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Young people to have free access to museums, galleries

Wednesday, September 03, 2014    

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YOUNG people across the island will soon be granted free access to museums, galleries, heritage sites and exhibitions, under the Culture Card Programme of the Ministry of Youth and Culture.

The programme is currently being evaluated in preparation for a national roll-out this month, Youth and Culture Minister Lisa Hanna said at the launch of the 40th anniversary exhibition of the National Gallery of Jamaica on the weekend.

The pilot phase of the programme was launched in December 2013, in keeping with a plan by the ministry to expose young people to various aspects of the Jamaican culture.

"The Culture Card Programme was launched right here last year as a pilot with over 100 students from four high schools and it is now going to be rolled out in a national way in September," Hanna said.

During the pilot phase, 100 students from four schools -- Haile Selassie High, Papine High, St Andrew Technical High and Vauxhall High -- and their parents/guardians were issued cards to allow them access to museums, galleries, heritage sites and exhibitions, and productions by private arts and culture companies.

Hanna said the programme will give students "unprecedented access to cultural offerings, including the exhibitions at the National Gallery, free of cost".

She pointed out that over the past two years the ministry had taken deliberate steps to ensure that more Jamaicans had regular access to the collections at the National Gallery.

The gallery is opened free to the public on the last Sunday of each month from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm.

Hanna said the gallery has been supporting and increasing its engagement with younger and emerging artists, and cited the series of exhibitions at the gallery, including, 'Young Talent 5' and 'New Roots', focusing on the work of young contemporary Jamaican artists.

Meanwhile, the minister said she was pleased with the recent opening of the National Gallery West at the Montego Bay Cultural Centre. She encouraged artists to produce pieces that "inspire, perplex, delight, beautify and edify".

She added: "We must encourage the development of the business of art for wealth creation and poverty alleviation. We must not leave our people's economic security to chance."

The exhibition featured 131 pieces of art, accompanied by an illustrated catalogue with essays by Alissandra Cummins, Annie Paul and Veerle Poupeye. There was also a musical performance by Black Zebra, featuring Wayne McGregor and David Lazarus, who played a mixture of blues, rock, jazz and soul.

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