The museum is planned to open in 2020. Set to reinforce Beirut’s position as a cultural powerhouse, and to function as a catalyst for its economic regeneration, the museum project will evolve over several interrelated phases leading up to its opening. Each stage comprises a number of clearly identified goals.
CONSTRUCTING A BUILDING
In affirming the strength and diversity of Lebanon’s architecture community, competitive proposals will be solicited by invitation from architects based in Lebanon.
The selected proposal will form the basis for the final building plans, reflecting the museum’s identity and the spectrum of programs and activities it will hold. The plans will be finalized in collaboration with an architectural and design firm that has ample experience in museum planning and construction.
ASSEMBLING A COLLECTION
Every museum tells a story. This museum seeks to tell one that is relevant to its context yet not constrained by it. It aims to highlight the specificity of Lebanon’s modern and contemporary artistic practices, not in isolation, but as part of a complex regional and international network of relations and histories.
A carefully assembled collection can play a central role in the articulation of such narratives. Art-historical, curatorial and financial research is underway to examine the feasibility of assembling such a collection and to determine its scope and relevance in comparison to existing local and regional collections.
DEVELOPING AN INTERDISCIPLINARY COMMUNITY-ORIENTED PROGRAM
Following a number of meetings and roundtables involving experienced key cultural practitioners in Lebanon, the importance of a community-focused public program is paramount. The museum’s program will feature an interdisciplinary range of artistic disciplines that will activate all of its resources in attending to the needs of respective professionals and audiences.
While reflecting on the wide spectrum of today’s contemporary artistic practices, the museum’s multi-faceted program will be equally committed to the investigation of earlier chapters of artistic expression. Moreover, in its commitment to be a gathering place for different types of social and cultural groups, the museum’s public program will transcend the arts to include community-oriented activities in dedicated spaces, engaging different publics in ongoing dialogue around a number of pertinent issues.
INVESTING IN RESEARCH
The museum understands the central role that research can play in the facilitation and advancement of scholarship, particularly in relation to the history and practice of art in Lebanon and the region. A rigorous program will be put into place that will be developed in close collaboration with a number of institutional partners, providing an academic framework and a wide network of resources to facilitate cutting-edge research.
CONTRIBUTING TO ECONOMIC GROWTH AND CULTURAL PRIDE
Museums generate revenue and stimulate local economic activity, raise the value of their vicinity’s real estate and create varied and stable jobs in an increasingly knowledge-based economy. As such, the museum will be a catalyst for economic regeneration, offering opportunities for professional growth within the arts and culture sector on both a city- and nation-wide level.
In particular, this museum will make a significant contribution to the abundant cultural accomplishments of Beirut, becoming an additional source of pride for its residents and the Lebanese diaspora, consolidating their ties with the city and allowing them to engage in a dialogue centered on the arts
Envisioned Key Programs:
Permanent Collection / Temporary Exhibitions / Photography Gallery / Digital Art Lab / Performance Center / Library Archives and Press / Conservation Lab / Community Art Space / Residency Programs / Café Restaurant / Boutique / Grounds and Gardens
The museum will be located in the heart of Beirut’s center on a strategic piece of land that belongs to USJ, facing the National Museum of Beirut, locally known as Mathaf.
Situated where the city’s demarcation line once stood, this is an iconic site replete with histories of fragmentation and reconciliation. Today, it is a thriving neighborhood of schools and universities, governmental and cultural organizations: a microcosm of Beirut’s fabric of interwoven communities.