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Launch of the “Open the door” public art project

Launch of the “Open the door” public art project

Published on November 14, 2012
Speech by Ambassador François Delattre

Houston, November 13, 2012

Ms. Minette Boesel, representing the Mayor of Houston,

Bill Flores, President of the University of Houston Downton,

Mrs. Lynn Wyatt – thank you so much for being with us,

Mr. Mickey Henry, President of the Board of the Texan French Alliance for the Arts,

Monsieur Romain Froquet, 9ème concept,

Madame Karine Parker Lemoyne, Executive Director of the Texan French Alliance for the Arts,

Dear artist friends,

Dear friends,

It’s a great pleasure for our Consul General Frédéric Bontems and for me to be here with you today on this very special occasion, as we have gathered here this morning to launch “Open the door”, a very innovative and promising cultural operation.

I want to start by expressing my warmest thanks to “9ème concept” and the “Texan French Alliance for the Arts” for taking this wonderful initiative with the enthusiastic support of the French Consulate here in Houston. With a special word of thanks to Karine Parker, TFAA’s remarkable Executive Director whose personal commitment has been instrumental in this great success.

And it’s a particular pleasure to have with us four Honorary Consuls of France in the region – which is unprecedented I believe : Robert Lavie from Dallas, Grant Moak from Oklahoma, Beatrice Moore from Arkansas and James Lifshutz from San Antonio.

“En art, point de frontière!” “There are no frontiers in Art !”

This passionate statement by Victor Hugo perfectly reflects the great inspiration which presided, nearly 10 years ago, over the creation of the Texan French Alliance for the Arts (TFAA). This foundation was born out of the belief that the close historical, human, and economic bonds between France and Texas had to find their extension in cultural and artistic exchanges between the 2 states.

On this premise, several men and women joined efforts, here in Texas, and enlisted support from numerous companies and organizations, and from the French Consulate. Thus, they were able to undertake ambitious projects, including a large exhibit of Bernar Venet’s monumental works, in 2009-2010, the sponsoring of many musical events and a deeply moving, artistic roundabout built in front of a children’s hospital in Lyon, France, to name just a few.

Today, we are launching together another ambitious and beautiful project, sponsored by TFAA, a project remarkable for its far-reaching dimensions, a project that unites.

Amb. Delattre and Mrs. Lynn Wyatt

“The safest door is the door that can remain open.” We owe this proverb to Chinese wisdom. I believe the project initiated by 9th concept and brought to Texas by TFAA is the very epitome of this idea.

The project is based on the powerful symbol of the door. The door is a natural passageway, an opening, an invitation to discover new territories. A door is not a simple hole in space. It has 2 sides, bound to each other. It represents the link between 2 cultures, 2 aspects of our world and it must reflect this duality.

And this door between France and Texas has the extraordinary privilege of connecting 2 entities bound by common values, a shared historic, human and economic experience. At the same time, each side of the door can display and express the different cultural sensitivities of Texas and France, two strong and fiercely independent peoples.

And for those different sensitivities, what better vector than Street Art? French culture is sometimes seen as elitist, confined to museums. But this initiative “Open the door” illustrates a street culture, filled with movement, alive, thought-provoking, vibrant. On both sides of the Atlantic, this is a culture aimed at everyone, particularly the younger generations. It spreads through the network of universities, schools and neighborhood associations.

This remarkable adventure, “Open the door”, would not have been possible without the sponsors and partners that have already offered their help. It would take me too long to mention all of them here, but I’d like to express my warmest thanks to the American and French companies and individuals whose commitment has made this great success possible.

This cultural project is already very far advanced. However, it will require a lot more efforts to reach its full potential. We can count on each and everyone of you.
So let me take this opportunity to appeal to those of you who are discovering this project today.
I encourage you to get involved in this beautiful and highly visible initiative.

I know that the team of artists and organizers of the project are planning to show you their creation in a lot more detail, in all its dimensions. I think several presentation tables are awaiting us on the floor above as well as a fairly tempting buffet.

Again my warmest thanks and congratulations to all of you./.

(from left to right) Karine Parker-Lemoyne, Romain Froquet, Ambassador François Delattre, Lynn Wyatt, Mickey Henry