Dubai is home to a huge number of business owners and working expats, but things are set to change for creatives, as the Emirate hopes to become a place for art and culture.
This month, Ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, made the announcement that Dubai would be rolling out the UAE’s first ever long-term cultural visa, specifically for authors, artists, inventors and creatives who will be able to take up residence in the creative and cultural hub that is Al Quoz, whilst working on their art forms. The initiative will also be looking at developing Al Quoz and transforming the area into a “creative free zone.”
Sheikh Mohammed came up with the concept of the cultural visa following a meeting with the Dubai Culture and Arts Authority, which is pioneered by Sheikha Latifa, his daughter. The UAE state’s “new cultural vision” will look at supporting around 6,000 companies within the arts and culture sector, along with 20 museums across the city. In a bid to make Dubai the ultimate global arts destination, the state’s authorities will host over 500 annual cultural events.
Setting the wheels in motion, Sheikh Mohammed also tweeted to share that Dubai would already be hosting a number of events to support the artists who are already in residence there, over the next few months, including an event that explores literature, “a book fair and events to attract over 2 million visitors."
The ruler of Dubai also hopes to establish 7 educational facilities, “Schools of Life,” that look at equipping young people who are interested in art, innovation, creative skills, and the essentials of art. A global exhibition, “Art For Good”, will also be taking place to use art to raise money for humanitarian causes.
Dubai is already home to a number of cultural facilities and events, from operas, theatre shows, art exhibitions, and more, and one of the Emirate’s most popular places is the Dubai Opera. Considered "the emirate’s definitive destination for performing arts," it has hosted a number of award-winning recitals since it first opened in 2016.
Serious about making Dubai an all-encompassing global capital, the UAE’s government announced that the state would be granting long-term visas to the World Economic Forum's (WEF) selection of "100 Arab startups shaping the Fourth Industrial Revolution,” this April. The visas will be valid for 5 years and will be offered to founders of companies, their partners and up to 3 executives – and will require no sponsor.