Cultural Outreach Program Begins in St. Kitts – Nevis

Caribbean Art & Culture

Caribbean Art & Culture
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Basseterre, Saint Kitts – Nevis
June 04, 2008 (SKNIS)

Residents of St. Paul’s were the first to benefit from a community outreach programme initiated by the Department of Culture.

“In evaluating our programme of activities, we found out that we were not reaching a [desired] cross section of the community,” Director of Culture Creighton Pencheon explained on this week’s edition of the radio magazine Perspectives. “There was a need for us to extend some of our programmes beyond the normal working hours and [branch out more] in the field in order to reach more people. We are hoping that in so doing we will serve to inspire young people to harness the skills of the performing arts.”

He added that this was a good way to decentralize activities from the capital, Basseterre, and give rural children an opportunity to see and learn from the veteran performers.

During the interview with SKNIS, Mr. Pencheon explained that dancers and drummers from the Okolo Tegremantine Arts Theater accompanied himself and staff members including Dance Specialist Lorna “˜Ava’ Henry, Drumming Specialist Royd Phipps and Music Specialist Nigel Williams to the session at the St. Paul’s Primary School. He said the young students showed a keen interest in learning the art form.

“It was quite a success. We had a nice interactive session,” he stated.  “The dancers took the students through various dance routines and they had a wonderful time.”

Each student was also given a piece of African craft to take home. The craft pieces were presented by Dr. Ken Ballantyne ““ who is well known for his poetry skills. In addition to reading some of his work, Dr. Ballantyne delivered a brief history on the animal and African pieces he took to the outreach session last Friday.

Director Pencheon noted that his Department will also use the community sessions to build the database of cultural groups as well as to unearth new talent. He added that requests will be placed to existing groups to have them participate in upcoming events.

The next community outreach event will take place in Cayon. The organizers are considering using existing open air structures such as a basketball court as the venue in order to capture the community spirit.

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