Royal Commission for AlUla The Ithra Art Prize art
The King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (Ithra) and the Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU) are excited to invite entries for the 6th edition of the Ithra Art Prize under a comprehensive partnership to promote and grow the arts and cultural industries across Saudi Arabia. The open call for the prize, which comes with a grant of $100,000, closes on September 31, 2023. The winning artwork will be unveiled during the AlUla Arts Festival in February 2024.

One of the most significant grants in the region, the Ithra Art Prize at AlUla supports the partnership’s aim to empower the creative sector. This edition will focus on outdoor installation art and sculpture, and will be adjudicated by a committee of regional and international experts including representatives from Ithra and RCU. The Ithra Art Prize supports artists from and based in the Arab world to develop career-making work. The winner will receive $100,000, and Ithra will cover production costs up to $400,000. The winning piece will be unveiled and showcased at AlUla’s unique multi-arts festival championing art in all its forms, before joining Ithra’s permanent collection.

AlUla landscape_oasis © Royal Commission for AlUla

The partnership boosts strategic talent and skills capabilities across the creative economy in line with Vision 2030, and connects Saudi’s western and eastern regions through art and culture. Fields for collaboration include film, training and education, corporate social responsibility, events and exhibitions, and research, including in digital awareness. It also delivers opportunities to build art-led skills development and experiences between the two communities.

The agreement leverages Ithra’s expertise in offering curated courses, training programs and other cultural activities beyond the Centre’s campus and RCU’s efforts to build on AlUla’s rich legacy to place art and creativity at the center of an unfolding visitor destination. It cements Ithra and RCU as valued contributors to the Eastern Province’s and AlUla’s character, quality of life and economy.

Ithra and RCU have already activated the partnership with collaboration on the latest edition of the AlUla Design Award, which honors exceptional design inspired by the heritage, landscapes and artistic legacies of AlUla, with Ithra’s Creative Director Robert Frith serving on the jury panel.

Ithra Art Prize 4th edition winning artwork, E Pluribus Unum – A Modern Fossil by Nadia Kaabi-Linke. Photography by Ahmad Alnaji

Ithra, named for the Arabic word meaning “enrichment”, is one of Saudi Arabia’s most influential cultural institutions. Ithra aims to inspire and enrich the public through a focus on cross-cultural experiences supported by a variety of impactful programs aimed at igniting cultural curiosity, stimulating knowledge exploration and inspiring creativity through the power of ideas, imagination and innovation.

RCU is regenerating AlUla, an historic crossroads of civilisations, as a leading global destination for cultural and natural heritage. AlUla is rapidly emerging as a year-round arts and culture hub with events such as Winter at Tantora, the Arabian Kingdoms Festival, the Azimuth Festival, Desert X AlUla, concerts and exhibits at the multi-purpose Maraya venue, and the AlUla Arts Festival, which this year featured an exhibition Andy Warhol’s art. AlUla is also rising as a destination for film production through the growth of Film AlUla, which has begun construction of an ambitious studio complex.

About The King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture

Ithra (The King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture) – Photography by Ahmad Alnaji

The King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (Ithra) is a beacon of change in Saudi Arabia, and symbolic of KSA’s shift towards human energy based in culture, creativity and innovation. Saudi at heart and multicultural by nature, Ithra is a gateway to the Kingdom and a connection to the world. The Center creates new opportunities while preparing the next generation of original thinkers to lead in the creative and cultural industries. Ithra enriches lives and unlocks talent through a focus on cross-cultural experiences while encouraging the development of original content. The heart of the creative economy, Ithra offers purpose-driven programs and initiatives that support the Kingdom’s ongoing cultural transformation across the arts, sciences, culture and innovation.

About the Royal Commission for AlUla

AlUla landscape_Elephant Rock © Royal Commission for AlUla

The Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU) was established by royal decree in 2017 to preserve and develop AlUla, a region of outstanding natural and cultural significance in north-west Saudi Arabia. RCU’s long-term plan outlines a responsible, sustainable, and sensitive approach to urban and economic development that preserves the area’s natural and historic heritage while establishing AlUla as a desirable location to live, work, and visit. This encompasses a broad range of initiatives across archaeology, tourism, culture, education, and the arts, reflecting a commitment to meeting the economic diversification, local community empowerment, and heritage preservation priorities of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 program.

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