Disrespecting arts at our peril


April 19, 2017

Look here nuh, I'm kinda happy and kinda sad right now. Why? I attended some engaging and enlightening seminars at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts recently.

The day was chock-full of information and inspiration, and I'm really happy I got to share in the experience. I'm just sad that the attendance was quite meagre.

The seminars were organised by final-year students in the arts management degree programme at the college and delved into a range of key subjects around arts and business.

With topics like 'Rethinking Branding - an artist's perspective' and 'Management and the business of Entertainment', the events definitely has appeal, especially in a country like Jamaica where everybody and their three cousins claim to be an artist. Sadly, enough artistes and people were not in attendance.


The first seminar sought to explore the nexus between arts and entrepreneurship. And when I saw the title 'Art is risky business', my first thought was, yeah, a me fi tell yuh! The title and content resonated well with me as a person who has lived the at-risk artist life for a very long time. But I wasn't there as an artist or as an interested member of the public who was properly enticed to turn up. I happened to be there because the administration invited me to sit in as an external examiner.

And that's partly why I'm saddened.

More people shoulda deh deh! There was no admission fee. And dem even had free refreshments! So how come the massive missed it? Why is it that the really good quality stuff is rarely ever well supported in this country?

I feel the same way about the amazing production of Errol John's Moon on a Rainbow Shawl that closed last week at the college's School of Drama. The play, directed by Eugene Williams, was absolutely outstanding in every respect. But very few people turned out to enjoy its awesomeness.

I know I may be ruffling some feathers, but I have to talk. And everybody know that I'm like an old, broken fridge. Mi nuh keep a thing too long. So hear mi nuh, I don't know who did or didn't do what dem not supposed to do. But it's a pity. A real pity!


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