The National Cultural Foundation
St. James, Barbados
Ten residents of the Government Industrial School were exposed to a variety of arts activities thanks to the National Cultural Foundation (NCF).
The residents, who received certificates of participation, were participants in the recently concluded Phase 1 of a one-year-long programme entitled: Arts Programming under theme: Loving The Skin I’m In.
Phase 1 was an eight-week virtual programme which consisted of one-hour long morning and afternoon sessions twice a week (Wednesdays and Fridays) in the creative arts, as well as entrepreneurial endeavours in culinary arts (Bajan delicacies), makeup (female section) and barbering.
The tutors who made the programme a success are: Varia Williams, Nicollette Williams, Matthew Murrell, Carolyn Brathwaite, Cherish Perdersen, Neil Waithe, Eden Gibson, Grace Franklin, Janelle Griffith and Tennille Griffith. The tutors were ably assisted by GIS staff who led the physical aspects of the culinary, makeup and barbering sessions.
In commenting about the timely programme Chief Executive Officer of the National Cultural Foundation Carol Roberts-Reifer said the Foundation was pleased to facilitate the use of creative arts to help the students.
“The NCF’s intention was to get vulnerable and at-risk youth involved in cultural activities with the goal of boosting their confidence, nurture their creative expression and generally create a more positive sense of self and identity. The arts and culture are meaningful tools of therapy, empowerment and upliftment and I hope that this programme has changed the outlook and future potential of these young men and women.”
On Wednesday, September 1 and Friday, September 3 there were two separate Virtual Open Session Showcases with the girls taking centre stage Wednesday and the boys doing likewise Friday.
The showcases allowed participants to feel a sense of accomplishment in the completion of a piece of art that reflects their hard work done. Both groups did drama presentations.
During the showcase acting principal of GIS Ronald Brathwaite said there was great value to the programme.
“I want to say a hearty thank you to Ms. Taylor and the team at the NCF and to all the presenters who were able to make this a reality. We have benefitted from it. Even with the COVID-19 situation and having to move it to online they persisted and it came to fruition.
He told the residents he was proud of what he had seen over the weeks.
“To see the enthusiasm, effort and buy-in that you have shown for the programme is even more encouraging among the residents here at the boys school and at the girls school. You all showed communication skills and the value of teamwork throughout the workshop.”
During her brief remarks NCF’s Theatre Arts Officer Renée Taylor thanked the GIS Board and principal for agreeing to have the programmes implemented.
She also thanked participants and told them that they had “exceeded expectations” given the fact that the programmes were conducted virtually.
“Over the weeks, I have seen firsthand the benefits of utilising drama and the creative arts to help our youth simply by allowing them to express themselves. This programme has exposed these participants to aspects of cultural identity, heritage and cultural expression. What took place here only serves to reaffirm the NCF commitment to the completion of the entire programme which has two more cycles to come,” Taylor said. (PR)
Written by: Toni Yarde