French Art Museums Get a Big Boost From the Government’s New $2.4 Billion Rescue Package for the Culture Sector

The Louvre, Musée d'Orsay, and the Centre Pompidou are among the institutions that stand to benefit.

An unusually empty square in front of the Louvre museum during Paris's lockdown. Photo by Frédéric Soltan/Corbis via Getty Images.
An unusually empty square in front of the Louvre museum during Paris's lockdown. Photo by Frédéric Soltan/Corbis via Getty Images.

The French culture sector is getting a reprieve from the ongoing lockdown losses thanks to a recently unveiled government plan to dedicate $2.3 billion (€2 billion) to culture as part of a broader recovery effort.

In 2018, the culture sector of France’e economy accounted for nearly 2.3 percent of its gross domestic product, according to government statistics shared last week, and included 80,000 mostly small and medium-size businesses, as well as 670,000 jobs, or 2.5 percent of the working population.

Earlier this year, the French government implemented emergency measures that included just over $1 billion (€856 million) in aid specifically for culture. The additional $2.3 billion will boost that effort further.

French authorities identified five main priorities for the funding: heritage restoration, support for live shows, support for artists through employment aid and strengthening cultural education, support for niche areas such as cinema and books, and investment in the future of cultural and creative industries.

A total of $726 million (€614 million) has been earmarked to support institutions including the Louvre, the Palace of Versailles, Musée d’Orsay, the Centre Pompidou, and others, which are facing an unprecedented crisis. Attendance, which depends largely on international tourism, has plummeted anywhere between 40 and 80 percent, which has impacted operating resources and their capacity to invest for the future.

With respect to live shows, $236.5 million (€200 million) has been set aside for the music industry, while $11.8 million (€10 million) will go towards theaters.

Another $133 million (€113 million) will go toward a mix of support for younger artists and for cultural initiatives in education. This includes an “unprecedented plan to modernize cultural higher education establishments” and to support training at institutions such as the art school of Cergy, the National Higher Conservatories of Music and Dance of Lyon and Paris, and the National Superior of Fine Arts, among others.


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