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3 questions to... Bruno Monnier, Culturespaces' President and Founder

The Forum d'Avignon met Bruno Monnier - Culturespaces' President and Founder - a cultural company, which manage numerous heritage monuments in France, like the Antique Orange Theatre, the Caumont Aix en Provence Center or the Jacquemart-André museum in Paris, which currently presents the exhibition Florence, portrait à la cour des Médicis (from the 11th of September until the 25th of January).

You are one of the rare private companies to manage great public or private heritage monuments, what is your business model?

Our model is the same as big anglo-saxon foundations, which receive few or no public grants.

Our priority is to give access to monuments we are in charge of to a great number of visitors and offer them a good service.

Today Culturespaces manages in public service delegation 13 monuments, which greet more than 2.5 millions of visitors each year.

We propose an ambitious and dynamic temporary exhibition program as well as performances on very different themes.

All our sites have the same greeting guarantees : they are opened the entry week, an audio guide is available for free, animations are planned for children and we also have developed applications for smartphones. There are also some added services like a bookshop-store and a tea shop to complete the visit. 

Our monuments are also opened on a regular basis to companies for their events or manifestations.

What is more we pay attention to control our costs so that they do not exceed our resources because - I repeat - we do not benefit from functioning grants. If we reach 180 000 visitors per year, we manage to balance our accounts and even pay to owners royalties assigned to restoration works. Our business model, in fine, costs nothing to the community and enable to generate means to restore and protect our heritage.

Culturespaces manages many different monuments like the Jacquemart-André museum, the Nîmes's Arènes or the Baux de Provence's Carrières de Lumières, how do you construct links or synergies between those monuments?

Each place has a strong identity and Culturespaces tries to reinforce their images. 

Yet all monuments benefit from our network and skills. At the headquarters in Paris, Culturespaces first propose mutualized services in communication, reception, construction, animation or web for example. Our communication media are common for tourism professionals. What is more we have a system of returns on places of the same region and common tickets for immediate nearby places. It is the case for the Carrières de Lumières and the Château des Baux / the Nîmes' Arènes and the Antique Orange Theatre / the Kérylos Greek Villa and the Ephrussi de Rotschild Villa on the Riviera. 

We endeavour to offer visitors a quality of service. When they come to one of Culturespaces' monuments, they know they will find a high level of service and reception. That is how we make them become faithful visitors!

As a cultural entrepreneur, what skills and working experiences do you most make use of?

Our monuments, museums and art centers are true living places where the visitor come to spend a time, which we have to make unforgettable! As the President of such different places, I must admit we have to call for multiple skills. First cultural skills for programming and exhibition production, for educational services or organization of visit circus. Then managerial skills because today we have a 250 collaborators team. We also have a need in people who can plan performances or have know-how in heritage safeguard, garden maintenance, communication, search for sponsorship, bookshop management, visitors reception. As you can see the panel of our occupations is very diversified. 

Learn more about Culturespaces

To learn more: ‘Towards a necessary hybridization of business models to support and foster culture’, report of the Forum d’Avignon’s 10th June 2015 debate in partnership with Kurt Salmon.  

Photo credit: Jean Grisoni.