For the nation's young talents, the Jamaica Conference Centre was the place to be last Thursday as Jamaica Creative hosted its second career expo under the theme 'Bit by Bit, Putting it Together.'
The initiative, hosted by Minister Olivia "Babsy" Grange and facilitated by the Jamaica Entertainment, Culture, and Creative Industries Council (JECCIC), is geared towards the educating and nurturing of the nation's aspiring creatives.
In her opening statement, Minister Grange shared, "Jamaica Creative was established to have a council with representatives from the various ministries and the private sector, to come together so there is a coordinated approach to addressing the needs of the creative sector. Additionally, the council has facilitated practical learning opportunities for young and aspiring creatives through the provisions of internships with companies and institutions in the field."
The event attracted a stellar line-up of speakers: Janet Rollé, CEO and executive director of the American Ballet Theatre; Dr Miles Davis, president and professor of management at Linfield University; Marcos James, actor; Nadine Rawlins, managing director of RAW Management Ltd; John DaCosta, lighting director; international jewellery designer Matthew "Mateo" Harris; Quilt Performing Arts Company Artistic Director Rayon McLean; and ASHE Executive Director Conroy Wilson; who left the creatives with a plethora of useful nuggets.
Jamaica Creative Career Expo keynote speaker Janet Rollé, a Jamaican-American who served as the general manager of Parkwood Entertainment — an American management, production, entertainment company and record label founded by Beyoncé — shared useful insights on the creative industry. "It is easy to sit here and say that you value creativity, and that you value freedom and that you are passionate, but the only way to know that your values are really your values is when they are tested. Are those the things that you use to make choices, decisions for yourselves or to evaluate opportunities? ""There are a couple of moments of truth for me that have defined my career and led me to understand how deep my values go," she said.
Creating opportunities for young creatives, too, was Dr Miles Davis, president and professor of management at Linfield University, who announced that scholarships will be awarded to five students each year to study at Linfield. "Linfield University offers youth the opportunity to explore their creative side while learning how to manage the business of their career. It's not how much you make; it's how much you keep. Creatives who find themselves in financial trouble usually have a habit of overspending or not understanding that they are in a business," he explained. Jamaican-born, New York-based jewellery designer Matthew "Mateo" Harris, whose brand has attracted the likes of actresses Zendaya and Anne Hathaway, also gave his input from a business perspective. "Most times people just want the 'fabulosity' of it all. At an early age, I had to learn how to mix art with commerce, because at the end of the day, I like to eat food, and the money needs to be there. It's super important that we gather this notion that we have to think about finances," he noted.
The event's entertainment came courtesy of dancehall favourite Laa Lee Ranks, the Ashe Company, and Digicel Rising Stars 2022 winner Mozein Sutherland.
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