1 1 1 1 Venetian Resilience: The Role of Cultural Institutions The risk feared by many for an art city like Venice is that it be reduced to a monumental area, an increasingly less understandable testimony to a past life, if not even to a display of disjointed remains offered to the superficial curiosity of mass tourism. The composite Venetian world of art and culture is very active in the everyday effort to prevent this ominous scenario coming about. The big cultural institutions like the Biennale, the Gran Teatro la Fenice, the Gallerie dell’Accademia, the Doge’s Palace and the main civic museums, the Fondazione Guggenheim, Palazzo Grassi with the Fondazione Pinault, the Fondazione Cini and others, attract an educated Italian and international public, along with demanding specialists and opinion makers in the sector. Thanks to them Venice has built up a reputation as a city where events take place that will give shape to the future of the performing and visual arts, which, with the cultural heritage, make up the consolidated nucleus of its cultural sector. Less visible to those coming from outside, but no less important, is the role of a group of other institutions, launched more than a century ago by farsighted patrons like the Querini Stampalia, the Bevilacqua La Masa and, more recently, the Ugo and Olga Levi couple, whose foundations named after them promoted the practice of art and culture for the benefit of the Venetian community and its ability to continue to be recognised as such, or its ‘resilience’, as we would say today. These historic local institutions provided a strong support to identity through artistic and cultural production, two of the functions that made the greatness of the past and that, in the vision of the patrons of the time, could also have had a meaning in the future. The traditional custom of communicating with the world has been a characteristic feature since its origins, as it is of these organisations. In them relationality, the development of social capital and inclusion, direct practice of the arts and craft skills constantly merge into one another. It is a rich variety that, shared between classes, occupations, social groups and different generations, reinforces a community’s capacity for selective adaptation, holds together the city of people and distances the prospect of the much loathed ‘theme park’. Venetians love these cultural institutions and experience them as a subject of closeness: more easily accessible, with light structures, they also become centres gathering the consensus from which many expect a contribution in correcting the choices that motivated the unbalanced tourism development, focusing on the mere exploitation of a stock of capital accumulated over time by the previous generations according to the metaphor, once in vogue, of ‘cultural layers’. A further element of the vitality of these less visible protagonists of Venetian life, not only that of art and culture, may be grasped by their growing tendency to work with the world of business, in search of the opportunities emerging from crossovers of artistic and productive practices and languages after a long period of mutual disinterest

Tratto da: InTimeMagazine 2017/1
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