The 5 is a cultural initiative within the larger artistic centre of the 104 that develops audience outreach in the neighbourhoods of the 19th and 18th district. It consists in offering spaces for artistic practices (4 rooms) and a series of services, such as administrative support in filling up an application for an artistic project, meeting with professional artists to develop a project and organising outings to museums or theatres. In 2013-2014, the 5 supported the development of 40 projects that brought together inhabitants and professional artists. Most of them met and trained in the space made available by the 5 and later performed in schools, cultural centres or local venues. From May 20 to May 25 the 5 showcased some of the performances that resulted from the collaboration between artists and inhabitants. Some of these performances were screened as videos.
The main objective of the 5 initiative is to anchor the 104 to the local community (18th and 19th districts). The 104 was created in 2005 and is funded by the City of Paris. It hosts 400 artistic projects per year and showcases artistic exhibitions and performances. It is located in a large warehouse in the 19th district and comprises a large open lobby, two theatres and 4 000m² of office and studio space. It also includes shops and a restaurant. It is located, next to several Priority Neighbourhoods where inhabitants have very contrasting social and economic background, and might be unfamiliar with artistic institutions. As stated by the interviewee: the 5 is “the social project of the 104”. It is based on the principle that lower-income inhabitants living in the Priority Neighbourhoods, bordering the centre, might not feel confident, sufficiently at ease or spontaneously interested in coming to the 104. So the 5 develops artistic practices to attract and familiarise inhabitants to the arts. This is why, we argue, that the focus of the 5 is on social cohesion.
The target audience of the 5 initiative is twofold: the primary target is the inhabitants of the 18th and 19th districts, of all ages and social status, who are usually isolated from artistic venues. The 5 initiative gives priority to inhabitants of Priority Neighbourhoods. A secondary target audience is the artists who are working together with the 104 (an average of 200 artists are permanently working in the 104) and who might help facilitate the inhabitants’ encounter with art.
The strategy of the 5 is to rely on local initiatives to reach to a type of audience that would normally stay away from artistic institutions and have people with very different backgrounds (from in and out of the neighbourhoods) meet through art. The people in charge of the 5 have been coordinating with the Neighbourhood Project Manager of the DPVI (Paris Department for City Policy) in order to link with local groups and associations of the adjacent Priority Neighbourhoods. The 5 develops several other strategies to reach to an audience unfamiliar with art and favour amateur practices:
– Booking a room is free and only non-profit activities can take place. It is based on the idea that rooms should be available to someone who cannot play music in his or her apartment because it makes too much noise, or it should be available to a performance group that needs some space for their rehearsals for a short period.
– Booking rooms is only available for the coming month. It is based on the idea that art projects have very varying duration of time. This helps adapt to the evolving needs of the inhabitants of the neighbourhood, but more importantly, helps avoid backlog (according to a person in charge of the programme, the number of demands is high).
– Facilitators of the 5 regularly engage with people who might pass by the 104 and suggest them to get in touch with artists who are in residence in the With its open lobby, the 104 sees numerous people passing by, sitting around and practising break dance.
For a total cost of € 40,000 the 5 is able to handle 40 projects per year that bring together inhabitants and artists. It is a small initiative in comparison with the total cost of the 104 (€ 12 million of which € 8 million come from the City of Paris), but it also relies heavily on the larger structure of the 104 (the available artists in residence, the large audience of the venue).
Perception and use of the concept of diversity
The initiative mostly deals with the diversity of public participation in the arts. It is linked to the French project of the Cultural ministry to extend the public participation in the arts (also referred to as democratisation of the arts or “democratisation culturelle”). In the case of the 104, the social component of the project – represented by the 5 initiative – is a justification for the opening of such a large scale (and expensive) artistic venue in the North East of Paris and in the vicinity of several Priority Neighbourhoods. As such the main criteria to target a specific audience is that of their geographical location in the vicinity of the 104. “We do not target specific groups, we only use zoning”, explains the interviewee. There is, moreover, a strong discourse against the provision of specific forms of art for a specific audience (e.g. hip hop for young people). This may be attributed to the principle that lies at the core of the “democratisation of the arts”. It consists in promoting works of art for their universalist value and not their ability to address specific identities (Escafré-Dublet, 2014).
Main factors influencing success or failure
One of the most influential success factors is external. It is the fact that people in charge of the 5 were able to rely on the already existing network of initiatives that is characteristic of the 19th district and that the Neighbourhood Project Managers of the DPVI were able to connect them with.
Another success factor of the initiative is internal. It is the experience of the staff in conducting artistic projects with a social dimension (i.e. reaching to an audience that is not familiar with artistic institutions). As such, the change in director in 2008 leads to the increase and diversification of the 104 audience that can be attributed to his former experience in managing an artistic venue in the suburb of Paris (La Ferme du Buisson, Noisiel).
The limit of the initiative lies in the difficulty to channel the varying demands and the increase in people participating in the 5 initiative. The number of projects handled by the 5 went from 17 in 2011-2012, to 32 in 2012-2013 and to 40 in 2013-2014.
According to the project manager, the 5 was able to reach to an audience that is not familiar with the arts. Moreover, the 5 is now thinking to extend their reach to the North-eastern suburbs of Paris, that is to support projects that may link inhabitants from these areas and organise performances there (among the 40 projects supported in 2013-2014, 3 were conducted in collaboration with secondary schools in Aubervilliers, a northern suburb of Paris). Finally, the 5 organises no selection in the project that it supports. The question is whether this type of initiative can accommodate all demands and cope with an ever-increasing diversity.
 The 104 takes its name from its address: 104 Rue d’Aubervilliers; along with the 5, which is located on 5 Rue Curial.