The Beirut Art Community Needs Help, Here’s How

  • by The Cartellino Team

Here are some fast facts. The twin cataclysmic explosions at the Port of Beirut on August 4, along with the resignation of the whole government not six days later, are just the latest in a series of events that has put Lebanon in incredibly dire straits.

In the months preceding, Lebanon was facing the threat of severe economic collapse. The ongoing coronavirus pandemic, as well as the nationwide protests against government corruption that began last October, saw the country’s currency devalue by 85%.

We have so far collated a small list of four vetted initiatives and disaster relief funds for arts and creatives impacted by the blast. The first two support the arts and culture sector as a whole via strategic fund distribution, while the latter two are for specific causes. We look to update our list after the necessary checks are completed.

A more comprehensive list of various Lebanese and international NGOs can be accessed here. We highly encourage due diligence with donations, please consider contacting the organizers directly. The Lebanese Red Cross has a downloadable app for direct donations to help with their medical and disaster management operations. For food security, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has just recently deployed operatives to deliver food parcels on the ground.

Mophradat

Until their rebranding in 2015, this Brussels-based nonprofit was formerly known as the Young Arab Theatre Fund (YATF). They have since diversified their efforts in finding career opportunities for creatives in the region and have set up a fundraiser to gather resources for what’s to come. Featured in the webpage is a sidereel for regular transparency updates.

In the open letter written by board director Walid Raad and director Mai Abu El Dahab, the funds will be distributed “in transparent and flexible ways (keeping in mind the collapsing financial and banking system in Lebanon). As usual, we will make choices that can have lasting consequences, while prioritizing those already disadvantaged, and those who influence in a thoughtful manner the community around them.”

Arab Culture Fund

An independent foundation founded by cultural activists in 2007, the Arab Fund for Arts and Culture (AFAC) has been a cornerstone of support for artists, writers, researchers, and organizations working in the region’s cultural sectors. They annually supplied grants, held training and mentorship programs, and host a veritable database of cultural resources.

Donations here support the Lebanese art and culture scene as a whole. According to their website, the funds raised for their Lebanon Solidarity Fund will be channeled to support affected arts and culture organizations and spaces based on urgent needs. Their preliminary assessment includes the following:

  • Emergency reconstruction to ensure safety of premises and assets or rental in the case of temporary relocations when property is lost or severely damaged;
  • Protection, housing and transfer of invaluable collections (images, films, and musical archives);
  • Rehabilitation of premises (mainly furniture and other assets owned by the organizations including mechanical and electrical networks);
  • Repair and/or replacement of equipment (computers, monitors, external drives, specialized libraries

The fund will also support individual artists who lost their homes, instruments, and equipment and who need to fix them or replace the equipment/relocate to new homes or workspaces in order to continue.

You can make your donations online through this link.

Superfund
Image courtesy of the Slow Factory Foundation.

Super Fund for Beirut

Super Fund seeks to reconcile social and environmental justice in the fashion industry, and then beyond, through educational programs and systems-thinking and design centered on “equity, justice and climate positivity.” While this global fundraiser was slated to launch later in the year, the Slow Factory Foundation has expedited it in the aftermath of the explosion, with a five-year plan to fundraise and strategically support Beirut’s NGOs.

Listed in their website are the names of designers and creatives whose showrooms and studios were directly affected in the blast. Embedded in their page is a donation form.

Arab Image Foundation: Beiirut Port Explosion, Damage Assessment, and Solidarity Fund

Likewise affected by the blast was the cool storage room that houses the archives of the AIF. According to the announcement,“The ceiling fell in, its walls were damaged and storage shelves collapsed.” As it is too soon for them to state the full extent of the damage, the AIF staff (only one was injured) is currently working on producing condition reports for their collections. Following protocol, their online storage and digital assets have been migrated to the Sursock museum.

Click here to donate. Donations are to help cover cleaning costs, equipment replacement, and workspace repair.