David B. signing books

For one week in 2008, the Alliance Française de Seattle presented the project “La Semaine de la Bande Dessinée”, A Week Celebrating the French Graphic Novel. Curator Cynthia Rose conceived the project to highlight not only the special role of the francophone bande dessinée and the work of Paris artist David B. but also to honour more than 300 graphic artists who live and work around Puget Sound. All its activities centered around a visit to the US by internationally-acclaimed artist Pierre-François Beauchard, published as David B.

With Fantagraphics Books, the AF de Seattle hosted and co-sponsored an art opening and a series of events, talks and film screenings in conjunction with Seattle Central Library, Fantagraphics Gallery, the Henry Art Gallery, Pantheon Books, Northwest Film Forum, Artist Trust of Washington and the French American Chamber of Commerce. All AF events were free of charge to the public and attracted around 1,000 people; this was thanks to generous sponsorship awarded by 4Culture and the Federation of Alliances Françaises USA.

This project derived directly from the AF mission to promote local understanding of French and francophone culture. The French revere the bande dessinée/graphic novel as their “ninth art” and one in every eight volumes sold by today's French bookseller is a bande dessinée. However, in its classic large album format, the B.D. rarely translated into real English-language (or non-European) market success before

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photographs copyright Steven P. Sampson design MuchaCreative