Al-Bustan Seeds of Culture
"Al-Bustan," Arabic for "The Garden," offers structured exposure to the language, art, music, dance, literature, and natural environment of the Arab world. Al-Bustan promotes cross-cultural understanding among youth and adults of all ethnic, religious, and socio-economic backgrounds through artistic and educational programs. Al-Bustan supports the pursuit and affirmation of Arab American cultural identity, while playing a constructive civic role within broader American society.
- Importance of Language: Full appreciation of a culture requires knowledge of its written and spoken language. Similarly, learning a language is inextricably tied to an understanding of the multiple layers of its cultural context. For those of Arab heritage living in the United States, exposure to the Arabic language can be a critical link to their cultural heritage and Arab identity.
- Role of the arts: The arts are a powerfully effective medium through which youth and adults can engage in self-expression, explore cultural identity, and form critical thinking skills. The arts provide a platform to analyze assumptions through dialogue and inquiry, thereby encouraging participation in the social and civic spheres of their communities.
- Artistic quality: It is important to engage the highest quality artists and teaching artists, of Arab heritage or immersed in Arab cultural traditions, to teach and present their art form to youth and adults in educational and community-based settings. This in turn provides opportunities for participants to explore new art forms, more fully develop their artistic skills, and gain enhanced understanding of and appreciation for Arab culture.
- Cultural production: Culture informs arts education, which in turn shapes culture and its expression. Cultural production acknowledges that culture is dynamic, continually produced in relation to myriad influences, rather than a static set of traditions and values handed down from generation to generation. Our approach to the arts is founded on the idea that youth and adults can actively produce new cultural forms that incorporate and transform the world around them.
Note: The above descriptive information came from the organization's Mission, Values, Goals page.
In The News
- Pocket park for culture and community proposed near 40th and Chestnut, West Philly Local, August 20, 2018.