Art Dubai and start offer free workshops for children

Published February 25th, 2010 - 12:32 GMT

Art Dubai will offer an array of creative and educational opportunities for all ages throughout the four days of the Middle East's biggest art event. Talented children and teenagers will have a chance to work alongside practising artists with a wide range of workshops led by the renowned START team. Meanwhile adults will enjoy a range of events, tours, talks and exhibitions designed for both experienced and first-time visitors to the fair.

“Art fairs are an important community event and this is reflected in Art Dubai’s public programme,” said John Martin, Director and Co-Founder of Art Dubai.
“We want to encourage people from all walks of life to attend Art Dubai and understand that the event is more than a chance to view beautiful artworks from all over the world - it is a meeting of minds and a springboard for creativity. It is particularly important for the younger generation to participate in art early in their lives and realise that they have the potential to be the artists of the future, “added Martin.

Open to university students, schools and families, the workshops will cover photography, graffiti, design and large-scale drawing. Places can be booked in advance by emailing and are free with entry to Art Dubai, which is complimentary for children aged 12 and under and AED 50 for guests 13 and over. All supplies are provided by START and children should wear comfortable clothing, which can withstand a few splashes of paint.

With the support of the British Council and Tashkeel, START have commissioned several artists to lead workshops including young Emirati designer Noor Al Khaja with German designer Sven guiding BA students on a Public Design tour of Art Dubai; Leanne Elliott and Ita Maude-Wooler, who will lead RART, an award-winning London based art collective, which focuses on drawing and performance; and Mohammed Ali AerosolArabic, who fuses graffiti-art with the grace and eloquence of Islamic script and patterns.

The START Pavilion is specifically designed for workshops and the timetable is jam-packed with activities, which will soon be available on the Art Dubai website ( On Wednesday 17 March, a line-up dedicated to school groups includes a Van Cleef & Arpels dial design workshop with enamellist Dominique Baron and the chance to learn more about the Abraaj Capital Art Prize through collage. On Thursday 18 March, Sven Mueller and Noor Al Khaja will look at UAE public design and Leanne Elliot will be getting schools to draw. AerosolArabic will be on-site all week developing a graffiti wall, and Friday 19 March and Saturday 20 March will see families invited to develop a Golden Wall with designers Abir Fawaz and Sharmeen Syed. Indoors, START will have an information point for families and will exhibit art from Palestinian orphans taught by START with the support of Chalhoub.

START was established by Art Dubai and the Al Madad Foundation in 2007 to link child development with arts education, reaching out to refugee and orphaned children in the Middle East.

For an older audience, Art Dubai offers Art Park, the converted car park underneath the galleries at Madinat Jumeirah, which returns for the third year with a range of film screenings, special projects and talks daily from 5pm to 8pm.

Art Park Talks, curated by Bidoun Projects with the kind support of the Emirates Foundation, have a focus on the relationship between archives and art, film, music and books. Special speakers will include Kenneth Goldsmith, the founder of the renowned avant-garde archiving site UbuWeb, plus musicians and poets from Armenia, Egypt and elsewhere.

Art Park’s 2010 agenda will include The Big Idea, a special evening event that sees artists, designers and architects from the UAE and beyond 'pitch' new projects in a dynamic forum of ideas.

Also curated by Bidoun Projects is a series of artist-led tours in which artists Sophia Al Maria, Daniel Bozhkov and Khalil Rabah will lead visitors through a subjective journey through the galleries and grounds.  These tours will be available to all visitors of the fair and require pre-registration on-site

Visitors to Art Dubai can also stay updated through the Canvas Daily newspaper. The English-language daily paper will report on the activities of the fair and feature breaking news, exclusive interviews and reviews.

Tickets are now on sale for Art Dubai through They will also be available at the door during Art Dubai.

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