Fostering creativity and innovation

March 16, 2015

American cultural professionals explore Arts, Education, and the Economy during French study tour

Paris and Lyon, France

For more than ten years, the French-American Foundation, in partnership with the French Ministry of Culture and Communication, and with the support of the Florence Gould Foundation and Air France, has organized study tours for cultural professionals to examine priorities and trends in their field of expertise, in both France and the United States.

This week, from March 16-20, a delegation of high-level cultural and artistic professionals from New York traveled to France to participate in a study tour focusing on successful initiatives that foster creative (and cultural) entrepreneurship; socially responsible, sustainable, and innovative creative businesses; interdisciplinary approaches and collaborations across academic institutions and fields of practice; and innovative educational models and ecosystems.

During this week-long study tour, American delegates met with directors of key cultural institutions in Paris and Lyon, including:


  • Démos (Dispositif d’Education Musicale et Orchestrale à vocaction Sociale), an initiative offering classical music programs to children and teenagers from low-income communities
  • Bpifrance, a public investment bank that finances ventures from seed phase to IPO, through loans, guarantees, and equity
  • The Family, an initiative that works with and empowers entrepreneurs (regardless of educational achievement or capital) as they pursue repeatable, scalable, and profitable business models, particularly non-linear ventures
  • École nationale supérieure de Beaux-Arts de Lyon (Lyon School of Fine Arts) trains the next generation of artists and creators to become successful practitioners of their discipline through high-level professionalization
  • Conservatoire national supérieur de musique et de danse de Lyon (Lyon Music and Dance Conservatory) creates a unique learning environment for its students, guiding them towards the mastery of their art and permanent creativity


Selected for their impressive professional backgrounds and diverse fields of practice, the American delegates who participated in this year’s study tour in France include:

  • Susan Chin, FAIA, Executive Director, Design Trust  for Public Space
  • Lane Harwell, Executive Director, DanceNYC
  • Christian Hubert, Chairman of the Board of Directors, Terreform ONE
  • Debera Johnson, Founder and Executive Director, Brooklyn Fashion + Design Accelerator
  • Sheetal Prajapati, Assistant Directors, Learning and Artists Initiatives, MoMA


In December 2014, the French-American Foundation organized a reciprocal study tour in New York for cultural and artistic professionals from France. The weeklong study tour focused on initiatives that foster innovation in the arts, innovative artistic and cultural collaborations, and innovation in arts education. The week’s program included meetings with Etsy, Deutsche Bank, Brooklyn Fashion + Design Accelerator, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the NYC Department of Education, and the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs.