The Edmond de Rothschild Foundations

The Café Culturel and the Fabrique du Macadam

The Café Culturel was created with the ambition of providing access to cultural events for as many people as possible, especially for those who are far removed from traditional cultural opportunities. For ten years this organization has been active in Seine Saint Denis – the suburbs north of Paris – ensuring a constant flow and exchange of creativity, sharing and artistic practices.

Café Culturel: a cultural facilitator in the Parisian suburbs

Café Culturel is both a traveling organization and a novel initiative in the heart of the Parisian suburbs, particularly Seine Saint-Denis. One of its well-known achievements is helping introduce “slam” to the public, and it has long served as a springboard for new artists. Rather than concentrating on a specific performance hall, today it focuses on encouraging new forms of artistic expression, multidisciplinary creations and the promotion of local artistic talent. Through this approach, culture becomes a form of citizenship at the grass-roots level.

Providing an alternative to traditional cultural structures drives the organization’s work; it encourages suburb dwellers and amateur artists to bring their diverse backgrounds to the appropriation of artistic practices. To this end, it introduced the Fabrique du Macadam (“Macadam Works”) to promote culture in the suburbs. This urban cabaret invites numerous amateurs to work with professionals to produce a show in just a few weeks’ time. Each artist brings his or her talent to the stage; access to artistic expression is made possible through practice and interaction.

Creative “works” with local roots

Café Culturel’s innovative and original model appealed to the Foundations. By promoting multiple forms of talent, the organization’s members have paved the way for a number of artistic initiatives in the Parisian suburbs – a challenging, complex environment. Already the Fabrique du Macadam has organized its 20th performance, demonstrating that access to art through practice clearly has an impact.

In addition to preparations leading up to each performance, the Foundations contribute to ensuring the long-term success of this original approach by setting up artistic encounters year-round. Actors and coaches teach drama workshops as well as introductory dance and music classes, putting together a final performance inspired by local ideas.

The Edmond de Rothschild Fondations were honored to support the The Café Culturel and the Fabrique du Macadam until 2012.