Launching of the Fondation Avenir du Patrimoine à Paris


William Bouguereau (1825-1905)
Décor of the chapel of Saint-Pierre-Saint-Paul
(left side of the transept)
Oil on canvas marouflée
Photo : Didier Rykner

11/2/14 - Heritage - Parisian churches - The widespread coverage in the media of the critical condition of Parisian churches, to which we contributed significantly, has finally resulted in shaking things up a bit. The reaction does not come from City Hall since the "plan église" [church plan] presented in Anne Hidalgo’s program (80 million euros) [1] represents a very slight increase in the usual budget allocations granted by the city and which fall desperately short as we see today. However, several patrons have stepped forward as more and more private companies are showing their interest in making up for the city’s failings.

Thus, a new foundation, "Avenir du patrimoine à Paris", [The future of heritage in Paris] has just been launched with the sponsorship of the Fondation Notre Dame, which in turn falls under the Paris Diocesis.
The fact that the church is interested in restoring the buildings under its care is an excellent initiative which we highly commend. The goal of this new foundation is to raise 7 million euros in three years focusing on three sites : Saint Augustin, Saint Merri and the church of the Madeleine. This fundraiser will be carried out by each church with a specifically identified fund, appealing directly to businesses and individuals which will benefit from tax deductions.

We would nevertheless like to point out a rather strange confusion in this operation which needs to be corrected. Among the various potential sources of funding, the Fondation "will encourage the display of billboards on the buildings restored". Not only is this an extremely bad idea, reinforcing a trend which heritage supporters should be fighting, but it is also totally irrelevant. As explained by Danièle Pourtaud, deputy director of heritage at Paris city hall, and with whom we agree full-heartedly for once (there is always an exception to the rule), billboards are not patronage and cannot qualify for tax deductions. Providing tax deductions to companies which are already polluting our city with their advertising would be the last drop in an already scandalous practice.
There is yet another nebulous point in this project : the Fondation does not mention the much needed restoration of mural paintings as part of the work in these three churches. Although they cannot be treated of course until the roofs have been repaired, in many churches they represent the most threatened aspect of the building. Donors can however specify that their donations go directly to the restoration of the painted décor.

Version française


Didier Rykner, mardi 11 février 2014


Notes

[1] Anne Hidalgo is the Socialist candidate for the mayoral elections to be held in March.



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