From left to right: Minister of Culture, John King; OAS Technical Coordinator, Celia Toppin; Workshop Coordinator, Wendy Hollingsworth; Coherit Consultants, Angela Labrador and Neil Silberman and Ministry of Culture’s, Sheron Johnson, chatting at the opening of the OAS workshop at Courtyard by Marriott yesterday. (C.Pitt/BGIS)

Minister of Creative Economy, Culture and Sports, John King, would like to see all government offices purchase a piece of locally made craft.

He made this assertion recently at the opening of an Organization of American States-sponsored workshop entitled: The Potential of the Caribbean Heritage Network for Strengthening a Sustainable Regional Craft Sector held at Courtyard by Marriott, Garrison Historic Area, Hastings, Christ Church.

Mr. King pledged support for the local craft industry, stating: “During my first year as a Minister, I became painfully aware of the challenges facing our cultural sector such as limited funding, a lack of support and developmental training, limited or no access to markets, issues of distribution, limited promotion and marketing, the high cost of production…and I am very aware that the situation is similar in many of the Caribbean countries.

“The rebuilding of Barbados’ craft sector is a priority for the Government of Barbados. We are going to ensure that the craft sector is valued as an important contributor to the GDP, as a key feature of the tourism sector and not as part of the informal sector.”

Pointing to the fact that the sector has potential for economic growth and social stability, he submitted that it was one that the region could ill afford to lose.

He praised the National Cultural Foundation for its initiative over the last couple of months of coordinating a number of pop up exhibitions around Barbados.

Mr. King also shared that the upcoming Crop Over Art Exhibition was expected to further raise the profile of the art and craft sector.

The workshop brought together policymakers and crafts persons from across the region who are expected to discuss issues pertaining to the craft sector as well as ways to improve visibility in the local, regional and international market space.

One of the main objectives of the workshop is to share best practices and utilize the newly-established Caribbean Heritage Network, based at the University of the West Indies, to share best practices, and network with suppliers and artists to market their products and services.

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