From painting, pottery, cooking and photography, to film, music and theatre, Al Quoz Creative Zone features a contemporary constellation of creative spaces and talents who realised their dreams with the help of their ambitions and the existent potential offered in the area. thejamjar and Yadawei Ceramic Studio are two of the creative workspaces in Al Quoz that provide educational facilities and workshops to paint and pottery enthusiasts.
Through a creative blend of arts and education, thejamjar is a community arts space that offers students and artists a platform to unleash their creativity. This innovative destination hosts a drawing studio and a space for projects as well as many exhibitions and events for arts, film, music and theatre enthusiasts.
thejamjar began its journey in 2007 at RKM Properties, moving to Alserkal Avenue - Al Quoz in 2015, where it expanded. Its founder, Hetal Pawani, says: "Since our move to Al Quoz, we have been able to setup our arts consultancy '17A Art Consultants' and our gallery 'Grey Noise,' standing as testament to the flexibility of the area and what Alserkal’s community has offered in terms of experimentation and growth."
Regarding the benefits of establishing her business in Al Quoz, Pawani says: "Al Quoz is a central area, and authentic in many ways, which adds to its glamour and charm. Al Quoz has given us the ease of designing a space for creative production and connecting with an active community of people interested in creative arts and cultural initiatives.”
On the challenges faced, Pawani said: "Small spaces are hard to find, warehouses can prove challenging to cool during peak summer days as their insulation is inadequate, and construction in warehouses can set you back a penny, making it more expensive to start a business."
Pawani stressed on the important mix of industries that Al Quoz provides to support the arts, such as carpentry and metalworking, and expressed her aspirations to see government programmes supporting artists. In that regard she said: "Providing lease grants and licences to creative institutions is a primary need that will encourage entrepreneurship in the region, especially as it is critical to have strategies supporting creatives who choose to live and work in the UAE. With Dubai Culture’s efforts, Al Quoz Creative Zone will become the largest cultural, creative and productive district of its kind in the region."
Pawani stressed that Expo 2020 Dubai will provide support for talents in Dubai, notably as thejamjar has been invited as a partner of one of the sustainability projects run by Expo 2020’s Arts and Culture department called the ‘Hammour House,’ whereby thejamjar will conduct workshops to create artworks with participating visitors.
Yadawei Ceramic Studio
In Al Quoz Creative Zone, ceramic art is highlighted through independent studios and headquarters that bring together handicraft enthusiasts under one roof to create and develop distinguished products; one such space is Yadawei Ceramic Studio. In early 2015, Dubai-based French-Lebanese Ream Saksouk opened the studio, which was the city's first pottery studio, providing a unique space for members and students eager to explore clay as a medium of art expression and design.
According to Saksouk, those interested in this artform, from residents and visitors of the UAE, are able to learn about pottery as a hobby and as a means of guidance, counseling and art therapy. She said: "I believe that our business will grow more over the years, as long as we listen to our customers, understand their needs, and offer top-quality services to them. I aspire for Yadawei Ceramic Studio to remain a pioneer in the art of pottery making in the UAE."
Saksouk affirmed that establishing her business in Al Quoz benefitted her due to the area’s central location in proximity to Sheikh Zayed Road, Jumeirah, Downtown, and Dubai Land. She also stressed the need for additional facilities, such as the availability of parking spaces, and private work spaces.
On the prospects that Al Quoz Creative Zone can offer for further business growth, Saksouk hopes to increase the frequency of events held in the region, such as the Quoz Arts Fest and Art Dubai, and said: "Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many residents have opted not to travel during the summer holidays, so it would also be good to have some markets and festivals during the summer to boost growth."
Saksouk looks forward to replicating the experience of Al Quoz Creative Zone across similar areas nationwide, thus creating more competitiveness and a passion for creativity, which will enhance the growth and performance of inspiring projects.
Saksouk believes that Expo 2020 Dubai will contribute to enhancing the role and position of the region in terms of increasing the number of visitors who will want to do practise recreational activities in their spare time.
Dubai Culture and Arts Authority (Dubai Culture) continues its tireless work and efforts developing Al Quoz Creative Zone, turning it into a platform for the creative economy, a preferred destination in Dubai and the UAE, and a dynamic space for living, working, leisure and learning.
Source: Cicero and Bernay