Outside the Abu Dhabi Art Hub in Musaffah. Courtesy of the Abu Dhabi Art Hub.

ABU DHABI - When the first art fairs opened in Dubai and Abu Dhabi and announcements were made about the great museum projects, the question on everyone’s lips was: “But can art be imposed? And where are the grassroots manifestations of these projects?” Those questions are now answered with the inauguration of the first-of-its-kind art community in Abu Dhabi on November 6, 2012, for local and international artists. The Abu Dhabi Art Hub, a unique live-and-work setup where a robust events calendar and special programmes are aimed to integrate art perspectives with existing social contexts.

Ahmed Saleh Al Yafei, heading this project, says, “Our aim is to open up a platform for young and emerging artists from across the world.” Located in Musaffah, The Abu Dhabi Art Hub spans an astounding 2,500 sq.m. space in a 3-story building which incorporates art activity/exhibition spaces, coffee shop, production and post-production facilities, 10 live-and-work units, a large gallery, a media centre, workshop spaces, private art studios and offices. All forms of educational initiatives are planned: community art, street art, charity projects, children’s creative work, live painting, film nights and so forth. In short, a futuristic purpose-built art-city which answers every demand one can imagine!

The Abu Dhabi Art Hub gallery space. Courtesy of the Abu Dhabi Art Hub.

Six resident artists have already arrived on Abu Dhabi turf to kick off this extraordinary facility and various international projects are underway. Rita Aoun, chief organizer of Abu Dhabi Art and mainstay of the TDIC says, “The Art Hub is a welcome initiative to a city making its mark in the global network of creative clusters. Independent projects such as The Art Hub are integral to this organic development establishing the Capital as a place of dialogue.” With 2013 appearing as one of the busiest in its art-calendar, on April 2 the Abu Dhabi Louvre will show almost 130 works of art from the Museum’s permanent collection, some of which have never been seen before.

Ten years ago this dream was barely articulated. Today it is a reality. We can only wait in the wings and expect only the best from a region where museum visions are conjured up with the facility of a magician brandishing an all-mighty wand.