A new patron for culture in Paris

Martine Aubry would have preferred to keep her in her team in Lille, and the transfer dragged on. But it is now done: Irène Basilis is the new director of cultural affairs for the City of Paris, according to a decree signed by the mayor Anne Hidalgo and published Tuesday, January 12 in the official bulletin of Paris. This left-wing woman who wants to put culture “In the service of a social project” replaces Claire Germain, who retired in August 2020.

At 57 years old, Irène Basilis took over the management of a major administration at a particularly delicate time, with a large number of cultural activities at a standstill. “His first mission will be to take care of the 2,900 agents placed directly under his responsibility, says one at the Town hall. They have been shaken up by the health crisis, and need a shared course. ”

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For the most part, the agents concerned work in municipal libraries, conservatories, Fine Arts workshops or the service responsible for coordinating filming in the streets of Paris. But the cultural affairs department also depends on establishments linked to the Town Hall, such as the Châtelet theater, the “104”, the Maison des Métallos, etc. Without forgetting the innumerable cultural associations which benefit from subsidies from the City.

“Very fuzzy” calendar

Overall, Irène Basilis will have to coordinate the “thaw” of culture in Paris, when theaters, concert halls, cinemas, museums, etc., will be able to welcome the public again, and the municipal venues will resume their activities completely. . “We must prepare for the recovery, even if the timetable remains very vague”, she says.

Today, the 60 libraries in the City of Paris are only open during significantly reduced hours compared to normal. That of the Goutte d’Or (18e arrondissement) is only accessible for three hours a day, given the problems of violence in the neighborhood – “In July 2020, a man died of his injuries at the entrance to the building”, emphasizes the staff.

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“In 2021, we will put places of culture back at the heart of our social project”, Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo promised in her vows on Wednesday January 13. No doubt it will not be a simple return to the previous situation. The new director of cultural affairs will probably have to adapt municipal policy, and the places concerned, to the post-Covid situation.

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