The Goethe-Institut Libanon is gearing up for the third installment of its highly successful ArtEvolution program. Launched amidst a critical time for Lebanon’s cultural landscape, the institute aims to foster stronger artistic communities within the country. Five selected participants, armed with a production grant and the backing of local organizations, will embark on a seven-month artistic journey from May to November 2023. The program will enable them to hone their creative-critical skills and bring their preconceived projects to fruition.

The inaugural residency will be hosted by Happinest in Wadi Shahrour in May, with a second one slated for October at the Hammana Artist House. Throughout seven months, the artists will be enriched by monthly workshops, skills-building classes, and individual tutoring. The program is designed to stimulate creativity and promote professionalism in the artistic process. ArtEvolution’s innovative approach also includes Impulse sessions in June, July, and November. These gatherings, open to the public, will be steered by guest curators who intend to instigate a robust dialogue with society.

The grand finale will take place in October and November, featuring three public platforms in Hammana, Saida, and Beirut. The artists will seize this opportunity to showcase their work, demonstrating the power of art to unify communities in a mutual appreciation of creativity. Five distinguished cultural practitioners, all women, make up the international jury this year. The panel consists of Frederike Berje from the Goethe-Institut in Cairo, independent curator Nedjma Hadj Benchelabi, Nora Hertlein from Hamburg’s Thalia Theater, Maral Mikirditsian from the Arab Fund for Arts and Culture (AFAC), and Louna Sbou, Director of Oyoun in Berlin-Neukölln. After a thorough review process, the jury selected five emerging talents in performing arts: Rana Albaba, Sara Almoneem, Marie-Thérèse Ghosn, Rahaf Jammal, and Abraham Younan.

According to Milena Gehrt, co-manager of ArtEvolution, this year saw a shift from a research-oriented to a production-centric program. The return of half of the artists from the 2021 and 2022 programs attests to ArtEvolution’s enduring value and importance in the region, Gehrt said. Marie-Mathilde Gannat-Jaber, Gehrt’s co-manager, reinforced that ArtEvolution’s goal is to help artists in the MENA region to overcome common obstacles such as time, funding, and guidance constraints. Supported by the Ta’ziz-Partnership fund of the German Federal Foreign Office, ArtEvolution 2023 is a beacon of hope for artists based in Lebanon. It serves as a unique platform to equip them with the necessary skills to push their boundaries, stimulate their creativity, and elevate their performances, while also contributing to the evolving art scene in the region.

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