Bozar, the Centre for Fine Arts in Brussels, is to start a crowdfunding campaign to help it cope with the costs of a fire that broke out on the roof of the building two weeks ago.
The fire causes damage to the roof itself, as well as water damage to the interior and the organ in the main concert hall. The organ, which was thoroughly renovated as recently as 2017, has suffered 80% damage.
But more crucially, the fire came on top of a disastrous year for the finances of the centre, one of the nation’s prime cultural venues. Thanks to the two lockdowns in 2020, Bozar lost an estimated €7 million in revenue.
And even when the doors were open, receipts were down thanks to the lower number of tourists visiting the capital.
Now, with the damage caused by the fire, a number of exhibition and performance spaces within the complex are closed, which leads not only to a loss of ticket sales but also other income, for example from sponsorship and events related to exhibitions.
Now Bozar has launched a campaign to call for donations from the public to help pay for repairs.
“Bozar has always been a place that treasures the past and champions the new, where heritage and innovation go hand in hand. And we will overcome this. The Centre will stay open, and we will repair, rebuild, and look forward, as we have always done,” the organisation said.
“But we need your help. To carry on organising wide-ranging artistic projects that challenge, thrill, comfort and explore. To fully pursue our mission as an essential multidisciplinary cultural hub for each and every one of you.”
Aside from the usual type of donations, the campaign allows for members of the public to set up their own sub-campaigns. And holders of tickets that were cancelled can donate the value of their refund to the campaign.
Asked how much the campaign aimed to raised, financial director Christine Perpette replied, “’It’s hard to say. We do not yet know the results of the damage estimates, or the contributions of the insurance companies. Unlike a classic crowdfunding, which usually involves a clear amount and goal, this is a campaign in which individuals and companies can support Bozar’s overall project.”