Eight Arts and Culture Institutions Selected to Participate in the Second Cycle of ACE
19 Aug 2019

The Arab Fund for Arts and Culture - AFAC and Drosos Foundation are pleased to announce the eight cultural institutions from the Arab region that have been selected to participate in the second cycle of the Arts and Culture Entrepreneurship (ACE) program.

The ACE program was launched in 2018 in partnership with Drosos Foundation and with the support of the German Foreign Federal Office. ACE aims to explore new models for sustaining independent arts and culture entities in the Arab region. Each cycle comprises three workshops, a tailored mentorship scheme, and culminates in an incentive grant that allows the participating institutions to implement an innovative activity inspired by their learning during the program.

The program is based on a process of nomination which was launched in April 2019. The applications for the 2019 cycle were solicited by 37 individuals and institutions that possess wide knowledge of arts and culture institutions in the Arab region. Out of 81 nominated institutions from 15 Arab countries, 41 expressed interest in applying and 38 submitted an application by the deadline of June 20th, 2019.

This year’s jury committee comprised Mona Younis, independent consultant on organizational development and human rights; Sana Ouchtati, independent cultural relations consultant; and Rasha Salah, independent curator and program director. Over the period of one month, the jurors reviewed and evaluated the applications in preparation for the jury meeting which took place at the AFAC office in Beirut. The eight institutions selected by the jurors are reflective of those that stand the best chance to benefit from a program like ACE.

The meeting culminated in the following jury statement:
“The review of 38 excellent proposals gave us a window into the region’s extraordinary artistic contributions and development, and for this we feel privileged and honored. The organizations’ creativity, determination and resilience in the face of immense social, political and financial challenges are nothing short of heroic. The diversity of models and profiles is impressive; people are creating and exploring tools to not merely exist but also resist.
Their pursuit of artistic excellence is matched by their engagement with local communities as well as counterparts throughout the region and beyond. Moreover, an impressive number have established strong ties with and presence in the international arts scene.
It was very hard to select eight institutions out of the excellent applications. We were impressed by the level and quality of the applicants’ self-awareness in terms of the needs and the challenges they are facing and their readiness to address these head-on. We were also impressed by the caliber of the proposals and their thoughtful reflections on their institutional development and how they will benefit from the ACE program. In particular, they showed genuine interest in entrepreneurship and other ways to become self-sustainable and grow their institutions.
The three of us were also inspired and exhilarated by the dedication to carry out their work even in challenging environments. Imagine, in Yemen, young filmmakers are coming together to produce films that tell stories while the war rages, while in Libya another organization is engaged in multi-disciplinary programs for communities in remote areas!
We were also surprised by a few things. We were positively surprised by the diversity of applications in terms of countries, art practices, sectors, and models. This diversity bodes well for exchanges and sharing experiences and building synergies across the region. We also sadly note that the current political pressure on institutions has clearly affected arts organizations in a number of countries as reflected by the small number of applications from those countries.
The ACE program is a gift from AFAC to the Arab region, and one that will see valuable arts organizations developing and flourishing in the years ahead and for that we can all be grateful.”

The selected institutions hail from across the Arab region: Tunisia (1), Yemen (1), Algeria (1), Lebanon (2), Libya (1), and Egypt (2) and are active in the fields of Visual Arts, Performing Arts, Film, Music, in addition to multidisciplinary activities.

The Eight Selected Institutions
Metropolis Art Cinema (Lebanon)
Fanni Raghman Anni (Tunisia)
WARAQ (Lebanon)
COMRA (Yemen)
Tanarout (Libya)
Axxam N-Dda Ali – Uncle Ali's House (Algeria)
Reflection (Egypt)
EKA3 (Egypt)