The Fondation pour le rayonnement de l’art haïtien (FRAH), under the aegis of Fondation de France, was created in June 2015 on the initiative of Philippe-Loïc Jacob who, as administrator of the Fondation Daniel and Nina Carasso, was very involved in supporting the Centre d’art in Port-au-Prince, which was totally destroyed by the earthquake in January 2010. After several trips to Haiti, he wished to become more strongly and personally involved with the Centre d’art, but more generally for the spreading of the formidable Haitian artistic heritage, from the great masters such as Hector Hyppolite or Jasmin Joseph, to today’s artists, such as Mario Benjamin, Tessa Mars or Lionel Saint Eloi.
TGE – Could you give us some examples of programmes or actions you have recently carried out or implemented? Where are they implemented (in France, Haiti, elsewhere)?
Ms. Maradeix & Mr. Jacob – In 2020, the Foundation provided support to artists in Haiti, who are in great difficulty in the current crisis, by enabling the Centre d’art to commission them to enrich its permanent collection with contemporary works.
It also supported the photographic reproduction of 1,000 works from the Centre d’art’s collection by the great photographer Roberto Stephenson. These photographs will both enrich the Centre’s heritage database and provide quality media for reproductions (e.g. exhibition catalogues).
In the past, the FRAH had also supported an auction sale of works by Haitian artists, carried out in partnership with the PIASA house, which made it possible to make this heritage known to Parisians.
TGE – Is cross-border giving an important part of your fundraising strategy? If so, which countries do you target?
Ms. Maradeix & Mr. Jacob – Thanks to the Fondation Daniel and Nina Carasso and the Fondation de France, at the end of 2019 the Centre d’art was able to acquire a Gingerbread-style house, the Larsen House, which will enable it to relocate all its activities (training, exhibitions, events, collection management, etc.).
Indeed, since 2014, the Centre has been living in temporary buildings, as the original house has never been rebuilt. In order to finance the renovation work of this new place, but also to enable the Centre to equip itself with the means to carry out its mission, the Centre has undertaken a fundraising campaign in which FRAH wished to participate. Cross-border donations will be at the heart of this campaign, as the potential for donations in Haiti itself is very low, although local patronage will be solicited. There are many enthusiasts throughout the world who are passionate about Haitian art or, more generally, Caribbean art, of which the Haitian school is one of the treasures.
Many of these collectors or friends are in North America, but also in Europe and we are targeting countries such as France, Belgium, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Germany, Spain, Italy and soon Poland and the United Kingdom.
TGE – Why did you decide to join the TGE network?
Ms. Maradeix & Mr. Jacob – TGE is not only a useful and effective tool for conducting a fundraising campaign in several countries, but is above all a pledge of confidence for donors. Donors know that TGE partners carry out an in-depth analysis of the quality and soundness of the projects presented in the TGE network. TGE therefore represents a precious ally for our development strategy and we are happy and proud to have been selected.
TGE – What do you think of the concept of a TGE online donation platform? How will it fit into your fundraising efforts?
Ms. Maradeix & Mr. Jacob – The TGE online donation platform is a complementary, useful and efficient tool for potential donors. However, it should not replace the direct approach that we favor with our donors, especially as we wish to involve them in the development of the Centre d’art in order to show our gratitude for their support.
TGE – How is your organization coping with the current pandemic situation? Do you have any specific ongoing initiatives at the moment?
Ms. Maradeix & Mr. Jacob – The situation in Haiti has always been difficult, but the country has just experienced a political crisis and a health crisis that has taken a toll on many artists. Added to this was a dramatic fire in the so-called Grand Rue district, one of the most active artistic centres in Port-au-Prince. This is why, in partnership with the Fondation Daniel and Nina Carasso, the Fondation pour le rayonnement de l’art haïtien decided to help the artists by supporting the Centre d’art’s commissions. Works have already been purchased or commissioned from Johnny Cinéus, Lionel St-Eloi, Sébastien Jean, David Boyer, Dubréus Lhérisson, and Guyodo.
TGE – Do you think having a TGE online donation page will help you overcome some of your current challenges?
Ms. Maradeix & Mr. Jacob – The “Réinventons Le Centre d’art” campaign has the particularity of being international from the outset, a real challenge to coordinate, especially in times of pandemic when we can no longer travel to meet future donors. It is therefore obvious that digital tools will be key in our system and the online donation platform is, in this respect, a very suitable tool.
TGE – What are the next steps for the Fondation pour le rayonnement de l’art haïtien? What are your plans for the future?
Ms. Maradeix & Mr. Jacob – Our great challenge is to succeed in the “Réinventons Le Centre d’art” campaign, alongside our partners, le Centre d’art of course, but also the Fondation Connaissance et Liberté – Fokal in Haiti, and the Fondation Daniel and Nina Carasso in France.
Since 2014, when the Centre d’art reopened, it has regained its full importance in the lives of Haitians. Far beyond “cultural life”, this Centre symbolizes both the cradle of Haitian painting and its revival through all forms of visual arts. The acquisition of the Larsen House is a new stage in its rebirth and it is urgent and important that we (re)give the population of Port-au-Prince and beyond, a place of knowledge, training, emotion, encounter, beauty, serenity, as the Centre d’Art has always been since its creation in 1944.
How to contact or donate to FRAH?
Email: [email protected]
Telephone: +33 (0)1 44 21 31 78
To make a donation: https://donate.transnationalgiving.eu/landing/arthaitien?lang=en_EN
A special mention to David Bruchon, fundraising strategy consultant at Le Centre d’Art, for his enthusiasm and support in the preparation of this interview.