The Maraya Art Centre was opened in March 2010. It is located in Sharjah’s Al Qasba area in a three story part of the major building. It includes the Maraya Art Gallery on the third floor, the Barjeel Art Foundation on the second floor, which features the private collection of Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi, and the Maraya Community on the first floor, which offers a diverse range of programs and educational activities.
Since its inception the center has offered the public an innovative curated exhibitions program with leading Middle Eastern and international artists, multi-media facilities, video archive, art library and regular public program of workshops and events designed by its in-house team and guest curators. The Maraya Art Center states that it has the purpose of discovering, nurturing and promoting young artists from the Arab region, of establishing a bridge between local and international institutions, private galleries and other organizations, and to be a platform for international exchange and educational programs.
The centre also runs the Maraya Art Park, a project that acts as a platform for regional and international outdoor art projects and will consist of a number of venues located at major focal points in Sharjah.
Two sections of the Park are located at Al Majaz Waterfront. The first is the Sculpture Park, which showcases projects from local and international artists, designers and architects, while the second is the Children’s Art Park, which aims to introduce children to the world of art through sculptures, interactive games, and educational activities.
There are cooperations with Kalimat, the Emirati publishing house for educational children’s books, presided by Sheikha Bodour.
There are also incidental music activities, like for openings of exhibitions.
Most activities are accessible for free or on a non-profit base. The center also promotes cultural enterprise by enabling cultural entrepreneurs to rent a workspace.
The center’s artistic head is Giuseppe Moscatello, an artist himself. The general director of the Center is Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi.
The center is supported by Shurooq, the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority that oversees the development of the Al Qasba area, the Art Heritage area and numerous other property projects.