Campers sharing their talent with the appreciative audience at the closing of the five-week NIFCA Arts Camp, last week. (C.Pitt/BGIS)

Parents have been called on to embrace the creativity of their children and welcome all opportunities for them to learn through the arts.

This advice came over the weekend from acting Minister of Culture, Patrick Todd, as he addressed the closing of the five-week NIFCA Arts Camp Really?…In Our Town! 75 Years, at the Combermere School.

Mr. Todd told the gathering, which included the campers and their parents, that "the arts ensure the development of well-rounded citizens and build their confidence towards greater self-expression and achievement in all other areas of learning and life".

He underscored the importance of the creative industries, stating that sector had the potential to be the next major plank of economic growth for Barbados. He promised that government would continue to support investment in this sector and provide similar training initiatives for the youth.

Funding for this camp came from the National Summer Camp Programme, and 75 children between the ages of six and 16 were exposed to acting, dance, singing, drumming, visual arts, and creative writing.

Acting Minister of Culture, Patrick Todd, Permanent Secretary in the Division of Culture and Sports, Ernesta Drakes and Chairman of the National Cultural Foundation, Monique Taitt, enjoying the performances of the children. (C.Pitt.BGIS)

Mr. Todd added that based on the intensive training the children had undertaken, he expected to see more successful musicians, actors, dancers, writers and visual artists. "I expect to see the best work produced in this camp, not only in this year’s NIFCA competition, but also works of camp graduates on future stages, between future pages and adorning the walls of future galleries in this island and beyond," he declared.

The Minister pointed out that the young people were exposed to Barbadian history, heritage and culture, with a view to helping them build pride and a greater understanding of this island’s achievements.

Chairman of the National Cultural Foundation, Monique Taitt, also reiterated the importance of the cultural industries. "Statistics have shown that whether in times of plenty or in times of need, cultural and creative industries all over the world have remained resilient to adverse external forces and instead, there has been consistent growth in these industries.

"And, with the tremendous creative promise that lies within our people, our Government is of the view that it is important that we support and develop this talent in a viable way, not only from the perspective of the economic benefits to be derived from the industry, but also from the perspective of making sure that we are educated about our cultural heritage and are encouraged to celebrate who we are as a people," Ms. Taitt observed.

During the five weeks, the campers were taught about the 1937 Riots and the Chairman explained that by sensitising the young people to a moment in history that bore no resemblance to this era, it was hoped that they would take the time to learn more about the country’s heritage.


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