Reaching out Through Culture - Giving Art an Audience
Encouraging talent is a central pillar of Fransabank’s belief in promoting culture. JABAL (Jeunes Artistes des Beaux Arts du Liban) is one initiative that has received continuous support from the Bank over the years. This has taken shape through the Bank’s patronage of an annual art exhibition, which hosts and showcases the talent of dozens of artists who never previously had the opportunity to display their works to the public. The invitees to this event are potential buyers, media representatives and members of the general public, thus giving the young artists wide exposure and many opportunities to sell their work.
Through the JABAL initiative, new horizons have been opened for many of these young artists. Often they have gone on to hold solo and group exhibitions worldwide and to cultivate a name of renown for themselves in the art field. Some have been offered scholarships to pursue their art education as a result of having their work seen by art experts.
In addition to providing a forum for artists to exhibit their work, Fransabank makes a point of purchasing a collection from each participating artist. These works of art are displayed at the Bank’s headquarters and branches, thus giving the artists even greater exposure through our clients' base.
Culture’s true value to society comes when it is accessible to all. With this in mind, since its early days JABAL has targeted diverse areas of the country. In addition to Beirut, it has staged exhibitions in Tripoli, Saida, Zouk Mikhael, Zahle, Aley and New Jdeideh and of course in Beirut. The ensuing war and political turmoil resulted in a temporary halt to these annual events but Fransabank is committed to reviving them in the years ahead.
The JABAL initiative enjoys the full backing and sponsorship of Fransabank’s Chairman Adnan Kassar and Deputy Chairman Adel Kassar, as both have a strong passion for art. Their unique, rich and rare private collection has been the core essence of many private exhibitions with themes on the Orient and the Sea.
Uplifting the Past
Fransabank’s support of culture has helped breathe new life into many of the country’s most important institutions, such as the Beirut Theater, which was successfully rehabilitated thanks to funding from the Bank following the end of the war in 1993. The National Museum is another recipient of donations from the Bank to ensure it retains its rightful place at the heart of the nation’s cultural offering. As the country emerged from the civil war, Fransabank saw the need to invest in hope for the future and felt compelled to contribute to the nation’s prosperity. With this in mind, the Bank was a major sponsor of the entire reconstruction and renovation of the National Museum. When it finally reopened in the late 1990s, after more than two decades of closure, the museum represented a new era in Lebanon’s cultural landscape, signaling the renaissance of the nation’s profile as a country of history, heritage and civilization rather than of war. Today it not only attracts schoolchildren eager to learn of their past but also tourists who discover Lebanon’s valuable contribution to the world.
The Bank believes in reaching out to the population at large through the medium of culture. This necessitates looking beyond the capital to other areas where financing for cultural projects can revitalize communities, cities and prospects. An example of this is the restoration of Tripoli’s historic Koura Square, which was carried out with the help of a USD 100,000 donation from Fransabank. The Koura Plaza project beautifully restored the area’s traditional building facades and invigorated its potential as a tourist destination in North Lebanon. The Bank contributed also to the restoration of the Musuem of Ehden “Kouba Monument” located in Ehden Town, North of Lebanon. The Koubra Monument is characterized for its authentic traditional Lebanese architecture, its patrimonial and historical values.
In addition to Al Urfan Institution for the orphans and needy people received a donation form Fransabank for its rehabilitation and for the purchase of equipment.
Strengthening Cultural Ties
Promoting Lebanon as a cultural destination is essential for the country’s prosperity, forging a more socially cohesive society on the one hand, while attracting tourism on the other. Fransabank regularly sponsors numerous art and music festivals in line with this belief. These include some of the country’s biggest cultural festivals, such as Baalbeck, Beiteddine, Bustan, Byblos and Batroun, as well as other diverse initiatives, such as Estivales Deir al Qamar, Baakline Festival and Hamra Festival.
From Istanbul to Marrakech – A World in Transition
A book published by Fransabank that includes 500 postcards that date back to the 19th and early 20th centuries that have never been exposed before. This book was made available to art scholars, collectors and art lovers, as well as to the public in general. It is a new initiative within the Bank’s series of initiatives to support all forms of art, culture and heritage.