A voluntarily cash contribution of BD1 from patrons and lovers of art will now be accepted at hotels, restaurants and other tourist centres.

The Bahrain Tourism and Exhibitions Authority (BTEA) announced that, starting this month, tourist establishments such as hotels, restaurants, hotel apartments and furnished apartments will ask customers if they would like to make a voluntary contribution of BD1, which will be used to support art in the Kingdom. For those who wish to participate, this amount will be charged per invoice and will be added to checkout bills, food bills and other such depending on the tourist facility.

No personal data will be required from those who don’t wish to take part in the initiative. The amount collected will be used directly to support the initiatives and programmes of Bahrain’s National Council for Arts (NCA). The NCA was set up last year under the royal decree of HRH King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa. Shaikh Rashid bin Khalifa bin Hamad Al Khalifa was appointed as its chairman under a second decree by HRH. The organisation was tasked with developing and promoting all types of art – visual, audio and print – and spreading awareness about the importance of its social impact.

The council is also responsible for developing a national strategy to support art and implementing plans to advance art and artists in the Kingdom. Further, it supervises the implementation of artistic programmes, hosts international art fairs, events and exhibitions, creates suitable platforms and opportunities for artists and facilitates their access to the necessary technical tools and information.

Encouraging investment in the art sector and encouraging participation in local and international art events are other duties that fall under the purview of the council. It will also cooperate with international bodies and institutions specialising in art or art research to develop the local movement.✤