JEDDAH: Arbab Al-Heraf, under the leadership of its founder Abdullah Al-Hodaif, has emerged as a significant cultural initiative, contributing to the enhancement of the Saudi artistic scene.
The project has played a pivotal role in promoting awareness of Saudi cultural heritage among both local and international audiences.
Through diverse cultural evenings, it showcases various aspects of Saudi culture, including music, folk arts, literature, and history. These events serve as a platform for fostering a deeper understanding and appreciation of the rich cultural tapestry of Saudi Arabia.
The recently opened Sard Cultural Center, affiliated with Arbab Al-Heraf, is supported by the Cultural Development Fund.
Al-Hodaif, CEO of Arbab Al-Heraf, told Arab News that the project “has become a beacon for Saudi creatives by providing a platform for individuals from diverse cultural fields to express their talents.
“Through the organization of distinctive cultural events, Arbab Al-Heraf has created opportunities for artists, musicians, writers, and other creatives to showcase their work and contribute to the vibrant cultural scene in the Kingdom.”
The Sard Cultural Center aims to provide a creative environment to develop the musical skills of creative individuals and build an innovative artistic community that contributes to bridging the gap between enthusiasts and the market in the cultural sector.
The Cultural Projects Incentive Program in partnership with the Quality of Life Program has a budget of SR181 million ($48 million). The objective is to provide nonrefundable financial support and incentives for cultural sector projects, through which the Saudi cultural fund has financed 36 cultural projects across various activities and fields in 16 cultural sectors.
The center is one of the promising cultural projects that nurtures and supports musical talents by providing an environment focused on various areas of music education. It also seeks to provide training opportunities for over 2,000 musical trainees annually, in addition to hosting 5,000 visitors every month.
Al-Hodaif’s entrepreneurial model has led to the establishment of cultural centers within historical houses, such as Bait Ziryab, Al-Hodaif Museum, and Bait Albohemian, in Jeddah’s historical Al-Balad district. These centers engage in various cultural and artistic activities, fostering a sense of community and creativity.
Al-Hodaif has almost a decade of experience in cultural entrepreneurship, beginning with a small store on Yamama Street in Jeddah, and his dedication has led to the creation of a network of cultural spaces that are contributing significantly to Saudi Arabia’s cultural landscape.
Arbab Al-Heraf was launched in Jeddah in 2016 and expanded to the Al-Basateen neighborhood in 2018.
In 2019, the initiative further extended to Madinah with the Lathrebo project, and Makkah with the BeBakkah Cultural Center.
In 2021, a cultural center was established in northern Jeddah, and the Yamam Cultural Platform was launched in Riyadh in 2022 in collaboration with the King Abdulaziz Public Library.
Al-Hodaif highlighted the potential in the Saudi cultural sector for entrepreneurs and investors: “The Saudi cultural sector is full of opportunities awaiting entrepreneurs and investors.”
Speaking about their latest initiative, he added: “Our experience in Sard provides a model for this fruitful relationship between the two parties, navigating this experience, making a difference, and contributing to meeting the needs of the cultural sector job market.”
The Saudi cultural fund plans to activate investment programs to increase the cultural sector’s contribution to the Kingdom’s economy. It aims to support small and medium-sized enterprises, form strategic partnerships with government and private entities, and provide nonfinancial consulting services.
These efforts are designed to achieve sustainable development, enhance the positive impact on the cultural sector, and benefit the state’s economy and public interest.