A second serving of CARICS arts festSunday, January 26, 2020
By Howard Campbell
The second CARICS International Fine Arts Festival is scheduled for March 14 at S Hotel Conference and Event Centre in Montego Bay. Like the inaugural show last year, it will showcase the work of established and emerging artists and artisans.
A switch in venue from the Old Hospital Park is the lone change from 2019, says founder and chief organiser Oniel Cunningham.
“The format of the event remains the same. There will be fine art and craft exhibits from several local artists and artisans, and we anticipate that there will be a few pieces from some foreign artists,” he told the Jamaica Observer.
Last year's event featured creatives from Jamaica, Antigua, Ghana, the United Kingdom and Australia. The Jamaican contingent this year includes Scion Derby, who displayed in 2019; Andrew Duhaney, Christopher Scott, Ralston Vassell, Ingrid and Glendon Coke, and the Craft Vendors Association.
A Montego Bay native, Cunningham is an arts buff who was concerned about the dearth of exhibitions in Jamaica's tourist capital. He funded the first CARICS International Fine Arts Festival, staging it outdoors, hoping the scenery would complement the participants' work.
That did not go as planned, hence the move to a more traditional setting.
“While the outdoor waterfront venue was scenic, it presented several challenges for both artists and patrons. We therefore moved to a more convenient indoor location,” Cunningham explained. “The venue, which is mere metres away from the first venue, provides air-conditioned comfort and ample parking for festival attendees.”
Another area which has seen some improvement is financial support. Members of Montego Bay's tourist industry, as well as the government-run Jamaica Cultural Development Commission, which supported the event last year, are associate sponsors.
Cunningham, who is in his mid-40s, hails from Salt Spring in St James. He makes his living from housing development but has been an art enthusiast for over 20 years.
The CARICS International Fine Arts Festival is his realisation of a concept similar to Art Basel, the annual exhibition held in Switzerland, Hong Kong and Miami. It allows budding artists an opportunity to expose their work to owners of leading galleries.
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