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Yearlong Arab Art Initiative to Kick Off in New York this Fall

The Misk Art Institute, established by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud last year, has announced that it will launch the yearlong Arab Art and Education Initiative in New York this October. The citywide program is being organized in partnership with the United Nations and more than fifteen major cultural institutions. According to the institute, the initiative will serve as “a new platform for cultural dialogue to build greater understanding between the United States and the Arab world.”

Among the institutions participating are the Brooklyn Museum, which will stage an exhibition featuring stories of Syrian refugees; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which will host a symposium that explores the relationship between the field of Islamic art and avant-garde abstraction; and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, which will hold artist talks. The other programming will include a new Arab artist-in-residence program at the Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts and walking tours of the former “Little Syria” neighborhood in Lower Manhattan. Further details about the initiative will be announced during the New York–Arab World Culture Summit at the United Nations on October 16, which cultural figures from across the globe will attend to discuss the Sustainable Development Goals, a collection of seventeen objectives set forth by the UN and world leaders in 2015 in order to realize a better world by 2030.

“This initiative developed out of our strong desire to share the stories of young Arab artists with a US audience and create a reciprocal exchange between New York institutions and the diverse cultural production coming from the Arab world,” Ahmed Mater, director of the Misk Art Institute said in a statement. “Interest in this output is underscored by the dynamic group of institutions that have made thoughtful and passionate commitments to furthering the conversation around Arab art and history—a conversation that is needed now more than ever.”

The initiative’s partner institutions include:


Asia Society

Brooklyn Museum

Columbia University

Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

Mana Contemporary

Metropolitan Museum of Art

Middle East Institute

Museum of Modern Art

Pioneer Works


Washington Street Historical Society