Built in 1935, located in the heart of Beirut in Spears Street, in the Sanayeh district, this charming traditional house was the family home of Moustapha Yamouth (alias Zico). Lover of the arts and culture, he started using available spaces in the building for performance rehearsals. Soon, he realized the necessity for artists to have a space where they can create and express themselves and decided to promote and help emerging artists with interesting ideas and projects, especially those who didn’t have the means to produce their own work.
In 1999, Beirut was selected to be the Cultural Capital of the Arab World; this was when Zico House, the civil society organization for culture and development,was officially born. Zico’s home was increasingly associated with the arts and soon, by word of mouth, it became the place where cultural events took place. The whole building became a house for ecological, social, youth and cultural organizations.
Since 1999, around 250 activities have been hosted in Zico House such as: exhibitions, poetry readings, installations, story telling, debates, video screenings, dance performances, theatre plays, concerts, ciné-club, workshops, etc…
The impact of Zico House as a center for artistic creativity and experimentation is not only due to the quality of the works and innovative ventures, but to its unique cultural atmosphere and a constant inflow of people and ideas. The cultural endeavour initiated by Zico was to support both artistic creations and development work by civil society organizations, all conjoined in the same place: experimental artwork, students’ projects, small theater rehearsals, painting exhibitions, site-specific installations, as well as providing a space for social development projects, social associations and civic institutions. Zico House’s aim has always been to become a notable cultural center and to date, no other such multi-faceted center exists in Lebanon.