About the Arab Festival
The Arab Center of Washington (ACW) is a cultural organization founded in 1992 by a group of community members following the first Persian Gulf War. Their goal was to showcase Arab culture and arts in our own community. They researched ideas on how to achieve this objective and produced the first Arab Festival, which was held at Seattle philanthropist Kay Bullitt’s home in 1993.
In 1999, ACW partnered with Seattle Center to produce the Arab Festival as part of Seattle Center’s Festal. Festal is a series of 20 cultural and ethnic festivals sponsored by the City of Seattle throughout the calendar year. The Arab Festival won the “Best of Festal” in 2001, and is currently produced every two years. It has become ACW’s signature event. By 2007, the Arab Festival had grown to over 5,000 attendees from Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Canada.
In addition to producing the Arab Festival every other year, ACW sponsors, co-sponsors and produces a number of other cultural and artistic events and has recently partnered with the 2013 Shoreline Arts Festival, Town Hall Seattle, and helped nurture Olympia’s first Arab Fest in October of 2012. We have partnered in the past with the Elliott Bay Book Company, Arab Film Distribution, the Arab American Community Coalition and the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee. We collaborated with the 2006. 2011 and 2013 Northwest Folklife Festivals, with a focus on Arab Performers in the Pacific Northwest, and with Seattle Repertory Theatre, UW World Series, Seattle International Children’s Festival, World Affairs Council and Seattle International Film Festival on projects that enhance positive images of Arabs and Arab Americans.
ACW believes Arab culture in all of its richness and diversity has something to offer all people. ACW’s vision is to strengthen relationships between Arabs, Arab Americans and the wider community and to see all people in the Pacific Northwest region benefit from ACW programs and services, while gaining an enhanced, realistic understanding of what it means to be Arab. The Arab festival is our signature event. Don’t miss it!