Inaugural Creative Arts and Skills Festival next Saturday
Orantes Moore, Gleaner Writer
A unique event that combines family fun with an opportunity to learn about art and business is scheduled to take place in Port Maria, St Mary, later this month.
The inaugural Creative Arts and Skills Festival takes place at Claude Stuart Park and the St Mary Parish Church Hall between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. on Saturday, October 25, and aims to teach patrons how to nurture and create wealth from their artistic talents.
Speaking last week at the festival's media launch, manager of the Social Development Commission (SDC) in St Mary, Travis Graham, explained: "The festival is a multifaceted event operating under the theme: 'Making Your Art Your Business,' which is an aspect we're really pushing because we believe St Mary has a national and competitive advantage in heritage and creative arts.
"We want to show people the various professions and income-generating activities that come out of the creative arts, so the workshops will be about how to make money from, and what careers are connected to, those skills.
"We'll be setting up an information fair, which will include business entities and agencies such as the Registrar of Companies and JAMPRO, to show people who create products how to formalise their trade and make money."
Graham also noted that several community-based organisations had already registered to display and sell art, craft work and agro-processing products, and encouraged all the parish's forward-thinking business owners to do the same.
In addition to a diverse range of exhibitions, the festival will also feature video production workshops run by the Creative Production and Training Centre, and an area managed by the Heart Trust/NTA where patrons are encouraged to try a new skill and earn a certificate of participation.
Director of cultural policy in the Ministry of Youth and Culture (MYC), Marisa Benain, told Rural Xpress: "St Mary is synonymous with a lot of our traditional folk forms and this event will give another generation a chance to tap into what exists and see what is available and where they can go with it, in terms of modern training in the arts."
"Any festival of the arts that facilitates development is really in tandem with the mission of the MYC, which is one of the reasons we came on board. We definitely have to endorse an event like this."
Minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Transport, Works and Housing and MP for St Mary Central, Dr Morais Guy, added: "St Mary is a sleeping parish where it relates to culture. We have a lot of art forms that need to be explored and shared with the world to show how rich this parish is in terms of its people and historical and cultural resources. When I was asked by the SDC to be a part of this project, I came on board immediately because I think it will be of benefit to the country."
Besides enlightening budding entrepreneurs and helping those with artistic flair to develop their skills, Graham hopes the event will unite all the organisations working towards regenerating the parish.
He said: "One of our objectives is to strengthen inter-agency relationships within the parish. We have a working committee made up of different organisations and out of this, want to formalise an inter-agency network so at the beginning of the financial year, rather than simply partnering with each other, we can say: 'Let's plan together and share resources'."