Paint the town
Kingston Creative spearheads city transformation
Passers-by examine one of the murals on Water Lane in downtown Kingston. (Photo: Garfield Robinson)

LOCAL arts organisation Kingston Creative has partnered with the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce on the ‘Transform the City for Jamaica 60’ initiative.

This will allow businesses within downtown Kingston to receive discounts of up to 25 per cent on paint and paint supplies from local suppliers Sherwin Williams, Hardware & Lumber Rapid Tru Value, BH Paints, and Berger Paints to improve their building façade.

Executive director of Kingston Creative Andrea Dempster Chung told the Jamaica Observer that this project is part of a wider vision to revitalise downtown Kingston as a vibrant business and cultural district and to make it the creative capital of the Caribbean.

“For years Kingston Creative has been working to transform the downtown Kingston area, not just as an art district, but as a fully functioning urban centre. Yes, we have done the murals and utilised a bottom-up concept to get where we are [but] this has to be met with a top-down policy so that we are able to deal with other elements such as the lighting, security and garbage collection so the whole project can be sustainable in the long run,” she reasoned.

Dempster Chung further noted that the transform the city project comes out of a concept called block of excellence, wherein a particular area of the city will be developed as a prototype to showcase what can be achieved.

“So we have partnered with the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce, through its President Ian Neita and the chair of the downtown committee of the chamber Michael McMorris, to get the business community on board to improve the façade of their buildings, even if they are unoccupied or just being used for storage. Let us start by bringing up the aesthetic value of the area. This is all part of a business improvement district model which we are exploring to get various parties on board.”

This Tuesday, teams from the chamber and Kingston Creative will execute a walk-through of downtown Kingston to promote this initiative. The chamber is leading the project by improving the façade of its building in East Parade.

“By maintaining the aesthetics this will at least improve property value, so from that standpoint we hope the business community will buy into this initiative,” said Dempster Chung.

Meanwhile, Kingston Creative’s flagship event, Kingston Artwalk will return to the city on August 28. This marks the first physical staging of the popular event in two years due to the pandemic.

Kingston Creative’s Andrea Dempster Chung (Photo: William Richards)

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