Director of Culture and Arts for Love and Living (CALL) Andrea King wants Government and stakeholders to make a renewed effort to show children in schools to the advantages and importance of the creative industries.
The top of the NGO suggested that developing the appreciation for the sector from the first school level, through the inclusion of craft making on the curriculum, would ensure a continued interest in and marketplace for local craft specifically.
King, who spoke to Barbados TODAY insisted that cultivating a natural interest within the sector can only be completed if children are given the inspiration on which they’ll construct an appreciation of the work of creative artists.
She said this might not be done through occasional workshops all year long but through a holistic approach rooted in art appreciation and the understanding of the industry being lucrative.
“This serves two major purposes. One, the innate talent is trained and honed from early, which could ensure knowledgeable wonderful finish in craft products; and two, the scholars who should not interested by craft making may have an appreciation for the artistry that goes into craft making,” King contended.
“That education would also include why it is necessary to support local production, in addition to the cultural and spiritual significance of the craft work, so the scholars who will turn out to be adults and consumers may have a deeper appreciation for the product.”
King, the primary ever director of the Barbados Cultural Industries Development Authority, also touched on the absence of Bridgetown Market from the Crop Over calendar when the festival resumed this 12 months after a two-year hiatus forced by the COVID-19 pandemic.
She said while local artists can have benefited from the sales made in the course of the three National Cultural Foundation (NCF) Arts and Artisanal Pop-Ups held in the course of the season, not having the immensely popular Bridgetown Market, which had been a staple of the summer festival, was clearly felt by the artists.
“Bridgetown Market is the space people often go to for craft items [and] since we didn’t have it for the past couple of years, it really left a void,” she said.
“This 12 months, joining with the Barbados Vendors Association to provide one big market can have been a greater approach to capture a big audience.”
When asked if the absence of a National Art Gallery was still hampering efforts to push the creative industry forward, King emphasised that although the gallery was indeed needed as a predominant space to display local works, support for the sector, from the bottom up, was a greater priority at this point.
“Successive Ministers of Culture have been working on the National Art Gallery but there have all the time been challenges. I feel that the Government goes to do what it may possibly do and steps have been taken. A location has been identified and, after all, the challenge is all the time the cash to make the gallery one that everyone is pleased with.
“Within the meantime, artists can do what they’ll do. The Government will do what it may possibly do with the resources that it has,” she said.
On the elevation of spoken word artists to mainstream national entertainment, King, who can also be the producer of the Bridgetown International Arts Festival, said those artists have been making impressive strides on the world stage over the previous few years.
She said the country could capitalise on that.
“Given the extent of interest young local artists have received on the international stage, a greater push must be made to not only encourage our artists to tour but additionally to bring international creatives here to share their skills and experiences as well,” she suggested.
“Now we have the responsibility to spread our way of doing spoken word, considering the problems and themes and topics we speak about. The Bridgetown International Arts Festival exists in order that international performing artists, including those that do spoken word, can come to Barbados and share our stage.
“So CALL sends people out to perform on international stages, and we invite people through the festival to share our stage,” King added.
In 2019, CALL – which is devoted to business development, collaborative working, trade, business-to-business opportunities and south-south cooperation, towards advancing the creative and cultural industries in Barbados and the Global South – facilitated 4 young spoken word artists participating within the Vrystaat Arts Festival in South Africa.