Art Jameel sets aside Dh550,000 to support artists in the Middle East

The Saudi Arabian foundation will offer up to Dh11,000 in grants to up to 50 professionals in the Mena region

Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai inaugurated Jameel Arts Centre, Dubai’s first contemporary arts museum. The Centre is located at Jaddaf Waterfront, one of Dubai Holding’s iconic mixed-use destinations, located along the banks of the Dubai Creek. Dubai Media Office / Wam
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As exhibitions, fairs and large-scale events have been cancelled across the art world, artists and other art professionals are facing the loss of fees for participating in exhibitions, lectures and Q&As, for writing and editing opportunities, and for curatorial projects.

The interlinked nature of the art ecosystem is becoming more and more apparent, with freelance workers, often without a financial safety cushion, most vulnerable.

Now, Art Jameel, the Saudi Arabian foundation that runs the Jameel Arts Centre in Dubai, has launched a new scheme to support artists and art practitioners: the Art Jameel Research and Practice Platform, which has now opened its first round of applications.

Available to artists, writers and curators in the Middle East and North Africa region, the micro-funding platform is designed to help plug funding gaps for new and existing projects, with grants of up to $3,000 (Dh11,000) per art professional.

“We’ve been following and discussing the impact that the global health crisis might be having on artists and the creative community in general,” said Antonia Carver, director of Art Jameel, in a statement.

“We felt Art Jameel’s response could include contributing to efforts to support artists and other independent practitioners. [We are] aware that many live project-to-project, and are impacted significantly by the cancellation or postponement of events, locally and globally. The team at Art Jameel has worked really hard to come up with a rapid-response scheme that contributes, even if on a micro level, to keeping artists afloat during these tough times.”

Fifty grants will be available in total, open to curators, artists, researchers and writers who live and work in the Mena region. They will be allocated in three cycles from now until Sunday, June 7, with the first deadline being Friday, April 10, and decided on by an international jury.

Full details about the grants are available on the Art Jameel website