The Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi is not only an experiment in governance – it is an experiment in sustainable innovation. Since its founding in July 2006, the key challenge of the Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi has been to bring an international approach to making culture in Florence, to provide a platform for experimentation, to provide a place for debate and discussion, to create new synergies with other cultural players, to be a catalyst for cultural change – in short, to ‘think global, act local’. In the past year the Fondazione has found several other ways to express this double mission of bringing international level cultural events to Florence, and giving the Palazzo Strozzi back to the city. One slogan, stressing the importance of seeing the Palazzo Strozzi as a single cultural destination, is'‘not just exhibitions’. This has seen the Fondazione expand its activities to include opening the Centre for Contemporary Culture Strozzina, with a wide range of exhibitions and collateral activities, as well as bringing the courtyard to life with a café, seating and wireless internet. Other slogans focus on the Palazzo Strozzi’s unique approach to creating cultural events – ‘visible listening’ and ‘eyes wide open’.
A key goal at the Palazzo Strozzi is to make exhibitions that are a pleasure, not a duty to visit. The Palazzo Strozzi is visitor-centred, and one of the things that makes our exhibitions special is the visitor-friendliness of all the Palazzo Strozzi’s activities – from the special labelling for families and children, labelling for the visually impaired, to the video information screens in the courtyard. The goal of all these innovations is to awaken the visitor’s curiosity, to whet their appetite for culture. Despite the difficult economic situation in 2008, which saw substantially fewer tourists in Florence, first due to the weak dollar, then due to the deepening global economic crisis, the Palazzo Strozzi hosted a strong programme of cultural events, including major exhibitions, installations of contemporary art, conferences, concerts and fashion shows.