??Minister of Culture, Stephen Lashley (right), and Deputy Governor of the Central Bank, Harold Codrington, admiring Omowale Stewart’s painting "Ma-ma in Town". (C. Pitt/BGIS)

Dialogue between the National Cultural Foundation (NCF) and its stakeholders is essential if the Crop Over festival is to move forward in a positive way.

Minister of Culture, Stephen Lashley, proffered this view last evening while delivering an address at the official opening of the 2011 Central Bank Crop Over Visual Arts Festival at the Grande Salle, Tom Adams Financial Centre, and The City.

Mr. Lashley told the gathering that those innovations introduced last year resulted from discussions between the artists and the NCF and disclosed that many of the recommendations made at the stakeholder consultations earlier this year had been implemented.

"I want to implore stakeholders to continue the dialogue with the National Cultural Foundation on ways to improve the standards, reach and effectiveness of our festival. This will ensure that mutual benefits accrue to the artists, art lovers, and the Foundation. Even more significantly, this dialogue can help to establish this visual arts component of the Crop Over Festival as a ???must see’ event.

"This call for dialogue reflects the Government’s commitment to collaborative development of the cultural industries which is in effect our new economic frontier. It is part of our ongoing processes. For example, stakeholders are once again being consulted for an input on the draft Cultural Industries Development Bill," he explained.

According to the Minister, the format of the visual arts exhibition was changed last year to accommodate three locations and he reported that the change had been "well received" by participants and the viewing public.

The exhibition will run from July 7 to August 5, between 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., at Grande Salle; the Barbados National Bank Gallery, #1 Broad Street; and Bagnall’s Point Gallery, Pelican Craft Village, all in the City. It is dedicated to textiles, jewellery, dolls and baskets at one location; photography, paintings and two dimensional works at another; and three dimensional works and sculptures at another site.

Mr. Lashley said such exhibitions would provide exposure for the artists, while sensitising Barbadians and visitors alike to the wide range and high quality of work being produced here. He added that patrons would again enjoy an evening of interpretation through music and drama.

"Such fusion of genres will be an ongoing feature of the development of our creative industries and will enhance initiatives for development of the various art forms. The opportunities for creativity, fusion and business development are limitless and fortunately, many of us have been blessed with fertile, creative imaginations," he stated.

The Minister stressed that art should be promoted for its creative and visual impact, and its economic potential should be exploited.


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