A craft person poses a question at a recent meeting with Minister of Trade, Dr. David Estwick, at the Bagnall’s Point Gallery, Pelican Craft Centre.
The Barbados Investment and Development Corporation (BIDC) has come to the rescue of scores of artisans who have been complaining about the non-provision of vendors’ outlets to display their wares to thousands of tourists who disembark at the main ports of entry daily.
In an attempt to address these concerns, the BIDC’s Craft Development Officer, Sandra Browne, disclosed that June has been designated craft month. This measure, she said, is an attempt to create greater visibility for the artisans’ work and boost the local arts sector as a whole.
She also stated that a letter had been dispatched to officials from the Bridgetown Port and the Grantley Adams International Airport (GAIA) imploring them to support local artists.
In underscoring the importance of craft to the island’s economic development, Ms Browne cited the mounting of a number of mini exhibitions during the Corporation’s meeting for craft persons at the Bagnall’s Point Gallery, Pelican Craft Centre last Monday as another example of the BIDC’s pledge to boost the sector.
She further added: “We are going to encourage the Ministry to work with us by developing a national craft’s month and we thought that June would be appropriate. We think it is a good opportunity for persons involved in the sector to come out to the events scheduled during the month. It is also an excellent opportunity for Barbadians and visitors to visit craft persons working in their various studios and select their choice pieces.”
Minister of Economic Affairs and Empowerment, Innovation, Trade, Industry and Commerce, Dr. David Estwick, assured the sector of Government’s support and said his Ministry would come up with the best policy positions to improve the sector.
However, Dr. Estwick cautioned: “I cannot promise you that you will get everything but we will try our best to give you what you need to get the sector going.”
During the meeting, a number of issues were raised by the artisans, including inadequate raw materials, access to capital, reluctance to invest in training, limited space on the West Coast to display craft items, lack of respect for craftpersons, and the need to restart promotion of the Pelican Craft Centre to hotels across the island.