BZU, A.M. Qattan Foundation sign agreement to support Visual Arts Program

Birzeit University, represented by its President Dr. Abdullatif Abuhijleh, and the AM Qattan Foundation, represented by its Director General Ziad Khalaf, signed a grant implementation agreement on January 15, 2018.

The $188,932-dollar grant is part of the support for the Visual Arts, Development, and Capacity Building for Birzeit University’s Community and the Fine Arts and Music Faculty project, which is part of the Visual Arts: A Flourishing Field project, one component of AM Qattan’s Culture and Arts program.

The project, funded by the Consulate General of Sweden, represented by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), aims to support and revitalize the visual arts field in Palestine, creating a sustainable, growing sector in the process.

Attending the signing ceremony were Vice President for Planning & Development Dr. Mirvat Bulbul; Director of the Contemporary Visual Arts Program Tina Sherwell; and Director of the Office of Grants and Contracts Dr. Amir Khalil.

Representatives from the AM Qattan Foundation were also present at the meeting, such as Visual Arts: A Flourishing Field Project Manager Yara Odeh; Project Coordinator Eman Sharabati; and Director of Communication & Public Relations Nader Dagher.

Dr. Abuhijleh commended the university’s ongoing partnership with the AM Qattan Foundation, and updated the attending audience on the latest developments ongoing at the university, especially its interest in fine arts.

The president also highlighted the Bachelor’s Program in Contemporary Visual Arts, a new program recently introduced by the university. He said, “This is an interdisciplinary program that provides a unique learning experience for students in drawing, painting, sculpture, assemblage, photography, video, film, sound, and performance, in addition to social, historical, and theoretical studies.”

“Local and world-renowned visiting scholars will teach in this program,” added Dr. Abuhijleh, “in addition to globally-active artists in these fields. These instructors will provide an educational experience that encompasses all the different perspectives in contemporary art. The program has started with 10 students, and it’s expected to gain more traction once the Fine Arts and Music Program’s faculty members are completely staffed and its building, which is expected to be inaugurated in April of 2019, is completed.”

Khalaf said that the foundation’s support aims to develop Birzeit University’s Visual Arts Program, provide the required tools and equipment, and build the capacities necessary for its success. The program, added Khalaf, will enrich the university community, raise the Palestinian artistic scene to new heights, and provide it with new generations of artists and creatives.

“The Birzeit University project will focus on building the technical capacities of the Visual Arts Program and outfit the Samir Aweidah Building with traditional and high-tech printing, digital, and 3D equipment that will benefit the Visual Arts Program directly, and the rest of the fine arts, design, and architecture fields more generally. The project will also contribute to outfitting the Contemporary Visual Arts Program’s laboratories by furnishing the printing section. This equipment will be available for use by students, artists, and professionals.”