RIYADH: An art residency program in Jeddah’s Al-Balad district has been launched by the Kingdom’s Ministry of Culture.
The program, which will host Saudi and international artists, is designed to create an environment for cultural dialogue and the exchange of knowledge and experience.
Al-Balad is Jeddah’s ancient port center and has been a UNESCO Cultural Heritage Site since 2014. It is famous for its traditional Hijazi architecture, coral masonry, and intricately hand-carved rawashin-style latticed windows.
The residency will be at the Ribat Al-Khonji building in Al-Balad. It was constructed in 1813 and was used in the past as a guesthouse for widowed and single women.
It remained abandoned for a long time until it was restored and used for hosting cultural events. It was chosen for the residency project after the Ministry of Cultural made several improvements to it.
The program includes several courses, each of which continues for six weeks. They focus on social awareness, professional development, and critical thinking. Enrollment is open to Saudi and international artists, and critics.
The residency is one of the ways that the Ministry of Culture is developing talent in the cultural sector, especially the visual arts, and making it easier for international and Saudi artists to exchange experiences to support the development of the Kingdom’s cultural sector.
It seeks to raise awareness about Saudi arts and culture among local, regional and international audiences.
The ministry also wants to raise community awareness through public programs that contribute to the appreciation and understanding of contemporary art, bridging the gaps between it and the local community, in addition to establishing a platform between the local and international art communities, and offering local and international artistic practices to the Saudi public.
The program is part of the Quality of Life Program, which is aimed at achieving goals in the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 reform plans.