Art's on fire in Qatar

Why a renovated fire station has become one of Qatar's creative hubs

Art's on fire in Qatar
Art's on fire in Qatar Image #2

Head to this unlikely location to find the best of Qatar’s up-and-coming artists.

Renovations of Doha’s old fire station began more than two years ago in 2012. Now officially re-opened, it houses a gallery space and 24 studios, with 20 studios reserved for the Artist in Residence programme, which will launch in September, and four for visiting artists.

Originally built in 1982, the building was handed over to Qatar Museums (QM) in 2012 to preserve its original architecture and façade. The premises will now also feature a park, library, arts and crafts shop, cinema, plaza and restaurant, continuing Doha’s trend for combining creative spaces with historically important or culturally significant sites.

It’s another demonstration of why Doha should be paid attention to as a unique regional destination for art and culture. Doha, perhaps better than anywhere, effortlessly blends traditional settings with art that reflects the rich culture of the Arab world. The Fire Station’s inaugural exhibition, ‘555’, celebrates the art of the past, but from September it will also serve as a space for the region’s most talented emerging artists.

555 exhibition
The renovated building launched with the ‘555’ exhibition, which was curated in homage to Doha’s first Artist in Residence initiative that ran for ten years back in the early ‘90s and was titled ‘The Art Centre’. It showcases work from a pivotal era in the development of the arts in Qatar and the whole region, and includes installations, photographs and videos.
Exhibitions opens March 15. For more information and the latest opening hours, visit the website,

Artists in Residence
From September for nine months, 20 chosen artists will have access to the Fire Station studios to develop their work. Its inaugural edition is open to local Qatari artists and residents of Qatar – although the programme will later be opened up to regional artists – from any discipline including art, photography, design, architecture and more. So far, more than 150 have applied.

The participating artists will be able to attend weekly mentoring sessions, access QM venues, special exhibitions and attend lectures, and will have the opportunity to work with and learn from some of the QM’s experienced curators.
For more information or to apply, visit

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