Budding young artists and their families will develop their creative skills at a series of empowering, inclusive, and above all fun, Unified Art Workshops taking place at Abu Dhabi’s Manarat Al Saadiyat.

A collaboration between the Local Organizing Committee (LOC) of the Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019, the U.S. Embassy and AMIDEAST, the programme of nine art sessions will involve children aged 7 to 12 years old.

Open to boys and girls with and without intellectual disabilities, the first Unified Art Workshop will be held at the world-class art centre and gallery on October 20th with two sessions each month until the end of February next year.

Art, like sport, can unite children through their shared love of creativity, play, exploration, learning new skills, and interaction with others regardless of age or ability.
Each event will be hosted by leading figures from the local, regional and international art scene who will engage the youngsters in activities that have been carefully designed to expand their artistic talents and to foster an environment of respect, inclusivity and learning.

The Unified Art Workshops are part of a programme of community events taking place across the UAE to raise awareness of the Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019, its principals and goals.

The biggest sporting and humanitarian event of the year, the World Games aims to help build a society based around openness and community, which is in line with Abu Dhabi and the UAE’s National Vision for a unified and inclusive society.

By bringing together children and their families to take part in sports, art activities and to play, the World Games is helping to break down cultural and societal barriers.
The Unified Art Workshops, along with unified sporting events, will help the World Games establish a legacy of inclusivity that will benefit youngsters of all ages, backgrounds and abilities for generations to come.

Manarat Al Saadiyat is the ideal location to host these interactive and educational workshops. Located at the heart of the UAE capital’s bourgeoning art hub on Saadiyat

Island the venue, along with major museums and galleries including the Louvre Abu Dhabi, has helped to establish the city as a major destination for culture and education in the region.
Emirati artists Jaber Alhaddad and Aisha Alblooshi will work with children at the first two workshops at Manarat Al Saadiyat.

Mr Alhaddad is known for creating beautiful geometric patterns inspired by Islamic art. He will show youngsters how the shapes can be made using simple lines, dots, circles and thread in a workshop on October 20th.

Ms Alblooshi is a talented doll and miniatures artist who makes her abstract and artistic creations using different materials and techniques. She will host doll-making masterclasses for youngsters on November 10th and 24th.

The artist Hadeel Al Heeti will host the final workshops of the year on December 8th and 15th. More events are planned for the start of 2019.

Tala Al Ramahi, Chief Strategy Officer at Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019, said: “Unified Art Workshops will help to bring together youngsters with and without intellectual disabilities for fun, engaging art sessions designed to boost their talents and help them to make new friends.

“Activities such as these are important in helping to nurture and develop a sense of community involvement ahead of the Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019 and are an important part of our overall commitment to building a legacy for the Games through initiatives that build an inclusive society for all.”

Scott Bolz, who heads up the U.S. Embassy’s Public Affairs Section, said: “We applaud the efforts of the UAE government to promote greater understanding, inclusion, and respect for people of determination and we are thrilled to be partnering with the Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019 and AMIDEAST on this wonderful programme.”

Rula Dajani, Country Director of AMIDEAST UAE, said: “It is gives us extreme pleasure to partner with the U.S. Embassy and lend a hand to this distinguished initiative for the Government of Abu Dhabi. Putting a smile on the faces of children is a universal message.”

All the artworks produced during the workshops will be displayed at an Inclusive Art Exhibition at Manarat Al Saadiyat during the World Games, which will run from 16th – 28th March 2019.