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Art Week paints Dubai green with Dh128 million economic contribution

Showcase event generates as much as 60 per cent of UAE galleries' annual revenue from 15,000 attendees

Art dealers at Art Dubai
Image Credit: Megan Hirons Mahon/Gulf News
Dealers at a previous edition of Art Dubai.

Dubai’s week of art contributed $35 million (Dh128.55 million) to the economy last year, new research shows. As much as 60 per cent of local art organisations’ annual sales revenue was made during Art Week.

The event, which was held between March 18 and 25, 2015, incorporate Art Dubai, an annual art fair, and Design Days Dubai, a similar event for designer furniture and objects.  

Produced by the independent research body Repucom, the report combines research and feedback from local and international art world professionals, gallerists and members of the public, and reveals substantial monetary contributions to the local cultural and tourism industries, and the impact these events have on the UAE. 

As a direct result of Art Dubai and Design Days Dubai from March 18 to 25, 2015, the survey found that the $35 million was in new money directly spent by visitors to Dubai at these two fairs alone. Visitors during Art Week paid for 27,500 hotel nights, with an average of 5.7 nights per stay, and made 25,000 visits to the two events over six days. 

A total of 15,625 unique attendees visited, and as much as 51 per cent were from outside Dubai. Of these, 46 per cent said the events were the main reason for their trip.

“Our research shows that the Art Dubai Group sets the standard for cultural events in the region, bringing significant social and economic benefits to Dubai,” said Jon Long, Managing Director Middle East, of Repucom. 

The report also showed that the company’s umbrella event, Art Week, has great importance to the Dubai arts industry as a whole: As much as 60 per cent of local art organisations’ annual sales revenue was made during that week alone. 

“As we head into the tenth year of Art Dubai and the fifth edition of Design Days Dubai, we’re delighted to be in a position to show the impact that our organisation has had as one of the major drivers of cultural development in the city,” said Benedict Floyd, co-founder and CEO of The Art Dubai Group. “Drawing international attention for local arts organisations, galleries, home-grown partners and artists, Art Week, Design Days and Art Dubai have established a significant moment in the cultural calendar for the region, as well as recognition from the international art market.”

The tenth edition of Art Dubai takes place from March 16 to 19. It is expected to be the meeting point for over 500 artists from 94 galleries, coming from 40 countries across the world. Art Dubai 2016 includes 94 galleries, presented across three programmes – Contemporary, Modern and Marker. Its extensive not-for-profit programme includes Art Dubai Projects, an exhibition of works by winners of the annual Abraaj Group Art Prize, a range of educational programmes including the Sheikha Manal Little Artists Program and the community school Campus Art Dubai, and the Global Art Forum, the city’s annual arts conference.

Design Days Dubai is now in its fifth year and runs from March 14 to 18. It is the Middle East and South Asia’s only annual fair dedicated to collectible modern and contemporary design works and represents works from over 20 countries. The fair also presents a programme of special projects such as this year’s Wasl exhibition of design from the Emirates, talks, workshops and guided tours.

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