By Camille Saunders Musser, founder of Youlou Arts Foundation
Yes Vincy people, the time has come when we must make a stand to improve the arts. For far too long, the arts have been neglected, ignored, dismissed and placed on the back burner in this country. The prevailing attitude has been, “But you can’t make a living from that”. That is not true! It is utter rubbish! To believe that sentiment today is a crying shame. Let it be known, money can be made from the arts.
Creating solid, rich, art events which generate “buzz”, “hype”, curiosity, and excitement, will ultimately lead to increased foot traffic. The public will make the effort to come out to experience such events. Art activities have the potential to promote economic growth with benefits for all.
Making this happen depends on you, Vincy people. We all have a huge role to play and shoulder this big responsibility. This requires everyone to participate, from the government right down to the man on the street. Together we need to start supporting, nourishing and encouraging the arts. We all need to become curious and pay attention to art events happening in the community. We must ask ourselves “Do we go to see neighbourhood murals?” “Do we support or buy local art and crafts?” “Do we make it our business to go and see art exhibitions?” “Are opportunities for artists being offered?” “Are journalists/newspapers following the arts and writing about art activities in the community?”
Participating in these small acts plays a great role in supporting the arts, helps to change the public attitudes and helps build community.
The St. Vincent Tourism Association stated that their guests/visitors are seeking entertainment and art. It is a sad state of affairs when the association complains about the lack of entertainment and art in the country. Art activities/experiences should be readily available. Guests and visitors to our shores want to see and experience our art, our culture. They want to see and hear what the Vincy people have to offer. They want a cultural experience, something that is 100% Vincy.
But where is it? Where is our uniqueness? Our cultural identity. Clearly, our carnival festivals are not enough. Are we only capable of organising one big event once a year for several days? What happens the rest of the year? What can we do?
How do we encourage artists to express themselves whether it is through song and dance or painting and drawing? These are questions which the community needs to address. How do we go about integrating the arts into our everyday lives? How can we share it with our visitors?
We the people of SVG need to show commitment and provide opportunities which bring organisations, and individuals together with the focus of encouraging and supporting the arts. Public support is desperately needed! We all need to be champions for the arts, if we want to foster an arts community.
The views expressed herein are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the opinions or editorial position of iWitness News. Opinion pieces can be submitted to [email protected].