CENTRALE for contemporary art
The time for change is now!
Carine Fol, the Arts Department and I would like to thank the Alderman for Cultural Affairs, and the council for having taken a special interest in the CENTRALE from the beginning of this term, having listened to us, and having consulted with the world of art and culture to reach this conclusion. We are obviously delighted with the decision to strengthen the CENTRALE in terms of finance and human resources, as well as the decision to opt for independent artistic management, which will of course be highly attentive to the municipality’s main cultural trends.
The Department of Cultural Affairs is also proud of having done its part everyday to convince the authorities to move forward as the CENTRALE has the distinctive characteristic of being fully integrated into the city’s Department of Cultural Affairs and is thus able to take advantage of municipal services to implement its projects.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank all the people involved at the Department of Cultural Affairs who have been working everyday on this group project, taking up a great deal of effort and energy, without the guarantee of a secure future. Their dedication has been rewarded!
If you want change, you also need results.
Looking back (2006-2012)
A special location
The CENTRALE benefits from a central location, at the crossroads of the economic and cultural centres of Brussels. It is fortunate to be in a cosmopolitan neighbourhood, which reflects new trends and the diversity of cultures.
This ideal location allows it to take part in the contemporary art circuit of galleries and other multidisciplinary locations dedicated to contemporary art of all disciplines.
Since its inauguration, the mission of the CENTRALE was defined as being "to raise awareness amongst as much of the public as possible of contemporary artistic works of all disciplines in the visual arts and to create, beyond debates about the arts, a questioning about society and the world today. Its ambition is to be a lively location that is open to the World, Europe, the city and the neighbourhood, and to respond to the special characteristics of Brussels: its diverse population and rich culture.’
A space in the cultural landscape of Brussels
From the beginning, the CENTRALE has set itself up as an open space, deeply rooted in the cultural dynamics of Brussels as an active participant in the major events: Europalia, Kunstenfestivaldesarts, Summer of Photographie, Art Brussels, Modo Bruxellae, Design September and Nuit blanche; there are countless examples.
Today, we have reached the total of 100.000 visitors.
The CENTRALE also wants to open up to the arts schools of Brussels. One-off projects have been carried out with La Cambre, Sint-Lukas and, of course, the Brussels Académie Royale des Beaux-Arts/Ecole supérieure des Arts (ARBA/esa).
In 2011, the CENTRALE and the ARBA/ESA worked together to create an Executive Master Pratiques de l’Exposition et de la Médiation (Executive Master’s degree in Exhibition and Mediation Activities – EMPEM) which will be launched in 2013. A preparatory workshop took place in 2011. A second workshop will be organised soon in connection with the Brussels Institut Supérieur des Arts et des Chorégraphies (ISAC), which was recently created within the ARBA/esa.
It is a more structured project, working in harmony with the art schools, which is part of our new objectives.
With its municipal status, the Centrale has always wanted to be seen as a space with a human dimension, a place that is open to partnerships and dialogue.
The major issues: the various sectors of the public, from one-offs to structures
Over six years, one-off diverse actions have been carried out (invitations to residents, guided tours, children’s workshops, visitor guides, and contacts with Espace Citoyen, membership of Article 27, etc.).
The hiring of a public and education manager as of 1 September this year will allow an active structural policy to be initiated in this area; citizens and schools, youth centres and families in the neighbourhood will obviously be our priority, working in harmony with a cultural mediator from the Department of Cultural Affairs.
It is commonplace to talk about how this mission is one of the major issues for all institutions, which must compete creatively to remain appealing among the plethora of increasingly diverse offers and enticements available to an increasingly demanding and well-informed public.
The cultural community, schools, youngsters, extra-curricular activities, families, the elderly, vulnerable groups, residents, people from the municipality: the public manager will have much to do, as will the team responsible for communication.
The hiring of an additional employee on 1 September this year, assigned to the CENTRALE will, along with the Department of Cultural Affairs’ communication team allow for:
- the creation of a new website (www.centrale-art.be)
- the search for new institutional and private partnerships
- the development of our communication, which requires the development of new public outreach programmes, not to mention the additional events that will be organised in connection with the exhibitions (meetings, talks, performances, workshops, etc.)
Visibility in the urban environment
From the beginning, the urban restrictions imposed by the classification of the area around the St Catherine Tower have not provided the CENTRALE with the desired visibility in the urban environment. In this respect, we are delighted that in the mid-term, the CENTRALE will be incorporated into the project of the restoration works of the tower.
CENTRALE @ SAVAGAN
We would like to thank Mr Savagan who, as an experiment, has agreed to lend us part of his shop window so that we can place a work of art there, offering us visibility on the Place Sainte-Catherine.
New artistic management, a new starting point
Since 2006, the attention to contemporary art has grown considerably in the city; institutional and private initiatives have increased substantially: the inauguration of the WIELS and then the Vanhaerents Art Collection in 2007, the development of the contemporary art concept at BOZAR, the launch of La Collection RTBF/De Canvascollectie in 2010, the urban displays by Art Brussels; the Gallery days, the recent opening of Contemporary Art Brussels (CAB) near Flagey; and there is still more to come.
Within this exceptional expansion, the CENTRALE has had to define its identity, to assert a new coherence responding to all three of its characteristics: local (citizens and multicultural), regional and national (involving development and dialogue between the two communities) and finally international (exchanges and meetings within and outside of Europe). The CENTRALE for contemporary art was born!
Director CENTRALE for contemporary art