Abu Dhabi’s recently reopened Cultural Foundation intends to be a beacon for the arts and a platform to launch countless art careers.
Art and culture play a vital role in a city’s livability and its social cohesion, so smart cities invest in their creative capital. The UAE is no exception. “Artists can be catalysts for big things to happen,” says jewellery designer and sculptor Azza Al Qubaisi. “Cultural centres thrive when artists are encouraged and supported by their cities. The Cultural Foundation was built to house the arts.”
In 1971, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al Nahyan conceived a cultural institution to breathe new life into the new nation’s artistic gifts and to spur intellectual growth. He envisioned a cultural renaissance to help usher in an era of modernity. And in 1981, this haven for art and cultural initiatives opened its doors. The Cultural Foundation would be a national landmark that, while staying true to Arab-Islamic style, would exude the aspirations for modernity and progress.
With its library, theatre, and exhibit halls, the Foundation quickly became a treasured hub for the arts. Between offering workshops, studio space for artists to work in, and walls for artists to exhibition upon, the Cultural Foundation was the art incubator to launch a thousand careers. Many UAE artists with thriving careers today made their start at the foundation.
“I owe my career to the Cultural Foundation,” Azza beams. “If I had not had the opportunity to exhibit at the Foundation and learn the ropes, I wouldn’t be where I am today.”
Get involved by taking a variety of workshops led by guest instructors and resident artists to get a feel for the Foundation and a pulse of the UAE grassroots art scene. To learn more, visit Culturalfoundation.ae