The Jeddah Corniche will soon be transformed into the world’s largest open-air museum, municipality Undersecretary for Reconstruction and Projects Ibrahim Katabkhana told local newspaper Al-Eqtisadiyah. The Corniche and Jeddah’s waterfront parks will feature works by famous modern artists working during or after the 1970s.
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According to the undersecretary, the art pieces for display will be selected by a committee of senior artists who will be tasked with selecting painting and sculptures, while excluding works lacking in artistic merit. The cost of maintaining the artworks will be the responsibility of the secretariat’s social responsibility program.
At the same time, Katabkhana reassured Jeddah residents that the artworks that have come to characterize the modern city since the start of business development, such as “Astronomy” and “Earth,” would either remain in place or be relocated. However, those pieces with less value will be placed in storage, with the least valuable to be scrapped.
A study by the Jeddah Municipality’s department for the care of art found that Jeddah contains 522 pieces of art throughout the city including from some of the top artists in the world, such as Henry Moore and Lafontaine. The study indicated that 52 statues had been removed to be returned after the work is completed at their original or new sites. Another 91 statues and a fountain were removed due to their lack of artistic value, some of which were damage.
The art museum is part of a larger plan to expand and upgrade the Corniche with restaurants, recreation areas, and a giant ferris wheel.