Arts and culture in Saudi Arabia have today been given a major boost with a plan to transform the sector.
At a ceremony in Riyadh's museum district Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan Al Saud, Saudi Arabia'sfirst Minister of Culture, announced that the cultural sector is to be transformed to make it part of people's everyday lives.
A document entitled "Our Culture, Our Identity" explains how arts and culture will support international exchange and understanding, contribute to economic growth, and will be accessible to all.
"Our Culture, Our Identity" sets out several ambitious initiatives that will be supported by the new Ministry. These include a culture fund, scholarship programmes, arts prizes, and a residency scheme for artists to stay in Saudi Arabia.
Saudi culture and heritage were celebrated at the event, which was attended by Saudi Government officials, cultural influencers, as well as government representatives from around the world. It included orchestral performances of traditional Saudi music and a dinner hosted by His Highness Prince Badr at the National Museum.
Prince Badr, Minister of Culture, said:
"Today marks a turning point in the history of our nation. It is rare that a nation undergoes such a massive revival of its culture. And that is exactly what is happening with the launch of this Ministry.
"The transformation of arts and culture will benefit all Saudis, young and old, from every corner of our country. It will help build bridges of understanding. And for our children we will build a Saudi Arabiawhere their creative spirits can flourish, confident of their past, stepping out into the future and into the world."
"Our Culture, Our Identity" can be found on the Ministry of Culture website.