Chanel Launches Global Culture Fund in Support of the Coming Post-Pandemic Reset

Above image: The Underground Museum, Los Angeles

Next to restaurants, airlines and hotels, the business of culture has been perhaps hit the hardest by this terrible and still ongoing global pandemic. Museum staff have been furloughed in tremendous numbers, the concert business has been decisively shut down, and thousands of exhibits have been cancelled or postponed, leaving many individual artists without a way to promote and sell their art. (And it must be said, we remain skeptical of the burgeoning but suspicious NFT trend in art.)

But perhaps no fashion brand has so vigorously supported the arts over the years as has Chanel (read BlackBook‘s recent story on the opening Gala of the Opéra national de Paris 2021 Dance Season). And as the art world stumbles towards some manner of post-pandemic reset plan, the exalted French fashion house has again come to the fore, with today’s launch of the CHANEL Culture Fund, whose noble mission will be “to champion equality of voice and give visibility to global gamechangers at a time when the arts provide a vital source of inspiration and shifting perspectives on the way we view the world.”

“Chanel has always championed the vitality and advancement of the arts,” says Yana Peel, Global Head of Arts & Culture at Chanel, “and we now expand that tradition through the Fund with a focus on supporting cultural innovators and pathbreakers who are mapping out what’s next.”

For the program, the CHANEL Next Prize has been created to support ten carefully chosen creatives across all artistic disciplines, including music, dance, performance and the visual arts – those who are “radically redefining their fields.” Each will receive an award of $100,000, and interestingly, there is no age limit for those who will be selected – which can’t help but make us wonder if perhaps some early adolescent art movement may be discovered in the process.

The National Portrait Gallery, London

The undertaking also includes a series of international partnerships with notable cultural institutions and organizations, with a mission to “propel transformative ideas that benefit culture and society.” The four founding collaborations are:

  • The new Noah Davis Prize – named for the “Mad Genius” painter who died from cancer in 2015 at aged just 32. In cooperation with LA’s Underground Museum, three new fellowships will be awarded to curators who are notably innovating in their fields.

  • Together with the GES-2, the spectacular new open art space in Moscow (debuting sometime later this year) designed by Renzo Piano, a three year annual mentorship program will be launched for female Russian artists working at the intersection of theatre, music, dance and video.

  • Reframing Narratives: Women in Portraiture, in conjunction with The National Portrait Gallery in London and led by Chanel Curator for the Collection, Flavia Frigeri – which will undertake the research to elevate the representation of women in one of the greatest collections of portraiture in the world.

  • And in cooperation with Paris’ Centre Pompidou, a multi-year programming initiative encouraging collaborative undertakings between designers, artists and scientists, which will focus on sustainable cities and communities.

“The Culture Fund represents Chanel’s belief in the central importance of individual creativity in driving innovation,” Peel enthuses “At a time when we are navigating our way through complex new environments around the world, we know that artists generate transformative ideas that help us envision the way forward.”

Centre Pompidou, Paris

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