The Cultural Crossroads Association—Association Festival Cultures Croisées (AFCC)—was established in 2000 by Anna Filimonova, a painter born in Russia who graduated from the Academy of Arts in Saint Petersburg and the Sorbonne in Paris, where she studied Philosophy of Art. The AFCC aims to nurture art from countries and cultures around the world through the projects introduced by its founder, bringing together people from different professions and cultures.
The association has organised the International Large Format Outdoor Painting Competition in Fourges since 2013, 10 minutes from Giverny, where Claude Monet made his home and lived for more than 20 years—a place whose wonderful garden is known as the inspiration for the artist’s famous water lilies.
The competition has gone from strength to strength since its inception: the first edition was held in 2013 and had 20 participating artists, including 10 from Russia and 10 from France; the third edition, in 2015, attracted 100 entrants, which is the maximum number allowed to take part.
There has also been a steady increase in people coming to see the competition; their growing attachment to the event is reflected in the number of votes cast for the “people’s choice” award: 650 voting slips were collected in under two hours in 2015.
In 2015, the competition gained the prestigious patronage of UNESCO, which will again be a sponsor for the fourth edition in 2016. This year’s event will also be backed by the Normandy Impressionist Festival, as it was in 2013, during the previous edition of the festival, which takes place every three years and will run from April to October throughout Normandy in 2016.
Curated by Anna Filimonova and an enthusiastic team of volunteers keen to support the event and the village of Fourges, the Outdoor Painting Competition attracts artists from as far afield as France, Russia, Ukraine, China, Vietnam, Mexico, Hungary, Algeria, Finland, Latvia and Slovenia.
Alongside the competition itself, Ms Filimonova will be working with her fellow artists—sometimes “guests of honour” from their respective countries—to offer a series of workshops throughout the season for anyone keen to try their hand at outdoor painting or hone their skills.
There will also be a series of tailored programmes to introduce professional artists to the region and its natural surroundings. The timetable and conditions are available on the AFCC website.
Although the competition itself lasts just three days, it often provides a springboard for people from a wide array of backgrounds to discover or rediscover this impressionist region. The countryside around Giverny is home to beautiful villages—such as Vernon, Les Andelys, Lyons-la-Forêt, La Roche-Guyon and Vétheuil—which offer an array of different landscapes, gardens, museums and castles. Artists taking part in the competition usually stay in the area for at least a week to explore all of Normandy, from the Vexin region to Etretat and Rouen.
Anna Filimonova, tél. 06 61 91 23 98