Dubai’s arts district, Alserkal Avenue, has waived the next three months’ rent for its galleries and businesses in response to the economic fallout of COVID-19. The rent waiver will be accompanied by a Pay it Forward program, which will grant subsidies to businesses proposing initiatives supporting their neighbors, including barter-for-service programs, charitable donations, and the hiring of freelancers. According to Alserkal’s director Vilma Jurkute, all businesses within Alserkal Avenue have already been granted subsidies, and more initiatives are being discussed.
The relief program was decided in conjunction with Abdelmonem Bin Eisa Alserkal, who founded Alserkal Avenue in 2007 in Dubai’s Al Quoz neighborhood, and who also runs the non-profit Alserkal Arts Foundation. “This was a collective agreement,” Jurkute told The National.
“We understand the importance of sharing success and sharing the loss, too. We are looking at this from a community aspect.”
The decision comes as initiatives around the world mobilize to support vulnerable cultural communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. In the U.S., seven grantmakers came together to launch the Artist Relief
fund, which will provide unrestricted grants of $5,000 to applicants on a continuous basis for the next six months, while the Getty Trust launched a $10 million relief fund
for arts nonprofits in Los Angeles, and the Andy Warhol Foundation committed
$1.6 million to COVID-19 relief. In addition, the National Endowment for the Arts has been allocated
$75 million to distribute in $50,000 disbursements as part of a federal $2 trillion stimulus package.