Minister of Culture, Stephen Lashley (second from left), admiring art on display at a recent event. (FP)

Barbadians need to recognise the economic value of art and cultural goods and services. This is the view of Minister of Culture, Stephen Lashley, who said other countries had packaged and marketed their arts globally and were now reaping the economic benefits.

Mr. Lashley made the comments on Monday evening at the launch of the Portfolio 2012 Exhibition which featured the work of 45 graduating students of the Associate Degree in Visual Arts and the Bachelor of Fine Arts Programme of the Barbados Community College.

The Minister suggested that the time had come for more children to seek careers in the cultural field. According to him, the creative economy offers opportunities for both creativity and business, that is, for pure artistic expression and a blend which embraced art, business and technology.

"We truly anticipate that there will be greater scope for employment in the arts arena.?? My Ministry is aware that for many years, artistically inclined persons have been concerned that, having spent time and money studying the arts, there are very limited options for advancement or employment.

"There is no denying, however, that the arts impact on our quality of life.?? The fusion of innate creativity, talent and arts development is daily unlocking doors and expanding the range of training, employment and marketing opportunities, not only in the visual arts, but in dance, film and video, music, drama, literature and the culinary arts, for example," he pointed?? out.

Mr. Lashley noted that his Ministry was steadfastly moving ahead with the much anticipated development of the cultural industries, which he described as the new economic frontier. He said the Cultural Industries Development Bill would be enacted to provide a regulatory framework and a regime of incentives to facilitate and encourage the sustainable growth and development of the cultural industries.?? ????????????????????????????

He explained that the incentives would be provided for persons involved in the arts, as well as those who contributed financially to the arts. According to him, this type of collaboration would create the basis for expanding and attracting development and employment options.

The Minister noted that registered cultural practitioners would be among those persons able to benefit from the incentives being offered for development of cultural skills, programmes and projects and he assured the students that they could benefit from the enactment of the Bill.

Mr. Lashley also commended the tutors for contributing to the development of another group of artists, saying that many of them went beyond the call of duty to train, encourage and motivate the students.??


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