About & History of Arts Council of Pakistan Karachi

Arts Council of Pakistan Karachi (آرٹس کونسل آف پاکستان کراچی) – a non-profit organization passionately dedicated to promoting performing and fine arts throughout the country. Offering state-of-the-art entertainment opportunities for all segments of society while fostering peace and artistic professionalism through a diverse range of events, including theatre, dance, music academies, literary conferences, creative endeavors, and competitive talent showcases.. 

As the first established organization devoted to supporting the Arts in Pakistan since 1954, Arts Council of Pakistan, Karachi brings together a remarkable ensemble of social justice and human rights activists, exceptional artists, and diverse performers. Each year, we host over 500 events, actively supporting various social movements, women’s empowerment, and artistic freedom. Our commitment extends beyond just hosting events; we have successfully established numerous socio-cultural and educational initiatives for the youth of our nation, bringing attention to important social justice issues.

Art lovers can experience a variety of formal and informal artistic events at Arts Council, including the Amphitheatre, proscenium halls, studios, conference halls, art galleries, libraries, and literary publications.

We take responsibility for ourselves to nurture talented individuals across the country. Our fine arts, music, dance, and theatre academies, namely the Arts Council Institute of Arts and Crafts (ACIAC) and Arts Council Institute of Performing Arts (ACIPA) play a crucial role in polishing and empowering individuals.

We are not only about promoting the arts but also about giving back to society. Through our charity organization, ACP Welfare, we actively engage in fundraising and philanthropic endeavors, providing aid and support during natural disasters and other misfortunes.

Foundation & History:

Arts Council of Pakistan Karachi was established in 1948 by a group of literary figures, originally known as ‘The Fine Arts Society of Karachi’. It was renamed in 1954 to ‘Arts Council of Pakistan, Karachi’ in recognition of its contributions to fine and performing arts in the country. The organization was officially registered on May 10, 1955, under the Societies Act 1860. The founding members included notable figures such as;. 

  • Dr. Esmat Rahim
  • Syed Amjad Ali
  • Edward Sudan
  • G. Ahmed
  • Agha A. Hamid
  • A.R. Faridi
  • Jalaluddin Ahmed

Arts Council of Pakistan, Karachi was built on land originally owned by late Ms. Atiya Faizy, which was later allotted to Arts Council by the Karachi Municipal Corporation.

Mr. Altaf Gohar along with his colleagues, struggled endlessly to get a piece of land measuring 11,270 sq. yards for Art Council’s establishment and was eventually successful in doing so during the tenure of Chief Secretary Sindh, Mr. A T. Naqvi.

The Arts Council of Pakistan Karachi construction plan was prepared by Mr. Rosch, and Architect Ms. Rizki completed the plan.

Arts Council of Pakistan Karachi own building was built in 1960, which was made possible through donations from philanthropists and supporters of fine arts. An ample space of 48,900 square feet space reserved for future facilities.

Since its formation, Arts Council of Pakistan, Karachi has grown to become a key cultural institution in the country. Its first Vice President was Princess Abida Sultana, with Mr. Agha Abdul Hameed, who served as Secretary.

The Arts Council of Pakistan Karachi’s first Executive Director was Mr. Irfan Hussain, and its serving Executive Director is Mr. Muhammad Daniyal Umer, who became the youngest to hold the position in the history of Arts Council of Pakistan Karachi.

It is currently being led by its first elected President, Mohammad Ahmed Shah (SI, HI), since 2008. Mr. Ahmed Shah (SI, HI), has been instrumental in expanding the organization’s reach and reputation, promoting arts, culture, literature, and fine arts.

Arts Council of Pakistan, Karachi is a nationally and globally recognized NPO that was once hosted by great maestros such as Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Sadequain, and Roshan Ara Begum.

President ACP, Ahmed Shah’s efforts have elevated the organization to international stature, fostering collaborations with countries such as China, Germany, South Korea, USA, Portugal, and Japan.

Arts Council of Pakistan, Karachi hosts several internationally recognized events, including

  • Aalmi Urdu Conference
  • Azadi Aalmi Mushaira
  • Awami Theatre Festival
  • Dance Festivals
  • Karachi Theatre Festival
  • Mohsin-e-Insaniat Conference
  • Pakistan Youth Festival
  • Pakistan Music Festival
  • Pakistan Literature Festival
  • Red Bull BC One Cypher Pakistan
  • Sindh Literature Festival
  • Sindh Theatre Festival
  • Sound Spirit
  • Women Conference

Aims & Objective:

The Arts Council of Pakistan, Karachi is a non-commercial and non-profit organization devoted to the promotion of arts and crafts. “The Memorandum and the Articles of Association” explains fully the aims and objectives of the Council.

  • To foster and encourage the development of fine Arts and Crafts, Theater, Dance, Music, Literature, Architecture, Floral Art, Performing Arts, Film T.V., Radio Broadcast, Mass Communications, Literary Functions, Interior Designing and Sculpture.
  • To promote the study and appreciation thereof through the endeavors of various forms of Art and Culture through Exhibitions, Lectures, Workshops, Film Shows, Seminars, Stage Shows, Concerts, National and International Festivals and Performances, and Publications for the benefit of Society through Artists and the Art-lovers.
  • To organize and establish an Art Center with an art gallery, a Theater Hall, and a Library in Karachi.
  • 4. To publish an art Journal, books and pamphlets for the advancement of the aims of the Council.
  • To provide whenever possible, technical help and advice to Artists working in myriad fields whilst utilizing different mediums.
  • To establish and maintain a library of books on Arts and Crafts, the Theater and the ballet and on Music.
  • To organize an annual Art Exhibition and Musical Concerts and to produce Theater plays.
  • To co-operate with organizations having similar aims or with individuals interested in Art elsewhere for furthering the aims of the Council.
  • To purchase or acquire on lease, or in exchange, on hire or otherwise any real or personal property and any other rights or privileges necessary or convenient for the purpose of the Council.
  • To erect, construct, alter and maintain any building necessary or convenient for Council purposes.
  • To sell, improve, manage and develop all or any part of the property of the Council.
  • To enter into negotiations of contracts with individuals or organizations for the purposes of the Council.
  • To do all such lawful things that may be incidental or conducive to the attainment of the above objectives.

Arts Council goes digital under Covid19:

With the onset of COVID19, Arts Council has taken the initiative since March 2020 to make premium artistic content available digitally to its loyal members, supporters and art enthusiasts. Efforts on every artistic front is underway to make music, poetry, storytelling, theater and dance performances available to the youth and public so that this challenging time under quarantine and lockdown can be eased for everyone. Apart from making performances, poetry, lectures and talks available online, Arts Council is working to begin a digital Music talent hunt competition and plan its execution digitally in order to revive original Pakistani musical compositions.

There is a dire need to support the artists, youth and elderly all over the globe post this devastating pandemic. Thus the Council is striving to keep the performing arts alive with its digital resources and limited staff members who are all committed to the organization’s goals fostering artistic camaraderie and dedicated to serve digital content to keep music, dance, theater and fine arts alive in Pakistan as well as across our borders.

The hope is that millions of starved art, music, theater, dance and poetry lovers will join our digital community to make this hope a reality as we move forward with Arts Council’s myriad digital and artistic campaigns.

The Arts Council of Pakistan, Karachi is the most happening institution in the field of arts and arts education in the country and we have utilized this interim lull period to make several new developments in infrastructure and educational curriculum. We have designed the way forward and that way is definitely digital.

Since Karachi has rapidly adapted to the changing work environment post the global pandemic of COVD19. Whilst in-person gatherings have ceased due to intensive social distancing, our organization has continued to grow digital initiatives and we are proud to announce four major new programs under our Digital Production House. These initiatives include, but are not limited to:

  1. ACP Poetry: Celebrating Poets of  Yore

This initiative will be seen reviving an archive of over 400 works of poetry through a digital video library which will include poets of both current and even have orators recite works of legendary poets posthumously. Few poets who have come forward to recite their own work include: Mr. Ahmed Naved, Anwar Shaoor, Rehana Roohi, and Ajmal Siraj. Posthumous poetry archive will include but not be limited to legends such as Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Alama Iqbal, Asad Ullah Khan Ghalib, and Mir Taki Mir.

  1. ACP Readings:

Celebrating Legendary Writers

This digital initiative will digitally record, archive, produce and publish an audio-visual version of the country’s finest Urdu writers through dramatic recitation and re-enactment by our organizations finest Theater artists and professors. The works include but are not limited to these legendary writers: Sadat Hassan Manto, Ismat Chugtai, MushtaqYusufi, Pitras Bukhari, and Ibn e Insha.

  1. ACP Music:

Creating Original Pakistani Musics a proud initiative of the Council to utilize hidden musical talent and record, mix, produce and digitally release original music recordings, records of Eastern and Western instruments, and new compositions which will encapsulate local talent.

  1. ACP Dramas

This video, digital and stage initiative will come together to produce original theater plays,     teleplays and radio plays which will be made accessible to everyone nationally and internationally via a digital platform. Artists will come together to script, act, direct, design and produce content which will be par excellence and will breathe a fresh air into the world of content consumption at a global level. This initiative will also revive the country’s golden era of television and theater by reproducing and adapting Pakistan’s most loved scripts such as Ankahi by Hasina Moin, Aangan Tehra by Anwar Maqsood and many more.

  1. ACP Talks:

Educational, informational knowledge and lots of infotainment will now be available for all on the official YouTube channel of Arts Council. Talks, lectures, discussions and panels will be filmed on youth related topics, arts and entertainment will be filmed and uploaded for public viewing on a regular basis. Another component of ACP talks will be interviews with prominent personalities and key public figures.