even in a society which has a strong social consciousness. Some activities are paid proportionately to the parent's wage bracket. But you would be surprised how individualist people can be in a society where social consciousness comes from the government. Some things can sometimes be taken for granted and expected to fall on one's lap and people forget to help and support these actions through individual efforts. People can often forget that it's the union of individual efforts that can move mountains.I don't want to generalize, but it can happen.

On a side note, the "get a real job" thing is international ;o) In Brazil, when I was studying fine arts it was considered to be a "waiting room for a husband" and not a calling.


Imagine what our world would be like if societies valued the arts to the point that there were well paying jobs in the field and that kids wouldn't only be driven to study medicine, engineering and business management? I so agree with 2 Roses: 

"The discussion that should be taking place is one that defines and connects the arts to job creation, the economy, and the overall national competitive strength. This discussion needs to take place in terms that the general non-arts public can understand and relate to."

Imagine if Art ruled the world ... we wouldn't have time or the budget for war, it would all be spent in tools and paint brushes. Everyone would be further questioning self growth and the meaning of life through personal self-expression, and the parks would be filled with neat sculptures, banks would be colorful places ... hmm would they still exist? ... Originality would the norm ... gee, then I might want to go out and look like a business person just to be different (scary image ;o) )

Wouldn't it be a happy, bubbling and organized chaos, just like our studios ;o)))) nah, I'm joking ! Mine is no example ;o)

Comment by Brigitte Martin on March 16, 2012 at 10:49am

2 smart people just pointed out to me that we do have something along those lines in the US:

American Craft Week. website: http://www.craftonline.org/

Looks like a good start indeed. Could probably use more support.

Comment by 2Roses on March 16, 2012 at 9:18am

Contrast this with the decision this week by the Los Angeles Unified School Disctrict, the largest and best funded in the nation, to cut almost all arts programs in elementary schools. These two events demonstrate how differently our societies view the arts. In Europe the arts are integrated into the social fabric and identity of national pride. It is an activity that is organized, has a formal structure and is actively supported by government. In the US, the arts are largely regarded as a superfluous hobby that does not contribute much of value to society in general.

How many of us have heard, "That's cute honey, but when are you going to stop playing around and get a real job."

The discussion that should be taking place is one that defines and connects the arts to job creation, the economy, and the overall national competitive strength. This discussion needs to take place in terms that the general non-arts public can understand and relate to.

Are ANY of our national arts organizations having that discussion with the public?

Comment by Brigitte Martin on March 16, 2012 at 8:14am

Thank you for this really interesting post. It is always good to hear how other countries tackle the topic of getting the word out about artists and their work. So now, of course, I wonder why don't we have something like that in the US? National US Art and Craft Days......  anyone with me on this?

Quoting Angela: "Artists are invited to open their studios to the public over a 3 day holiday weekend and various shows and exhibits take place throughout the country to honor the arts."

Beautiful. I want something like this to happen here!

Comment by Angela Baduel-Crispin on March 16, 2012 at 7:06am

Also interesting to note that the region of Bretagne, in the North-West of France, is the 5th most active region in France with over 250 manifestations during the weekend, 130 of which are programmed for within the Department of Morbihan, on the North-Wester coast where Iive. Pretty cool for a small country like France ! Yay to the Arts!

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