Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office with responsibility for Culture, John King, noted that locally handcrafted pieces are “very valuable” and are the perfect items to give family and friends as gifts. (S. Forde-Craigg/BGIS)

A call has been made for Barbadians to support local craftsmen and women.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office with responsibility for Culture, John King, made this appeal as he addressed participants at the National Cultural Foundation’s (NCF) last Arts and Crafts “Pop-Ins” held at the Pelican Craft Centre, yesterday.

“On an everyday basis, it is time for us as Barbadians to begin to support the efforts of all of the local craftsmen and women here at the Pelican Village and across Barbados…. It is a struggle to be a craft entrepreneur, especially in a COVID-19 environment, and we want to see all of our entrepreneurs within this space and across the island succeed, and they can only do that if we, the Barbadian public, support them,” Minister King stressed.

He added that locally handcrafted pieces are “very valuable” and are the perfect items to give family and friends as gifts. He noted that Christmas was coming up and hoped that Pelican Village and other craft markets across the island would be the first place Barbadians would seek to shop.

Mr. King, in acknowledging the efforts of entities who made the “pop-ins” a reality, said: “I really want to say on behalf of the Division of Culture how proud and impressed we are with the initiatives that have been taken. But really and truly, it really needs the Barbadian public now.

“You are the second part that is needed to make these things successful, to make these things a reality, and oftentimes we think about the Pelican Village as being for tourists. Let me tell you now, and state this categorically, that it is first for Barbadians and it is for people from all over the island to come in and enjoy the craft, to enjoy the food and enjoy the atmosphere.”

Newly elected President of the Pelican Tenants’ Association (PeTA), Dave Waldron, in welcoming patrons to Pelican Village noted that the tenants, along with all artists and artisans across Barbados, share a vision that Barbados’ heritage products could be better marketed both locally and abroad to highlight the beautiful arts and crafts that Barbados has to offer.

He said as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic impacting the tourism industry, tenants have been facing difficult times, but they continue to press on. “We are focused now, more than ever, on re-establishing the appreciation for our heritage product within our local market, and abroad, through the support mechanisms provided by the NCF, the special technical assistance programme managed by Export Barbados and the Small Business Association,” he stressed.

During the month of August, the NCF hosted a series of Arts and Crafts “Pop-Ins” across the island, which culminated yesterday at the Pelican Craft Centre, where the Barbados Defence Force chefs treated patrons to a watermelon carving demo. Other demos during the day included: Warri and Potta, jewellery making, pottery, glass art and tie-dye.

sheena.forde-craigg@barbados.gov.bb

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