The Lebanon Solidarity Fund was jointly launched by the Arab Fund for Arts and Culture (AFAC) and Culture Resource (Al-Mawred Al-Thaqafy) in May 2020 to support arts and culture structures in Lebanon during a time of unprecedented national economic collapse, which was further exacerbated by the global COVID-19 pandemic. The Fund was introduced to try to address some of the pressing needs facing the arts and culture sector in Lebanon.
Since the launch of the Fund, a devastating blast in the port of Beirut rocked the capital on August 4, killing hundreds, displacing thousands, and destroying homes, offices, and workspaces across the city. In addition to the physical damage and destruction wreaked by the blast, an already distressed population faced grief and the prospect of more economic despair. The arts and culture sector was not spared; it suffered both material and immaterial damages that went beyond physical spaces, adversely affecting economic structures and networks, tangible and intangible cultural heritage, as well as the morale and livelihoods of workers and practitioners in the sector.
In the midst of ongoing efforts to repair and rebuild spaces destroyed by the blast, a larger question about the function of the arts and culture sector in Lebanon has arisen. The physical and economic recovery of the sector is accompanied by the need to re-imagine the roles of its institutions, as well as their modes of operation and production, in order for them to survive and stay relevant. The current challenges of retaining skills and know-how in the country, activating existing spaces and networks, re-thinking and preserving heritage in this post-blast context, and creating new work and collaborations also present a moment for the arts and culture community to articulate new priorities and visions while concretizing the remarkable solidarity we are witnessing. Although the material consequences of the Beirut port explosion are most palpable in the capital, the overarching aim of this support scheme is to revive the sector as a whole and battle any tendencies of going back to ‘normal’ and thus cannot only focus on Beirut.
Having extended support for 208 individuals affected by the blast in a first round, this second round of the Lebanon Solidarity Fund aims to assist arts and culture institutions and spaces (Example: galleries, bookstores, libraries, etc.) across Lebanon. It will respond to their urgent needs as well as their mid-to-long-term requirements for viability. The Fund will come to support any reconstruction and repair activities that have not yet been conducted either due to a lack of funding or simply because it felt too soon to fix glass when the future seemed so uncertain. In addition to physical rehabilitation of spaces and equipment, the Fund acknowledges that the institutional survival of these spaces is only ensured through their workers and therefore needs to aid in the preservation of jobs and salaries as well as other essential expenses. In an attempt to fight the course of business-as-usual, the Solidarity Fund will not be restricted to emergency relief but will also allow spaces and institutions the possibility to use this moment to think about their relation to the past and lived heritage and imagine different futures and meanings of contemporary cultural work and production. As such, the Fund will support at the programmatic level by answering to a variety of sector issues old and new. In this sense, the exploration of collaborative options when it comes to the use of space, the sharing of expertise and costs, as well as combining or diversifying audiences and cross-disciplinary programming is highly encouraged. Additionally, the Fund values those projects/programs that are aware of the need to engage communities and of their ability to create a trickle-down effect with respect to the economy of cultural production.
Arts and cultural institutions and spaces may apply to one or a combination of two of the following three areas of support:
This support scheme of maximum USD 70,000 per entity will benefit cultural spaces and arts and culture institutions based in Lebanon from diverse practices, disciplines, and missions.
General Guidelines and Submission Process
The Lebanon Solidarity Fund is made possible through the generous contributions of: “Unis pour le Liban”, the Open Society Foundations, German Ministry of Foreign Affairs, DOEN Foundation, Drosos Foundation, Ford Foundation, the Swiss Cooperation Office (Lebanon), The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the British Council's Cultural Protection Fund, the European Cultural Foundation, the Prince Claus Fund, and Sfeir-Semler gallery.
Additionally, the Fund received support from more than 150 individual givers through either direct contributions or organizing fundraisers:
Aaron Cezar - Adele Milozzi - Aditya Nochur - Ahmed Naji - Ala Koreitem - Ali Al Adawy - Ali AlShaikh - Ali Essafi - Alisa Lebow - Alizee Monod - Almut Goldhahn - Amy Reddington - Ana P De Haro - Andree Sfeir-Semler - Angela Fumarola - Angelika Stepken - Angharad Wynne-Jones - Anja Santuario-Eilts - Anna Kaltwasser - Anna Seibt - Apsara C DiQuinzio - Arias Fernandez ElShennawy - Ascot Smith - Aude Thepenier - Azra Aksamija - Beate Elvira Renner- Beirut Over and Over Again - Benjamin Salama - Beth Enson - Bettina Korek – Bisan Toron - Bojana Ka - Brigid Alice OShea - Cady A Susswein - Camilia Kamoun - Carol Moukheiber - CEC ArtsLink - Charles & Yolla Noujaim - Charles Kahn - Charlotta Sparre - Charlotte Coosemans - Chris Chapman - Christine Garibian - Christy Fearn - Cordula Daus - Daniel O'Connor - Deema Asfour - Diana Aljeiroudi - Dimitrios Petridis - Dina Emam - Dina Kerr - Elinor Morgan - Emily Pugh - Emna Zghal - Erik Hillestad - Etel Adnan - Fabienne Hoffmann - Fala Al Urfali - Farid Adjoud - Ferdinand Richard - Fund for Art Institutions, Artists & Practitioners - Lebanon & Artists fundraising from Turkey (Beyrut'a Sanat) - Georgios Diapoulis - Gulf Photo Plus LLC - Helen Champion - Helen Murbach - Hera Buyuktasciyan Bilezik - Hilary Wise - Jaana Duensing - Jane K. Lombard - Jasper Leonard Kuehn - Jessica Cochran - Jessica Morgan - Johannes Strugalla - Jonathan Mayo - Julia Duarte - Julia Hauser - Julie Wills- Juliette Chretien - Karin Schyle - Karsten Lund - Kate Seelye - Kate Strudwick - Khaled Aleyan - Kinan Azmeh - Klara Blaschitz - Laila Sumpton - Lara Kalis - Layla C Bonnot - Lizlette Nooyen - Lizzie Opolski - Ludwig Furger - Lyne Sneige Keyrouz - Maarten Derksen - Mahdi Fleifel - Majed Halawi - Manuela Lucia Tessi - Marcus Beuter - Margrit Goop - Maria Christophersen - Maria Klenner - Marie Le Sourd - Marie Saadeh - Marie-Douce St-Jacques - Marie-Luise Thiemann - Marion Schmidt - Marwan T. Assaf - Mary Emily Neumeier - Masar Sohail - Maud Cherbonnel - Mauri Sherrington - Maya El Khalil - Megan B. Prier - Meredith Malone - Merel Oord - Mette Loulou von Kohl - Michael Maneval - Michelle Henning - Mohammed Abdallah - Mona Younis - Monica Kim - Munir Atalla - Nada Shabout - Nahla Tabba - Nan van Houte - Nat Muller - Natalia Casorati - Natalia Imaz - Nicolas Appelt - Nina Wishnok - Nour Ouayda - Omar Daham - Page D Delano - Paul Hughes-Smith - Paul Van't Veld - Philippa Hare - Philo Cohen - Rana Issa - Reiner Moeckelmann - Remi Bonhomme - Riad Abdel-Gawad- Robert Wolfe - Ruba Katrib - Ruby D'Aluisio Trabka - Sam Bardaouil and Till Fellrath - Samer Najari - Sara Tas - Sarah Rogers - Saria Sakka - Saskia Meike - Sheyma Buali - Shohini Chaudhuri - Simone Martin-Newberry - Sinje Homann - Slevogt Silke - Stadt Zuerich - Stephanie Velazquez - Suleiman El Bassam - Susan Meiselas - Susanna Hegewisch-Becker - Susanne Burkhardt - Suzanne M.Wettenschwiler - Tabitha Jackson - Taylor Groenke - Taysir Batniji - Thomas Dane Gallery - Thomas Dingle - Thomas J. Neff - Thy Art London - Tsunehiko Nishiyama - Ursula Biemann - Valerie Wade - Vassaras Georgios - Vera Chotzoglou - Victoria Chernukha - Vincent Cotte - Wendy Pearlman - Yassine Balbzioui - Zoe Aiano.