Fairmont Hotels & Resorts announced its art@fairmont programme which will roll out this year across the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The programme comes as Fairmont reveals the results of a recent survey in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Egypt which demonstrate that 55% of travelers are interested in engaging with local artists one-on-one during their stay.
The art@fairmont initiative provides a distinctive opportunity for guests to be exposed to the arts and culture landscape of the Middle East, interact with regionally relevant artists and obtain a better understanding of the cultural significance of art through an artist-in-residence programme, specially designed lectures and workshops, local gallery tours and guest experiences.
The survey also revealed that cultural factors - such as the availability of cultural attraction - influence 73% of respondents’ decisions on where to travel.
“At Fairmont, we believe that memorable hotels are ones that are of the destination. They’re places that make you feel like you’ve officially arrived and provide you with a real sense of where you are. They’re integrated with the local community, embody a sense of place and serve as social hubs for local residents and visitors alike. The arts and culture here in this region are rich and vibrant, but perhaps not as well known or explored as other touchstones such as business and finance attractions. The recent survey provided us with insights into guests’ interest and understanding of art and culture of and within the region, and helped guide us in developing the art@fairmont programme. We are excited to connect our guests to the region in this unique way which affords them the opportunity to explore and enjoy meaningful experiences with us,” said Kent Cooper, Vice President, Regional Hotel Sales - Middle East & Africa.
A long-term project, art@fairmont will offer a number of activities throughout the year, across all three properties in the UAE - Fairmont Bab Al Bahr, Fairmont The Palm, and Fairmont Dubai.
Survey respondents all valued visiting heritage sites, viewing sites of architectural importance, visiting museums and participating in educational activities as key pursuits while at home or travelling.
Fairmont will be creating a number of events and programmes for guests to appreciate and understand the region’s culture first-hand, and gain a deeper level of meaning from their travel experiences.
Fairmont Bab Al Bahr in Abu Dhabi gave a sneak-peak to the programme this month, with visiting artist Su Blackwell from the United Kingdom. Until May 11, Blackwell is working at an onsite studio located in the hotel lobby to reconstruct the Capital’s most iconic landmark - Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque - through the medium of paper crafting and sculpture.
The word “paper” derives from papyrus, the name of the ancient material created in Egypt from compacted reed. It is believed that the first example of paper folding was an ancient Egyptian map, drawn on papyrus and folded like a modern road map, a technique which eventually evolved into origami and other paper folding methods as well as paper crafts.
Additional artists-in-residence will be installed at Fairmont properties in the coming year - Fairmont The Palm will host an artist-in-residence in partnership with Cuadro this fall. Cuadro is one of the region’s premier contemporary and postmodern art venues, focusing on exhibitions, education, residency and consultation. Fairmont’s artist-in-residence will live in a private studio on-location and also spend time sharing their artwork and experiences with guests. New artists will be introduced across the hotels following the culmination of the previous artist’s residency, to allow guests to continuously be exposed to new artists and their work.
Through the partnership with Cuadro, Fairmont will also host lectures at Fairmont The Palm and Fairmont Dubai, and extend invitations for guests to exclusive events and open-nights at the gallery; granting them an opportunity to experience different styles of art.
Fairmont guests will have VIP status during the open-nights, meaning they can tour the gallery in private before it is open to the public. Other events in partnership with Cuadro will be arranged for guests throughout the year, in addition to the open-nights.
Artful Experiences create meaningful packages that bring guests closer to local culture. The Arts of Arabia package at Fairmont the Palm offers art aficionados and history buffs the opportunity to go on a private gallery tour and take trips to the historical Bastakiya Quarter and Mirij Art Centre. Fairmont Bab Al Bahr invites guests to explore the culture of the Arabian Gulf by sailing on a traditional dhow boat to discover the unique pearling industry of the Emirati community with the Keep the Pearl! package.
Guests seeking a connection to the culture and destination will enjoy special art suites featuring framed artwork and other accoutrements highlighting Arabic and Islamic influences in art, literature, and local culture. Set to debut later this year, as the suites will also feature private gallery tours, individual workshops, social media programmeming and more.
Survey results also revealed that Dubai is viewed as a top cultural destination by 75% of respondents from Egypt, 72% from Saudi Arabia, 66% from the UAE and 66% from Qatar. The art@fairmont programme will bring art and culture within the city to life for guests travelling from afar and visiting from within the UAE.
In addition, respondents - particularly those of Arab descent - agreed that the preservation of Middle Eastern arts and culture is important to them, and that they do what they can to support the local culture. Fairmont also plans to invest in a programme within the local community to further support art and culture in the region, and to highlight the importance of art in people’s lives.