The creative process brings something into existence. Simple materials like glue, glitter, paper, and a pinch of inspiration is all you will need to create art, an idea, and even a story. Ithra offers many creative programs such as Tanween Challenges, which is designed to inspire individuals and uplift the community. Further from Dhahran's iconic creative and cultural hub, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has been experiencing a creative shift, unlike ever before.

Saudi Arabia's creative scene is transforming. The booming creative industry is heading toward an optimistic future. While Tanween Challenges encourages participants to think outside the box, other creative programs held in the Kingdom are offering innovative programs like never before. From Arab Fashion Week, creative entrepreneurs, and influencers, to filmmakers, Saudi Arabia is experiencing significant changes. On April 25, 2016, Saudi Arabia announced Vision 2030. Since then, a boost in entertainment and art had magnified. In just four years, the Kingdom welcomed heaps of creativity. A look back on Saudi Arabia’s creative industry timeline, starting from 2017, proves versatile and inspiring.

Ithra's inauguration was held on December 1, 2017, by the late King Salman bin Abdulaziz. The anticipated creative industry hit its first peak the next year. The first-ever fashion week in Saudi Arabia took place in April. Riyadh drew in fashion-lovers and designers from across the Middle East. Leading designers and brands showcased their latest collections, including the Saudi designer Arwa Al Banawi. The effervescent event gave aspiring Saudi fashion designers a global platform for the first time.

With innovative engines working on the nation's blank state, creative individuals radiate inspiration and progress throughout the country. For the first time in almost 40 years, Saudi Arabia opened its first public cinema on April 18, 2018, in Riyadh, followed by Jeddah's first cinema opening in January 2019. This step into the entertainment industry has pushed Saudi Arabia's film sector into new boundaries. Saudi actors, directors, and producers have been recognized globally and supported by Ithra’s Theater and Cinema.

Ithra opened its doors to the public in June 2018. The creative hub continues to fulfill its promise as an empowering and nurturing institute to Saudi creatives. Ithra stands as a beacon of change, giving men and women a platform to develop their creativity, explore passions, and learn skills.

Saudi Arabia had been a mystery to many globally. Without visiting the country and experiencing its culture, many view the Kingdom as an enigma. However, all that changed on September 27, 2019.

Visitors could issue their tourist visa to Saudi Arabia and see the country for themselves. The tourism sector welcomed many to heritage sites and new locations around the Kingdom. This change gave institutes in the Kingdom an opportunity to enhance their services and accommodate to global cultures. The expansion into tourism allows Saudi creatives to produce innovative entrepreneurial projects as well. Ithra had been designed to take the lead as a significant tourist attraction in the Eastern Province.

A month later, the Kingdom launched the announcement of 11 seasons in Saudi Arabia. The Riyadh Season 2019 kicked off October, running for two months. Massive excitement buzzed across the nation for a wide range of artistic, sporting, and cultural events. Other seasons including Eastern Province Season, Jeddah Season, and more, welcomed masses of international celebrities, musicians, and more.

At the end of Saudi Arabia’s exciting 2019, the MDL Beast festival broke global records as the world's tallest temporary stage. MDL Beast hosted the most extensive music, arts, and culture festival. Over 400,000 people in attendance surpassed the famous Coachella festival, which welcomes close to 46,000 attendants. This enormous outpouring of attendees strongly proves that Saudis desire entertainment, creativity, and a global connection.

The future of Saudi Arabia's creative industry is bright. Festivals, fashion shows, theaters, and cultural hubs offer Saudis the inspiration, motivation, and support needed to create an exciting future. The next Saudi name awaits to claim their title as writers, artists, musicians, chefs, designers, and so many more aspiring creative professions.

By Nora Al-Taha