Young people from modest backgrounds in art schools, an internship to boost equal opportunities

When it was thrown to him that art made “society advance”, that it allowed it “to rise”, Shyama did not bat an eyelid: “No, art is useless. It is science and medicine that move the world. Yet she thought just the opposite.

In this role-playing game imagined by Jonathan Gensburger, an actor from the National Theater of Nice, the young woman had to defend the camp of those who answer “no” to the question “is art necessary? » A role of composition. A thousand leagues from his own convictions. For her, it is even vital, in “everything and all the time”.

His dream is to make a career out of it. And she was not there by chance. The workshop organized in a drawing studio at the Villa Arson marked the start, Monday afternoon, of an intensive week of training open to thirty “young people from modest backgrounds” and from all over France, invited by the Culture & Diversity Foundation to prepare for entrance examinations to art and design schools. The initiative, launched in 2006 and repeated several times a year throughout France, is organized for the first time in this establishment in the heights of Nice.

Audiences “often very distant from art”

“The idea, as with the Cordées de la Réussite, is to be able to help them integrate courses that may seem very difficult for them to access. Like art, which may seem even more inaccessible to these audiences who are often very far from it”, explained on the spot Lucile Deschamps, general delegate of this foundation, in charge of equal opportunities. These “young people from modest backgrounds” still represent less than 10% of the workforce of these establishments, according to the figures provided.

Paule is part of the training group in Nice. “My parents are an accountant and employed in the funeral directors, they live in rural areas, they are not very sensitive to art and have a little trouble understanding that we can make a job out of it”, explains this high school student. However, “today for sure, that’s what I want to do”, continues the 19-year-old young adult, who left to prepare a baccalaureate in “visual merchandising” in a vocational high school in Brittany, “far from them. “.

And it was her applied arts teacher who “pushed” her to apply for the internship. “I hope this will help me. I must say that I am also quite terrified of higher education in general, she confides. By the pressure of the choices we have to make so quickly, by the pressure of Parcoursup. Above all, I’m very afraid of not knowing how to express myself in competitions, of not knowing how to defend myself well. »

Workshops and testimonials to “offer them empowerment”

Their first “lesson” on Monday was only a warm-up lap. “This theatrical exercise made it possible to jostle them a little, to make them speak in public. They will need it when they have to speak in front of a jury, ”points out Lucile Deschamps.

The rest of the program concocted by Villa Arson is “really intended to offer them empowerment, so that they come out of there with the conviction that they will get there with the same chances as someone else” , hopes Christelle Alin, responsible for student life in this establishment, member of the network of 45 national schools of art in France.

On Tuesday, they followed workshops in ceramics, painting, screen printing and cinema. This Wednesday, they will also learn how to comment on a work on the floors of the Mamac, the museum of modern and contemporary art in Nice. “They will also meet students and alumni who will be their chaperones, who are best placed to tell them what to expect in the competitions”, continues Christelle Alin. Friday, finally, they will be entitled to “rehearsals” of interviews, with representatives of the schools they may want to integrate.

Nearly 400 graduates since 2006

At just 18 years old, Maxime is directly aiming for “Fine Arts and nothing else”. “I know it will be complicated, but if I’m here, it’s because I’m ready to hang on,” he explains, with the dream of working in events, “in scenography for example” to be able to “develop in parallel [ses] own artistic projects, in performance, photography or painting”.

This child of a “single mother” who “will always do everything she can to help me” can also count on the support of the Culture & Diversity Foundation, “including during and after the competitions”, supports Lucile Deschamps . “We support them throughout their course with housing assistance grants when they enter schools, and even helping hands to find their first job,” says the manager. Moreover, we try at the same time to reassure the families that there are outlets in the field of art. »

Since 2006 and the launch of these courses, 2,700 of these young people have taken part in them and, among them, 2,300 have actually passed the competitions. One out of two then joined a school and the foundation now has nearly 400 graduates.

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