Already known for hosting millions of businesspeople, Dubai now wants to become a cultural zone and haven for artists too.
On Tuesday, the emirate's ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, announced that the city will soon be launching the UAE's first long-term cultural visa. It seeks to benefit artists, authors and innovators who will now be able to live in the country's Al Quoz region while working on their projects.
The royal's revelation came after a meeting with the Dubai Culture and Arts Authority - which is headed by his daughter Sheikha Latifa - during which officials launched a "new cultural vision." With this, Dubai aims to support 6,000 art and culture companies as well as five creative clusters and 20 museums across the city. Authorities will also be organizing over 550 annual cultural events to establish the emirate as a true global art destination.
Dubai's ruler stressed that the latest initiative will transform Dubai's Al Quoz into a "creative free zone."
In a series of tweets shared by the ruler, it was revealed that the city will also be hosting several events to support artists over the next few months. One such event revolves around literature and will "feature a book fair and events to attract over 2 million visitors."
The leader also spoke of plans to open seven "Schools of Life" in the emirate; these institutions will function as cultural centers, teaching young people essential art, innovation, and creative skills.
The ruler also stated that officials have already approved the launch of of Dubai's architectural identity and the "Art for Good" global exhibition which seeks to raise funds for good causes.
Dubai has been working on expanding its cultural scene...
The newly announced cultural vision seems to have been in the making for quite some time as the emirate has made major strides in the sector in recent years.
From concerts and operas to theater shows and literature events, the city offers a diverse set of creative experiences to individuals interested in arts and culture. One of the cultural highlights of the city is the Dubai Opera, which is considered as "the emirate’s definitive destination for performing arts." The institution has hosted several award-winning shows and concerts since its opening in 2016.
The emirate also recently became host to La Perle, the Middle East's first permanent theatrical show, housed in a dedicated 1,300-seat aqua-theatre and created by Dragone.
The UAE has been making changes to its visa laws in general
The UAE has proven how serious it is about becoming the top destination for families, young adults, entrepreneurs, and tourists alike.
This summer, the country launched new visa rules for residents and tourists under the age of 18, but it hasn't stopped there. The UAE has also been easing entrance laws for talent, creatives and business executives. In April, the UAE government announced it will grant long-term visas to the World Economic Forum's (WEF) selection of "100 Arab startups shaping the Fourth Industrial Revolution."
These visas will be valid for five years, and "will be granted to owners or founders of companies, all of their partners and up to three executives." The visas provided require no sponsor as they will be "in the names of the individuals they are provided to."
Earlier this year, other long-term UAE residency visas (valid for up to 10 years) were also announced. Five new visa categories were brought to the table — open to investors, real estate investors, outstanding students, and scientists/doctors/researchers.