Arts & Culture

JCDC gears up for milestone

Sunday, November 19, 2017

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The year 2018 will be a very special one for the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC), as it celebrates the major milestone of 55 years of contribution to the development of the island's cultural industries.

Originally formed in 1963 as Jamaica Festival Commission, the JCDC's mandate is to build national euphoria around Independence and create a space for the unearthing and developing of Jamaica's cultural talent.

JCDC's interim executive director, Orville Hill, said the occasion presents a great opportunity for the agency, which leads out on most of the country's heritage and civic events, to fully showcase the wide range of products and services it offers.

“We are very excited about the plans that we have for next year. The JCDC is such an integral agency and a major player in nation-building, but the work of the agency doesn't sit at the forefront of people's minds. People will generally come out and enjoy the events that we produce, but they don't necessarily see the work and the machinery that operate in the background, where we are touching and improving the lives of children and ordinary Jamaicans through the development of cultural and social human assets,” he told Jamaica Observer.

Hill said there will be a number of changes and improvements to elements of the JCDC's operations, including the expansion of major programmes across the island to give a wider cross section of Jamaicans an opportunity to participate in the work and activities of the agency.

The interim executive director said the plan is to share some national events with our audience in western Jamaica.

“Traditionally we have staged major activities in Kingston. We want to diversify the locations and have some events in Western Jamaica with a view to expanding into central Jamaica. We will also enrich parish activities as we celebrate our 55th anniversary,” he said.

A major plank of the celebrations will be the return of the Festival Song Competition, which had a break this year. Hill said the contest is being revamped to bring a new and exciting experience to the population.

“The festival song contest is one of the flagship events of the JCDC, and in the 55th year we will be making sure that it regains its former glory. We have started planning for the 2018 Festival Song Competition and we believe that we will be able to energise and excite the nation and build euphoria and national pride,” he said.

Several Jamaicans who have made significant contributions to the work of the JCDC, and by extension the building of Jamaica's cultural industries, will be honoured during JCDC 55. Hill remained coy about naming the individuals, but indicated that they would be people who saw to the establishment and development of the agency and numerous volunteers who have contributed over the years.

“All the programmes that the JCDC undertakes are heavily dependent on volunteers. We have some remarkable Jamaicans who have been giving of their time and expertise over many years, and we want to take time to thank them formally and to encourage others to get on board,” he said.

He noted that the agency would be relying heavily on private sector support to get much of its 55th anniversary celebratory activities done.

“We want to partner with the private sector to ensure that we roll out the best programme possible. We have to focus on continuing to build Jamaica's cultural assets, because without grass roots programmes to unearth and develop talent we will have a dwindling talent pool. Jamaica's culture is one of our greatest assets and we must do all we can to build and preserve it,” Hill added.




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