Christophe Fort, a Marseilles-based painter, had a dream of making a sign with 17-meter (50-foot) letters that spell out the name of France’s oldest city. French newspapers are reporting that he has a pretty good chance of making his dream come true, in part because Marseilles has been selected as one of two European Capitals of Culture for 2013. The European Union program requires local participation in a year-long program of cultural events. (This year's winners are Vilnius, Lithuania, and Linz, Austria.)
Fort told the French daily Le Figaro that the city would go along with his plan. It has yet to be decided if the letters will permanently grace the hillock for which they are planned.
Local reaction has been mostly positive, he said.
The artist told the regional newspaper La Provence that donors could buy individual letters, and he indicated he would get significant funding from the Banque Populaire Foundation.