Dubai Culture has unveiled an ambitious new Dh2 million public art programme to transform the city into what it describes as "an open, accessible and global art gallery".
The Public Art Strategy aims to support Dubai's creative economy, enhance its visual culture and enrich the artistic community by transforming public spaces with sculptures, paintings, murals and art installations. It hopes these spaces will reflect the city's diverse creative identity and create lines of discourse between artists and the public.
The project also aligns with the Dubai 2040 Urban Master Plan to improve quality of life, enhance Dubai’s global competitiveness and solidify its position as the best city to live, work and visit.
Hala Badri, director general at Dubai Culture, said the importance of this strategy was in its ability to establish a unique cultural and artistic environment within Dubai. Badri added: “The strategy reflects the features of Dubai’s identity and the richness of its art scene, in addition to its role in supporting cultural tourism and making it a key source of the creative economy.”
“Through this strategy, we seek to create a culture of creativity and entrepreneurship, support Dubai’s creative economy and strengthen partnerships with the private sector,” added Badri.
Launched in co-operation with Art Dubai, the project will begin with a Dh2 million inaugural commission.
Dubai Culture is also collaborating with art entities such as Art Dubai, Tashkeel, Alserkal, Art Jameel and Akaas Visual Arts, who will be inviting all Emirati and UAE-based artists to present ideas for site-specific art installations. The first planned site will be Al Hudaiba garden, overlooking Etihad Museum.
Badri said: “We aim to extend bridges of cooperation, empower artists, and enhance their presence on the art scene, which helps make Dubai a global icon and a unique model for cities of the future.”
Submissions for the first site-specific installation must be submitted by February 13. Shortlisted artists will be announced at the 16th edition of Art Dubai, which takes place from March 1 to 5. Each shortlisted candidate will receive $5,000 to create a detailed proposal and a prototype of their work, with the winning installation announced later in the year.
Scroll through images of Abu Dhabi's public sculptures below