With Syria in turmoil, the Art Residence Aley (ARA) has become a safe haven for any Syrian artist with a creative vision. ARA, an artistic space located in the beautiful town of Aley in Mount Lebanon, offers residency and commissions artistic projects for young Syrians and has quickly formed an eclectic community of artists each with his or her own unique vision.
The nonprofit, nonpartisan organization was founded by Raghad Mardini, who wanted to create an interactive platform between Syrian artists and the world through the language of art. “The project arose out of my lifelong passion for a particular creative atmosphere I discovered years ago in the studios and ateliers of Damascus, an artistic eco-system which I lived and breathed and which produced so many of my favourite artists, many of them friends,” Mardini said.
The art residence is actually the site of a 200 year old stable that was renovated into a cultural center. ARA provides Syrian artists with unconditional residency with all the materials the need at their disposal, on the promise that they leave one artwork behind. This turns ARA into a unique forum for Syrian artists and a one-of-a-kind artistic destination. ARA also collaborates with other cultural partners in exhibit Syrian Contemporary art to spread it across the region and the world.