From left: Marine Le Pen and Emmanuel Macron.

French Presidential Candidates Reveal Proposals for Art and Culture

The cultural budget for France under its current president, François Hollande, shrank by about $468 million during his time in office, despite promises of maintaining funding for the arts throughout his campaign. The current candidates for the French presidency—centrist Emmanuel Macron and right-winger Marine Le Pen—have also made mention of policies for French arts and culture, writes Victoria Stapley-Brown of the Art Newspaper. The final polling day for France’s new president is May 7.

Macron, who is deeply pro-Europe, said he wants to keep the arts budget steady—he’d like to provide an annual “culture pass” for young people, worth about $544 per person, and launch an Erasmus (the EU’s student exchange program) for curators, artists, and other arts professionals. Macron would also like to create an endowment for the upkeep of heritage sites, in addition to a $218 million fund for various cultural initiatives.

Le Pen has made no specific mention of a budgetary commitment to culture. As a staunch nationalist, however, she wants to increase funding allotted to preserving French heritage by 25 percent. She is keen on preventing foreigners and buyers in the private sector from purchasing national buildings, and would like to create an online platform for arts sponsorship and philanthropy. She would also like to establish more residency opportunities for artists of all ages and disciplines, and put more energy into supporting French contemporary artists.