Expanding arts and culture

Culture stands very close in relation to art (nothing new in claiming that) and that is what we had a good glimpse of in a series of exhibition openings that took place on april 16th 2009 in Jabal Luweibdeh between 3 locations: Makan, Dar Al Anda and Darat Al Funun. Ranging from paintings, to musical performances, the atmosphere in the street was very exciting. What I liked most about the exhibitions was that they really did expand the idea of what an arts organization can present. At Makan, young photographers from Al Burj Al Shamali refugee camp in Lebanon showed some photography work – of impressive standard. Darat Al Funun had a new and interesting display of 3 projects by three different parties. Ala’a Younis, a Jordanian artist presented conceptual works in video, installation, print and objects. Blouzat, a group of street artists presented mainly drawings and graffiti works in different indoor and outdoor locations around the Darat’s premises. In another location, the new web TV called Arumrum produced by Greyscale Productions had a soft launch for the Internet TV that will soon be available online. Lastly, a group of Jordanian musicians from different bands such as Yacoub Abu Ghosh from Sign of Thyme and Yazan Rousan amongst others came together for an outdoor jamming session. The atmosphere was very festive (the warm weather probably added to that feeling of festivity). The combination of works by different sectors of the creative industry brought a very new and different audience to the Darat, whos’ exhibition openings would usually attract strictly art-goers, who unfortunately are a relatively limited audience. Actually, I am not sure I even saw many of the ‘usual suspects’. Either way, the variety of works I saw yesterday made me think about two things. One is that by bringing all these different mediums and projects from varied ‘creative industries’ expanded the notion of arts and culture to a much larger field. Second, is that by expanding the presentations of types of works, you automatically attract new audiences who will be exposed to new cultural products.