Le Commission des Arts de la Région Wallonne
(Commission of Arts of Wallonia)
The role of public power regarding the integration of sculptural art has always been dominant. Since the19th century the history of art in Belgium has found many significant examples. The most important monuments of the country, from the effigies of Leopold I by Guillaume Geefs till the most recent works by Yann Kersalé at the bank of the Meuse, are the fruit of authorities concerned about the collaboration between artists and architects.
For 20 years, with the increasing interest in the problem of public art, there had been precise initiatives like 'the Decree of 1%' (approved in 1984 by the French Community of Belgium). The Région Wallonne got involved in this direction right away: In a note presented to the Government on December 16, 1993, Robert Collignon (at that time Secretary for Territorial Equipment, Lodging and Budget) raised again the necessity to install a commission of arts. The objective was to propose to the minister in charge of the implantations or to all the other ministers who wanted some well-founded information about the opportunity, the nature and the character of the oeuvres susceptible to be integrated in buildings and works of art constructed by the Région or by the subordinated authorities which they depend on.
The working of the Commission of Arts turned out the best dialogue between artists, architects and future occupants of the buildings. It is about to organise the optimal conditions of understanding and collaboration among these different people. In order to fulfill this program the Commission, with the Honorary Director General for technical services in the chair, has acquired 17 members nominated by the Government of Wallonia for a period of 4 years which can be renewed. Of course, the different ministries and divisions interested in the real estate development of the Région are represented: the Division of Pieces of Art and Markets, the Division of Patrimony, the ministry in charge of the implantations. Besides the officials the commission counts the recruited members for their competence of sculptural art and artistic integration into architecture. With a working schedule of one meeting per month, the commission is not only responsible for advising the ministers, but also to work out nomination procedures for artists. It determines if a competition is needed or not, if it has to be opened or restrained and, in any case, it proposes the regulations and the awards to the designated winners. It's also in charge of supervising the good course of the work and to proceed its understanding.
Since 1993 Wallonia has also often permitted the artists to face themselves with the problems of monument integration at conditions permitting to challenge all their talent. The conduct of the Commission of Arts defines a policy to valorise contemporary creation which is represented here not only by the confirmed artists but also by their promising talent.