Some of you may know that beyond writing, I dabble in watercolor painting; and I have discovered an extraordinary event for all artists and art lovers. On Sunday, June 24, the Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild is hosting a grand painting competition, free of charge and open to all amateur and professional painters. Throughout the day, painters will take pleasure in setting up sketch pads and easels across this magnificent estate overlooking the Côte d’Azur.
How would I choose where to paint? I would surely have to sketch a while in the main French Garden, designed in the shape of a ship’s deck with the sea on both sides. Perhaps, I would capture the graceful waterfall and ponds that descend so elegantly from the Temple of Love at the crest. The largest of seven themed gardens, the French garden has splendid hundred-year-old olive trees, cypress hedges, parasol pines and huge colorful flowerbeds and ornamental ponds in front of the Villa.
One of my favorite themes seems to be “looking outward”, as from a terrace or through a window. Naturally, I would make my way to the tea room or terrace to capture the peace and pleasure of the Mediterranean. I can’t imagine a more wonderful experience, and it is the ever creative touch of Culturespaces, the Villa’s management company, that adds new events and unique encounters at each of the many fine cultural sites with which it works.
Culturespaces is a highly professional organization founded by Bruno Monnier, an art history devotee and formerly charged with modernizing the management of museums and monuments for the Ministry of Culture. In particular, the organization works closely with local authorities to assure cultural preservation with innovative management. The alliances with the Villa and the Arena in Nimes, for example, have resulted in generating new resources to make the French heritage sites accessible to all.
I appreciate Culturespaces focus on children, with special offers for families and school groups, that result in over 500,000 children’s visits to their varied sites every year. All sites offer child-friendly activities, workshops and educational activity books to add interest to their experience. Cultural heritage is cherished throughout France, and inspiring children early on insures that mindset will continue.
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