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More About Alwan for the Arts


Since 1998, Alwan has played a leading role in promoting the diverse cultures of the Middle East in New York and the tri-state metropolitan area. Alwan’s inaugural activities entailed screening evocative films in academic settings. These screenings evolved into a film festival that soon became the largest event of its kind outside of the Middle East. Since its founding, Alwan has continually expanded its programming, which now includes concerts, dance performances, academic book talks, poetry readings, panel discussions, theatrical performances, visual arts exhibits, as well as educational offerings in language, dance, and music. Alwan has grown into a cultural and aesthetic hub, curating up to 100 events each year.

Mission & Vision

Alwan serves its community and educates the broader public by showcasing a range of Middle Eastern cultural events, enriching the cross-cultural and artistic encounter.

CREATE Alwan is a creative space, presenting traditional culture with a contemporary flair, and commissioning new works that investigate cultural identity. We provide artists, filmmakers, writers, organizers, and activists a forum for their creative projects, and actively promote cross-cultural collaboration.

INVESTIGATE Alwan casts a critical eye on current events and trends in arts and culture related to the Middle East and the Middle Eastern diaspora.

ENGAGE Alwan engages the New York arts scene by challenging its assumptions about the Middle East. We aim to build a community around the arts that encourages participation and discussion from all its members.