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Art and Streets in Europe: third stop, Rouen!

Updated: Apr 14, 2021

Today we take you to Rouen in France to talk about the Rrouen project explained by one of its collaborators, Jean-Gabriel Guyant. The network of artistic diffusion created by Rrouen is not only interested in urban art, but in all artistic manifestations in general, and has rapidly become a point of reference for the city context and for the institutions of the territory.

We now leave the word to Jean-Gabriel who will explain the nature of the project in more detail.

Good morning Jean-Gabriel! You and Anna Stolyarova first came into contact at the CreART meeting in Aveiro in 2019. What do you remember of that meeting and what do you think of our institution?

Good Afternoon to Anna and to all the staff. Thank you very much for this participation to answer a few questions about our cultural policy and very happy to keep the contact “in real” between our institutions.

I remember my first meeting with Anna because I was interested by her presentation, her happy behaviour and the work you were developing in the Netherlands.

Your career is dedicated to cultural management and the promotion of art in the city of Rouen. Can you tell us more about the current artistic scene in your city? How does artistic distribution continue to progress despite the difficulties caused by the COVID-19?

The luck we have in Rouen as in other big cities is the infinite power of creation in all the arts. We are not especially in charge of street art but of all the different art, both Visual arts and performing arts (music, dance, theater, storytelling and more). The terrible pandemic stopped the diffusion but not the creation. Even if we cancel some shows we pay the artists by defending the CREATION. We are trying to adapt ourselves.

The RROUEN project is an ambitious artistic spreading and promotion programme involving the city's major institutions. How did the idea come about and what has been the response of the community?

Rrouen is not as young as we can imagine. It is a 10 years old association promoting a network of places which are dedicated to artistic visual creation (Photo, contemporary art, creation spaces, architecture...) but now it is ‘rebirthing’ with a sort of new era including new energy, new institution partner and new board of directors. The idea came about that if we are all together we are able to be stronger in many fields, following the idea of multidisciplinarity (Communication, Technical aspects, Schedules, etc.). But as a network it is not as easy as we can imagine to handle it and promote it. It involves many time and energy to federate a group on a common project.

Browsing through the many activities supported by RROUEN, it is easy to notice the focus on the creation of a participatory art scene that involves the citizens themselves. How important is it nowadays to bring the general public closer to art? Can we finally talk about art as a democratic phenomenon or is it still anchored in its historical elitist dimension?

If you look more precisely on the website you can guess that we will try to focus on young audiences for the following years. This is the way the network chooses to promote arts and more than broadcast but infuse arts everywhere we can. And about the anchoring of the arts in its elitist dimension, I think that it depends on where you place art in your mind and which place you let it.

As you do to include art as part of everyday life and the social dimension you give to the SAMA is definitely the heart of your project. We are not as demanding as you are. We do that with our urban art event.

Participation, social cohesion and the creation of a common identity are the same principles that SAMA follows in its mission to promote urban art. RROUEN is undoubtedly an example for us to follow in order to improve ourselves on a daily basis. What is the immediate future of the project?

I think that SAMA has many great experiences to share with Rrouen. And it will be very great to come and visit each other as soon as possible.

The immediate future of the project is to exist first and after trying to realise the “Super Coin” project dedicated to the young audience (contrary to what one might read on the website – it should maybe take place in autumn and not in the summer).

Let’s adapt ourselves.

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