As part of the “Visual Arts: A Flourishing Field” (VAFF) Project’s Second Round of Funding, AMQF Signs Four New Grant Agreements
On Thursday, 24 October 2019, at their headquarters in Ramallah, the A.M. Qattan Foundation (AMQF) signed grant implementation agreements with cultural organisations working in the visual arts field as part of the second round of the “Visual Arts: A Flourishing Field” (VAFF) project, funded by Sweden. Agreements will last for 18 months, with an approximate total of 5.5 million Swedish kroner (estimated at $540,000).
The signing was attended by representatives of the following partnering organisations: the Visual Arts Forum (Ramallah); the Khalil Sakakini Cultural Centre (Ramallah); the Palestinian Museum (Birzeit); and Dar Qandeel for Arts and Culture (Tulkarm). Also present was the General Director of the A.M. Qattan Foundation, Fida Touma; the Foundation’s Financial Director, Bashar Idkeidek; the Director of the Culture and Arts Programme (CAP), Mahmoud Abu Hashhash; the VAFF Project Manager, Yara Odeh; Project Coordinator, Eman Sharabati; Project Coordinator Assistant, Tarteel Mumamar; and the CAP team. The meeting featured an introduction to the organisations’ visual art programmes that are being supported by the VAFF project in this second round of funding, with a view to creating opportunities for collaboration and networking.
The Visual Arts Forum (VAF) will be focusing on its youth education programme, even though the programme is open to different age groups. This will include improving the quality of the art education of the evening school and formulating and further developing the educational vision of the Forum. The grant for the Palestinian Museum (PM) will contribute to establishing a Curatorial Department, as well as capacity building for the museum team that is involved and for other professionals working in the arts scene in general. It will also support the production of commissioned artworks for the museum’s forthcoming exhibition entitled “Palestinian Shores”, and the design and implementation of public educational programmes inspired by this exhibition and by the “Printed in Jerusalem” exhibition. The grant will also be used to organise tours of the two exhibitions for the pupils from 35 public schools, as well as designing and providing a training programme for a number of teachers from different schools, building on their skills and providing them with educational guides and tools that can be applied in the classroom.
Building on the achievements of the first round of VAFF, the Khalil Sakakini Cultural Centre (KSCC) will implement various visual exhibitions and interventions. KSCC will provide production grants to a number of artists, and support cultural and collective research projects, including seminars and workshops in the field of visual arts. Renad Shqeirat, Director of the Centre said, “with the first round of funding we undertook a complete regeneration of the Centre’s infrastructure, for the audience and the public who use it, which has helped us to produce our various cultural activities. It enabled us to host many new cultural and youth groups and to cater for the diverse demands on the space. The grant will be used to fully adapt the Centre to support its current activities and to develop new intercultural projects”.
The forthcoming grant to Dar Qandeel for Arts and Culture in Tulkarm seeks to support the sustainability of Dar Qandeel and the launch and implementation of its new visual arts programme, including plans to develop the capacities of visual artists in Tulkarm and the surrounding area. Production grants will be offered, and a series of training programmes in the digital art field, including photography and video art, in addition to the development of a visual arts education programme for children and the implementation of numerous community art projects.
Artist, cultural activist and the Director of Dar Qandeel, Alaa Abu Saa’, commented on the importance of the grant: “For Dar Qandeel, this grant is a golden opportunity to ensure the sustainability of our centre, through hiring human resources and developing financial sustainability. It will contribute to building our artistic and management capabilities, and give strength to many of the neglected artists in Tulkarm and throughout the West Bank. We hope it will immerse them in new artistic practices, and contribute to making them feel they are a positive part of the rich cultural scene in Palestine.”
In addition to supporting visual arts programmes, the VAFF grants will also offer support to resource development programmes within the organisations through fully or partially covering the costs of the resource development consultants and/or employees and the associated costs, with the design and implementation of income-generating activities, including crowd-funding campaigns and fundraising activities. Through these grants, the organisations will be provided with core support, including covering administrative and operational costs, in order to strengthen their stability and their financial and administrative capacities. The grants will also allow for the development of staff capacities, workplaces, and the technical capabilities related to the visual arts field.
Mahmoud Abu Hashhash, the Director of the Culture and Arts programme at AMQF, said: “Through the support provided in the second round of the VAFF project, the geographic spread of cultural and artistic work will be widened, with the involvement of new organisations working in new areas and reaching new partners and cultural activists. Furthermore, there will be an expansion in new and diverse practices and programmes, adding to the cultural and artistic productions as well as the visual arts educational programmes in Palestine and contributing to the vitality, richness and sustainability of the art scene.”
The second round of the VAFF project was launched in the beginning of 2019, selecting six partners from the first round in addition to new partners.
The project aspires to achieve a more sustainable, vibrant and innovative visual arts field in Palestine. In addition, the project aims to enhance the capacities and sustainability of visual arts organisations. It further develops art education programmes and other learning opportunities and makes them available to artists, art students and professionals. It also better enables art organisations to extend their support to artists and art professionals for the production of new works, and to develop their capacities and offer support to artists and professionals in the field. It also aims to build a wider audience base for the visual arts sector in Palestine