French Salons. From 17th Century onwards, the point of these social gatherings was ‘to encourage people to express themselves in public who otherwise might not have’ (Ray, 2004, p. 537). These gatherings under the roof of an inspiring host ‘were able to play a powerful role in shaping public opinion because they preceded the modern press, parliaments, railroads and the telegraphs’ (Kale, 2006, p. 173). It was where contemporary culture began. So, are we able to take the Horace’s idea of ‘Aut Delectare Aut Prodesse’ (to please or to educate) and follow it today? Especially, if we consider that ‘the eventual disappearance of the Salon as a public space was directly related to the growth of big cities and the evolution of an array of other intellectual institutions that fulfilled some of the Salon’s functions’ (Hertz, 1988 quoted in Kale, 2006, p. 173)? Do we still need Salons today, or do we have enough casual cultural assemblies that satisfy our need for socializing? This can be a tricky question, as we all know that nowadays there are millions of cultural events every day and they mostly play a role of networking. However, the majority of them can be a bit forced and too formal, ending with a huge migraine, exhaustion and a will to never do it again. Therefore, why not focus on inspiration and enlightenment in these stressful times and discuss various topics in a relaxed environment? This is where Salon48 comes in. An afternoon of informal mingling with numerous stimulating people, debating different subjects with sparks flying, admiring the exhibited artworks and enjoying virtuosic music. And going home as fresh as a daisy, with newfound knowledge and countless fresh contacts.
Being quite new in the city of Bath, I am unfortunately still very much unfamiliar with all the various aspects it has to offer, including different communities and interesting people. Usually I network in the familiar groups, coming from the same profession, therefore Salon48 is a perfect opportunity for me and each and every other person to come together in an informal setting, where we can all be very relaxed and get acquainted with each other’s work. This can lead to future collaborations and further our careers. And doing it with smiles on our faces.
Salon48 is planning a series of regular and informal Open Events over long Sunday afternoons, where representatives from a range of different social networks will be invited to connect with each other and enjoy presentations from a selection of special guests. We will follow the theme Art, Mind & Music; therefore, everyone’s desires can be met.
These few hour get-togethers in an artist’s studio, with drinks, nibbles&canapes will help people unwind even more. Each time three special invitees will show their work in more detail. Q&A would follow, with usual mingling and informal talks.
Kale, S. (2006) French Salons: high society and political sociability from the Old Regime to the revolution of 1848. London: Johns Hopkins University Press.
Ray, W. (2004) ‘Talking about Art: The French Royal Academy Salons and the Formation of the Discursive citizen’. Artistic Interactions, 37(4), pp. 527-552.