Why the Arts Matter: Jean-Francois and Marie-Laure Foundation

According to Gov.uk, the GVA or Gross Value Added of the Creative Industries was £84.1bn in 2014 and accounted for 5.2 per cent of the UK economy.

Furthermore, the GVA of the Creative Industries was 3.9 per cent of total UK GVA in 1997, but had increased to 5.2 per cent in 2014.

Despite these encouraging statistics, the arts is said to be on the decline.The Warwick commission report, 2015 found that between 2003 and 2013 the numbers of students taking arts subjects drastically declined:

There was a 50% reduction of students taking Design and Technology at GCSE level, 25% decrease in craft related subjects and 23% in drama.

Since 2010 the number of arts teachers in schools has declined by 11% in schools.

                                                        Jean-Francois and Marie-Laure Foundation


Jean-Francois and Marie-Laure Foundation

 The non-profit foundation based in Brussels aims to address these declining intakes in the arts by providing scholarships in art education for young disadvantaged people.

The foundation strives to develop art and culture from young creators from developing countries by supporting philanthropic projects whilst enhancing the full spectrum of the arts: from literacy, to visuals, to musicals and cinematography.

Grants are given to young people to study in a French-speaking university or a French-speaking higher education establishment, which then allows them to apply their training in their native countries.

The Clermont-Tonnerre Family

 The Clermont-Tonnerre family is part of the French noble family, known for their part in the French Revolution. Their heritage dates back tothe 11th century where members held key roles in society such as: lords, knights, princes, dukes, abbots and army officials.

The Jean-Francois and Marie-Laure Foundation was set up in 2009 by Marie-Laure and her husband Jean François.

Their foundation has been a supporter of “Friends of the Fine Arts” in Paris and supports activities in the ÉcoleNationaleSupérieure des Beaux-Arts.

It has built the Indian Friendship Centre in Mumbai that cares for and educates underprivileged children.

It also supports MAPE Heritage, Architecture Model Environment, teaching young people about architectural practices.

                                                                     Why the liberal arts matter

Untitled #1 Democratic Societies and Debate
According to the Arts Council England in 2015, since 2009, local councils in England have cut more than £56 million of arts funding. Despite reductions in funding, the arts still remain a vital and necessary ingredient to any liberal, democratic society.

After all, the arts engagethe public to have healthy and vibrant debates on controversial issues such as feminism, freedom of speech and human rights. By opening up dialogue, art forces us to challenge initial opinions.


#2 Diversity and Equal Opportunity
In the Warwick Commission report, 2015, it describes arts audiences as being mostly middle class and white. This year also saw the government confirming that university fees will continue to rise above the £9,000 per year cap to £9,250 in 2017.

Many have seen these facts as discouraging, making the arts unattainable for poorer people from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Foundations such as the French, Jean-Francois and Marie-Laure Foundation is now more important than ever since they open up access to a liberal arts degree to those who would typically be unable to afford it.

 #3 Economic Value

As stated, the GVA or Gross Value Added of the Creative Industries was £84.1bn in 2014. Therefore the arts massively contribute to society.

Einstein once said, “All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree.” Instead of seeing them as separate entities, perhaps it is important to take an integrated viewpoint by understanding how they can contribute to one another.

#4 Reconnection, Imagination and Possibility

 All good art reconnects us to ourselves by letting our imaginations go on a journey. Art does not necessarily just mean an escape from the banal, but can also make one look at their everyday experience from a different perspective.

Digital culture and access to information has allowed art and ideas to be shared immediately, which has had a massive global effect. Through the help of funding and scholarships, there are now many opportunities young people are engaging with to make art they care about.

#5 Human Connection

 Despite the massive drive in technology and digital culture humans essentially still need to connect to one another on a human level.

Art does this whilst also encouraging people to visit, engage and communicate about what they have seen. New multi-media, immersive artworks such as Yayoi Kusama, has seen massive popularity worldwide, showing that the arts are as relevant as ever.