Palestinian art museum opens in Connecticut

Faisal Seleh recently opened a Palestinian art museum
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Faisal Saleh opens a not-for-profit museum to celebrate Palestinian art in Connecticut

When people think of Connecticut, they likely think of historic sites, Yale University, farms and beautiful wildlife. It isn’t the first place most people would go to visit a chic art museum. But this year, because of Faisal Saleh it just might be! The Palestinian-born businessman and entrepreneur opened a Palestinian art museum in Woodbridge, Connecticut, last year.

In his museum, the first to be dedicated to Palestinian art in both North and South America, various art exhibits are set up across its 4,000 square foot space.

Saleh was born in El Bireh (Ramallah), Palestine in 1951. Just three years before his own birth his family went from profitable farmers to living in a rented room after they became homeless when their town was occupied. Growing up under occupation and with protests and resistance movements all around him, war broke out in 1967, particularly affecting the West Bank, where Saleh lived. He left shortly after with a full scholarship to study in America. He came to the United States in 1969 to attend high school, afterward studying at Oberlin College before earning his MBA at the University of Connecticut.  

Saleh’s museum, which is a non-political, non-religious and not-for-profit organization is the product of over 4 decades of entrepreneurial work and was created to preserve Palestinian art heritage.

Instead of using a political lens, he wanted to feature Palestinian culture’s richness and beauty without a political objective. His venue allows Palestinian artists, who may not otherwise have the chance to share their art under occupation and in economic hardship, to share their art and culture. Saleh himself currently funds it but in the future, he will be looking for donors.

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About Akudo McGee
Akudo McGee is a recent graduate from the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands. McGee has a Masters degree in European studies. Her field of focus is forced migration.