Marseille-Provence 2013 European Cultural Capital

Initially created by the European Union in 1985, the European Capital of Culture title is a unique label. For selected cities, it means a year of culture, festivities and creations.
 In 2013, Marseille-Provence and the Slovakian city Košice will both be Capitals.

Initially created by the European Union in 1985, the European Capital of Culture title is a unique label. For selected cities, it means a year of culture, festivities and creations.
 In 2013, Marseille-Provence and the Slovakian city Košice will both be Capitals.


Marseille-Provence 2013 means major changes for the region. Since 2006, the project has been shaped by two priorities:

-  Developing a cultural project that is also a regional project.
-  Developing a Euro-Mediterranean project based on the theme Sharing the South.

A cultural project that is also a regional project

Marseille-Provence 2013’s bid to be named the European Capital of Culture was launched in early 2004 by the Ville de Marseille. The aim was to unite an entire region around a strong cultural project. Today, around one hundred towns and cities and 1.8 million local residents are involved, in a region that stretches from Arles to La Ciotat via Aix-en-Provence and Marseille. This regional dimension is key to the cultural project and programming. Planned events include themed installations, mobile projects, simultaneous events in multiple locations and art in public space. For Marseille-Provence 2013, it is about inventing new ways of showcasing the region by working closely with local populations.
An entire region will be presented for the European Capital of Culture year: nature parks, urban areas, local populations, traditions, lifestyles and contemporary creation.

Sharing the South: the theme underlying the Marseille-Provence 2013 programme

Exchange is at the heart of cultural life in Marseille Provence. It places the region at the forefront of the revival of arts that resonate with everyone, and especially young people: circus, street arts, modern music, festive gatherings, digital arts, dance and urban poetry. This energy is fuelled by a policy of welcoming and supporting artists, creators and companies who set up in new areas and abandoned spaces, sharing their art with a wide audience and taking part in artistic invention and cultural action.
Major museums, internationally renowned festivals, theatres and operas have generously opened their doors to these actions and artists, embracing their projects.
In 2013, we will create a creative platform for exchanges between the cultures of both shores, open to artists of all disciplines, both European and Mediterranean. These exchanges are central to the programme - they are its underlying theme. They are central to the 2013 story: Sharing the South.


Major investments

Marseille-Provence 2013 has been a catalyst for urban transformation, with many new artistic venues and infrastructure opening in 2013.
Major projects include constructions and renovations at the Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilisations (MuCEM), the Villa Méditerranée, the FondsRégionald’ArtContemporain (FRAC) and the Friche la Belle de Mai. In addition to these infrastructural projects, public spaces are changing. One example is the partial pedestrianisation of Marseille’s Vieux-Port, as envisaged by architect Norman Foster and Michel Desvigne.

A Capital in action - from 2008

The Marseille Provence region already has an impressive line-up of festivals and cultural activities. Work on the artistic programme, which has taken place over the past five years, has therefore focused on 2013. However, in order to encourage national and international artistic creation in the region, the decision was made in 2008 to invite artists to take part in the project. Several programmes have worked towards this goal.

Euro-Mediterranean Ateliers: Artists from all disciplines are invited to create artwork in unusual non-cultural venues throughout the region. Private companies, public structures and non-profit organisations provide artists with space and resources to complete their creative projects. Through the Euro-Mediterranean Ateliers, Marseille-Provence 2013 is supporting contemporary creation by developing a new production model pooling monetary resources, expertise and production facilities, so companies of different sizes in very different sectors can contribute to an artistic project. These residencies, bringing together art and society, involve host structures’ employees and users.

Creative Urban Projects: As part of this programme, a series of artist residencies are being organised in areas undergoing urban renovation throughout the region. The aim is to develop artistic initiatives questioning, improving or changing everyday environments. it will get local residents involved in changing their neighbourhoods, thus contributing to the European Capital of Culture project. In 2013, these Creative Urban Projects will focus on living areas, architecture and temporary installations, and give rise to meetings, screenings and shows.

New Patrons: Marseille-Provence 2013 and the Fondation de France have joined forces to launch an exceptional programme of nine artistic commissions. The New Patrons project invites citizens with local development or societal concerns to involve artists in their project by commissioning artwork.

A dense programme

2013 is like a story in three episodes: episode one –Marseille Provence Welcomes the World (January-May), episode two –Marseille Provence, Open Sky (June-August), and episode three –Marseille Provence, Land of a Thousand Faces (September-December).
The programme was developed in coordination with local cultural organisations. It includes:

-  Over 500 events and 100 exhibitions.
-  Seasonal highlights and major projects such as the opening
weekend (12 and 13 January); TransHumance (a major participative event with animals from the Camargue region, Italy and Morocco); the Grand Atelier du Midi (an exhibition in two instalments featuring work by artists inspired by the south of France); The Amazing History of Street Art (a celebration of art in public spaces in Europe and the Mediterranean region) and the opening of new venues (including the Villa Méditerranée and the MuCEM).

Detailed information on the three episodes making up the 2013 programme is available in the provisional programme and brochure, which can be downloaded from the Marseille-Provence 2013 website

Some major events in 2013

There is a lot happening in 2013. Here are some of the major events taking place as part of the programme:
-  12-13 January: the opening weekend. Ten major exhibitions will open their doors and two days of events with international artists will take place throughout the Marseille-Provence region.
-  15 March: the Villa Méditerranée opens to the public. This new regional centre for the Mediterranean will host exhibitions, international conferences and other events.
-  March-December: the GR®2013 will be unveiled. The 360-km hiking trail was designed by a group of walking artists, and links the city to the countryside.
-  3-20 May: The Amazing History of Street Art celebrates European and Mediterranean street arts.
-  17 May-9 June:TransHumancewill take place. This shared artistic experience that is both poetic and high-tech will bring together people and animals for three weeks or just an evening.
-  Early June: the MuCEM, the Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilisations, will open its doors. This is France’s first national museum to open outside Paris.
-  13 June-13 October: the Grand Atelier du Midi will open. This exhibition in two parts will pay tribute to artists from the late 17th to the early 20thcentury who were inspired by the light and landscapes in the south of France.
-  Late June-August: festivals will take place throughout the Marseille-Provence 2013 region. This includes the Festical d’art lyrique in Aix-en-Provence, the Rencontresinternationales de la photographie in Arles, the Festival de Marseille, the Festival les Suds in Arles, etc.
-  11 October-12 January 2014: LC at the J1 opens. This exhibition presents Le Corbusier and his work as an architect, urban designer and artist.

For more information on Marseille-Provence 2013

Provisional programme

The opening weekend on 12 and 13 January 2013

Marseille-Provence 2013 press centre

Dernière modification : 29/11/2012

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