Abdul Latif Jameel Community Initiatives latest contribution to Saudi Arabia has been launched under its ‘Art Jameel’ initiative – “Beyt Al Fann Jameel”. Developed at a cost of SR100 million, this new international gathering point for artists and art lovers, also invites visitors to Jeddah to delve into the world of art.

“Beyt Al Fann Jameel” will not only bring together artists from different disciplines, but also aims to support those artists and promote their work. “Beyt Al Fann Jameel” will feature an exhibition space specifically designed to display the works resulting from the Islamic art inspired Jameel Prize, and another space dedicated to local and visiting international exhibitions, as well as an open air museum to display sculptures. Other areas have been designed for educational purposes, such as an art laboratory, training rooms and a spacious room for lectures, and an event hall, cafeteria, retail outlets round off the offering of “Beyt Al Fann Jameel”.

“Beyt Al Fann Jameel” is envisaged to become a home to all forms of visual arts, including contemporary and those inspired by the Islamic civilization, such as drawings, paintings, calligraphy, design and much more.

Fady Jameel, President of Abdul Latif Jameel Community Initiatives (ALJCI) International, explained that ‘Art Jameel’ has become the new name for ALJCI’s arts and culture initiatives, taking under its umbrella all the art and cultural programmes, which had been previously launched directly under the Abdul Latif Jameel Community Initiatives, over the last 10 years. The initiative’s sole purpose will be to nurture all art and cultural programmes just like ALJCI’s Bab Rizq Jameel initiative is equally purely dedicated to create programmes focusing on creating employment opportunities.

Detailing ‘Art Jameel’s objectives, he said, the initiative would support Saudi artists, particularly young men and women, discover talents, and foster their artistic skills, whilst giving them a platform to promote their creative works. He added that “Beyt Al Fann Jameel” would offer international scholarships to Saudi artists, which would allow them to join renowned artists at major international art training centres.

He, furthermore, called upon the Saudi business community to unite in launching more initiatives to create a strong network aimed at supporting artists all over the Kingdom. At the same time he expressed his gratitude to the Ministry of Culture and Information and to the Saudi Arabian Society for Culture and Arts for their continuing support.

Speaking at the press conference, Dr Ibrahim Mohammed Badawood, Managing Director of Abdul Latif Jameel Community Initiatives, detailed the progress of the project, explaining that a plot of land for the “Beyt Al Fann Jameel” project had been acquired in a location north of Jeddah, the master plan, he said, was also already being designed by a reputed international architectural firm. The total area of the plot measures 7,000 square meters whilst the built up area (BUP) is also expected to come to 7,000 square metres.

Badawood added that “Beyt Al Fann Jameel” would be a sustainable non-profit organization with operational expenses covered from the first year with events and programmes taking place throughout the year.

The history of the art and cultural programmes of Art Jameel goes back to over 10 years ago, when ALJCI commenced the renovation works of the Islamic Art Gallery at the famous Victoria and Albert Museum in London in 2004. Later, the gallery was renamed ‘Jameel Gallery of Islamic Art’. Not long after the bi-annual Jameel Prize for Islamic Art was launched in 2006, which is now in its third edition. This was followed by the launch of the Art Jameel Photography Award and an Art Centre in Dubai. Other initiatives include the ‘First Edition’ and ALJ Art Olympics, in addition to partnerships with art institutions such as Edge of Arabia, Arabian Wings and Crossway Foundation. Last but not least ALJCI was part of developing a project to restore and promote sculptures in Jeddah.