Playdates: second Dubai Public Art open call

The second of the competitions in the Dubai Public Art initiative has been announced. It’s for a ‘Playscape’ – “a large-scale, interactive and playful public artwork” to be installed at the Jaddaf Waterfront Sculpture Park next to the Jameel Arts Centre. The deadline for submissions is 31 March.

Dubai Public Art is a new Dubai Culture programme intended to provide the city with some serious new public art commissions. Actually selecting and managing the individual projects is being subcontracted to key players in Dubai, though presumably Dubai Culture will have to sign off on them. The first such commission, for a piece to be installed in Al Hudaiba gardens, is being handled by Art Dubai; this one will be down to Art Jameel, or more specifically the people from the Jameel Arts Centre. (Future projects will be curated by Tashkeel, Alserkal and Akaas Visual Arts.)

The Jaddaf Playscape Commission – which will be considered by “an eminent jury of local and international art professionals, architects and curators” – aims to create a space for creative enjoyment, imagination and play for all ages, with a target opening date of Autumn 2023. Submissions are open to artists, designers and collectives from or based in the UAE. There will be another open call every four years, so presumably the selected work will be in situ for that time.

The 31 March deadline for receiving initial applications will produce a juried shortlist. By mid April the jury will come up with a shortlist of proposals, around three of them, and each will get a grant of AED 5,000 to cover the costs of preparing a detailed presentation and an initial maquette. These will then be re-presented to the jury during May, and a single commission will be named in mid June. The winner will receive an additional grant of AED 35,000; that doesn’t have to cover any production costs – a separate production budget will be attached to the project, which should open sometime in the autumn.

The Jaddaf Waterfront Sculpture Park is considered the UAE’s first arts-themed public space; designed by noted local architects waiwai, it has permanent works on site plus a rolling programme of temporary commissions. It’s also used for community festivals and public performances.

The Jaddaf Playscape Commission is part of a series of new works from the Jameel and Dubai Culture under the Dubai Public Art programme. Other projects in this series include Creek Experiences, a series of audio walks responding devised and recorded by artists, writers and poets, accompanied by performances and an expanded digital programme; and Creek Shelters, a series of interactive structures created by artists and architects that provide Creek visitors and explorers with moments of pause and reflection.

We’ve summarised the Open Call in our Opportunities pages with as such information as we can glean.

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