The incentives offered under the Cultural Industries Development Act should encourage investors to assist in the development of artistically-focused learning institutions.
This suggestion came yesterday from Minister of Culture, Sports and Youth, Stephen Lashley, as he delivered remarks at the opening reception for the Second International Dance Conference and Season of Dance at the Errol Barrow Centre for Creative Imagination (EBCCI) at The University of the West Indies Cave Hill Campus.
Mr. Lashley encouraged prospective investors to finance the arts programmes of institutions such as the EBCCI and Barbados Community College (BCC).
“Now is a good time to do it; the Cultural Industries Development Act does provide avenues for attracting investment for cultural products that are approved,” he stated.
The Minister added that it was important for organisations looking for investment opportunities to provide this kind of support to artistically-geared educational institutions, as it would also assist in the positioning of their brand.
He noted that public funding was not sufficient, and in fact, should not be the only source of assistance to such educational institutions, given their overall importance.
“They’re extremely important because we have to be able to have institutions that are focused on specific areas of building the capacities. Training is a very important aspect of it…therefore the role of the EBCCI as well as the BCC is very critical and indispensable in helping us along the journey, both at the level of cultural policies and what we’re doing with the Cultural Industries,” he said.
Stating that his Ministry recognised the importance of the cultural industries to the development of Barbados and its economy, Mr. Lashley said through the National Cultural Foundation, programmes of varying types would continue to be created to provide persons interested in the arts with opportunities to enhance their skills.
He highlighted the Dance Summer Internship Programme, which was conceptualised by Dr. John Hunte, one of the curators of the International Dance Conference.
The programme gives individuals who are enrolled in tertiary institutions and dance fraternities an opportunity to increase their skills and gain knowledge from locally and internationally trained instructors.