What is a FRAC?
What is a FRAC? It is a special place for art, not a museum, not an art center. Intriguing isn’t it? Come find out! What does the acronym means? Fond Régional d’Art Contemporain, in English: Regional collections of contemporary art – Frac.
FYI: What is a region you ask? It is basically a state or a county. It goes like this in France: Government, region, department, city. Hoping it makes some sense…
What do they do?
Their main role is to acquire art. The idea when they were created in 1982, was to bring art to different parts of the country. They also showcase it and provide education services. Today they own over 30 000 artworks by 5 700 artists, French and International ones.
Why not just create a museum?
They offer a more versatile structure, made firstly to get in touch with locals. For that purpose they are nomadic. They don’t use only their exhibition space. They create projects for it but also for multiple spaces locally: art centers, museums, city spaces, art schools, even hospitals, and so on. The idea is to really get closer to the audiences. Afterwards the project can also travel beyond, in other parts of France and even abroad.
Who runs them?
It is a form of partnership between the state and the region. They are not museums, so not run by the government, they are NGO’s, but fulfilling a public service. Which gives them a form of independence but their funding comes in part from the region and also from the state. Tricky I know.
And to add to that there are also FDAC (Fond Départemental d’Art Contemporain). Which means the same but by department! But it also means more art! YAY
Who benefits from them?
Artists: they see their works being acquired by these institutions, supporting their careers. It also gives opportunities to artists to sell outside of the classic art market. It allows them to have another way of selling work.
Visitors: Cool exhibitions, for the entrance fee it varies between FRAC some are completely FREE and some just 2-3 € (yep). They also have an amazing education program, with events, tours, and activities, not just families but also for schools.
Professionals: now they have a network called “Platform” which gives them a ground to share their experiences, their knowledge. They are a place for any professional to access resources and learn about this field.
How do they acquire artworks? Can I sell them a work?
They have a committee which looks into proposals. There are many different people in it: art professionals mainly (critic, curators, artists, etc.) but also collectors and public figures. Artists can be spotted by different professionals, then they get in touch, ask for information, like portfolios. They can also commission a work for a specific project or for a residency. Each of them has its own project and can go through these various ways.
If you are an artist I would say get showin’! The best way to sell art is to do shows and network as much as you can, so you can get spotted. Be patient, it will take some time and you need to have a few shows in your career before one of your work is bought by an institution. Get ready for some long nights in the studio!
Where are they?
Allover the country! Yes there are several in France, 23 in total. Each region of France has one. Below is a little interactive map of all the FRAC.
If you happen to be in France in November there will be a cool event in the FRAC. I am positive you’ll be close to one, go check it out!
On November 17th and 18th called “WEFRAC” this event will have:
– guided tours and meet-ups with guests, round tables, performances and more activities.
– a famous figure of the region who is not from the art world is invited to react to an artwork of the FRAC’s collection and exchange with an audience about it.
– a drawing artist was invited by the FRAC to create a special illustrated novel about this specific structure and its diversity. This book will be given out to the audiences during the weekend.
I need to add this event to my Art Events Calendar in France!
If you want to know more about FRAC in France (links in English):
Did you know about the FRAC?
Is there something similar in your country?