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By Steve Kelman

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Own a Picasso for $150 -- another interesting public-private partnership

Picasso Man with Opera Hat

This Picasso could be yours -- and you'd be funding reconstruction of the ancient Phoenican city of Tyre in the process.

This is another of my promised blog posts discussing interesting and innovative public-private partnerships that are emerging in the United States and around the world.

This one involves a Picasso painting called "Man with Opera Hat," worth about a million dollars. Want a chance to own it for 100 euros (about 150)? Buy a raffle ticket before the Dec. 17 drawing in Paris from the Pavillion of Art and Design. If you win, you will get the work.

A strange way to sell art, you might think, but there is a method to the madness. This raffle is a collaboration between Sotheby's auction house and a non-profit called the International Association to Save Tyre. Tyre is an ancient Phoenican city with many classical treasures that was significantly damaged in the Lebanese civil war of the 1980s, and has been waiting since then for governments to come in and provide reconstruction money. But government money never came in.

Enter this non-profit and a private for-profit company. Add an innovative idea. The result is an innovative way to raise money for a public purpose. (It is a bit like the kind of live auctions many voluntary organizations conduct, but on steroids, with the other difference that the funds go not to the organization itself but to some other public purpose.)

I bring up this example partly to tell blog readers about it in case you want to buy a raffle ticket -- I plan to buy one. But I mostly bring it up to get people's innovation juices flowing. Who is going to come up with yet another innovative way for cooperation between private organizations, for-profit and non-profit, and governments in meeting public purposes? This is going to become more and more important, both because of tight government budgets and because of growing civic engagement.

Posted by Steve Kelman on Nov 20, 2013 at 12:39 PM


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