The Art of Kingston

By Richard Johnson
Observer senior writer
johnsonr@jamaicaobserver.com

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

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This Sunday will see the 15th Kingston Creative Artwalk, a monthly exposition laying the groundwork for development of an art district in downtown Kingston.

The project was started by a group of creatives in March 2018. Its representative, Andrea Dempster Chung, shared with the Jamaica Observer that they are pleased with their achievements so far.

She noted that, at its peak, the event has attracted 2,500 patrons.

“We have lots of different levels of buy-in. We have community buy-in. That is why we are able to work with community groups and organisations such as a Life Yard or a Trench Town Culture Yard or Sounds and Pressure from Beat Street, so we've got lots of buy-in at the community level. The vision of Kingston as an art district is just something that everybody loves because we understand the power of our culture. In terms of buy-in from corporate (Jamaica), we are working on it. As you know, this needs to be resourced,” she said.

Dempster Chung added that, “Now we are going from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm and attracting a lot of visitors who hear about it through the hotels or international media outlets. One of the big draws for Artwalk is that it is one of the few events that you can do with your children in a safe, fun environment.”

Sunday's event begins at 6:00 am with a bicycle ride across the city, starting at Fleet Street. This will be followed by Yoga on the Kingston waterfront. The art segment gets going at 11:00 am with a photo exhibition on Water Lane, followed at noon by Resonances at noon an exhibition curated by Verlee Poupeye, former executive director of the National Gallery of Jamaica.

Resonances will feature the best of final-year pieces from students at the School of Art at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts. There will be more art at the National Gallery with an auction of entries in the International Reggae Poster Competition. Events also include music from UWI Panoriddim Steel Band as well as dance classes and demonstrations.

The event culminates at 4:00 pm with an 'after party' at F&B Downtown.

“We are really hoping for a bumper crowd because the line-up is so good... there is something for everybody... you can cycle, do yoga, dance as well as experience and enjoy your traditional visual and performing arts. It's a great range,” said Dempster Chung.

Kingston Creative is actively looking for funding to complete a mural project in downtown Kingston. So far, two murals have been painted and Dempster Chung is hoping more sponsors will come on board so the look and feel of downtown can be transformed.

“We'll be painting a live mural all day in Water Lane on Sunday. Anyone who wants to paint the city is invited to come and get involved. This is part of a project to paint 20 murals across the city. We have already done two of these murals, but this requires corporate sponsorship, so they have all been designed but we await the entities which will donate the funds to get them done. So far, Coldwell Banker has painted one that is now located on the corner of Harbour Street and Rosemary Lane. The F&B Downtown has sponsored the ones in Water Lane,” she disclosed.


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