Calls for better support of the arts on World Art Day

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By Carlena Knight

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As the globe celebrates World Art Day today, a local cultural official is reiterating calls for the continuous support of fine arts in Antigua and Barbuda.

Director of Culture, Khan Cordice, speaking exclusively to Observer, encouraged the general public to support local artisans during this difficult time.

“Whether it be music, purchasing CDs or music online, whether it be hiring someone to dance, or maybe even buy a painting. Buy some sort of clothing from our fashion designers, pick up a book from one of our local writers.

“Pick up a handbag, a purse, something from our handicraft makers just to show your appreciation but also to encourage the artists going forward as we continue to build our creative industries here in Antigua and Barbuda,” Cordice said.

He said that the time has come for local artists to begin thinking outside of the box to support themselves.

“There’s a level of entrepreneurship that we need to have. We need to start getting into that mindset so that the dependency is not always on the government. There are many organisations across the globe that offer fellowships, grants, and financing to individuals that are eligible.

“Some of them require you to be an official entrepreneur, a registered business practitioner. Some require you to document what you do and those are things that anywhere you go across the world and you want to be taken seriously, you will have to start doing,” Cordice shared.

Although he believes that local artists need to begin finding avenues to support themselves, Cordice admitted that more can be done by the government.

In that attempt, Cordice mentioned the addition of the new culture magazine ‘Fu Are We’.

“There’s always room for improvement and that is something where support is considered that we are trying to do. We have the second edition of the ‘Fu Are We’ magazine and that is our April-June issue.

“That magazine is in support of the people in this ministry, the people who are behind the scenes doing a lot of work to sort of keep not just culture alive, but the arts alive.

“Some people are doing some amazing things, travelling all over the world pushing their talents and capabilities in areas that we don’t know about and this magazine will continue to highlight those people,” Cordice added.

World Art Day is an international celebration of the fine arts, which was declared by the International Association of Art, a partner of UNESCO, to promote awareness of creative activity worldwide.

The first World Art Day was observed on April 15 2012, a date chosen in honour of Leonardo da Vinci’s birthday.

Each year, on April 15, World Art Day celebrations help reinforce the links between artistic creations and society, encourage greater awareness of the diversity of artistic expressions and highlight the contribution of artists to sustainable development.

It is also an occasion to shine a light on arts education in schools, as culture can pave the way for inclusive and equitable education.

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