Gov’t Pledges $1.2M to Downtown Kingston Art Hub Initiative

A report by Ainsworth Morris for the Jamaica Information Service

The Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport has committed $1.25 million to Kingston Creative – an organisation that plans to establish an art district in downtown Kingston.

State Minister, Hon. Alando Terrelonge, made the announcement at the launch of the entity’s ‘First 50 Impact Investment Campaign’ at F&B Downtown, Harbour Street, downtown Kingston on Tuesday (November 27).

The First 50 Impact Investment campaign aims to raise $50 million towards the development of the Caribbean’s first-ever dedicated art district and creative hub.

Mr. Terrelonge advised that the first J$250,000 will be provided during the current fiscal year, with the remaining $1 million dollars to come in 2019/20.

Mr. Terrelonge said Kingston Creative is being considered because of its focus on promoting art in the downtown Kingston district, which is consistent with that of the Ministry.

“In 2015, Kingston was designated a City of Music. We now want Kingston to be designated a City of Art and Culture, because we do have the talent and the expertise,” he said.

Mr. Terrelonge contended that the Ministry’s and, by extension, the Government’s commitment to the project “will bring life to downtown Kingston once more”.

He anticipates that the initiative will resonate among other stakeholders, particularly those in the private sector, whose support is also being lobbied.

This is already manifesting, as in addition to the Kingston and St. Andrew Municipal Corporation, commitments and pledges have been made by representatives of Red Stripe, the Jamaica Observer, CB Facey Foundation, F&B Downtown and PaperboyJA during the launch

“This is the message of partnership. It exemplifies what, as Jamaicans, we can all achieve when it comes down to true partnership,” he said.

Co-Founder, Kingston Creative, Andrea Dempster-Chung, said she was pleased with the support being offered by various stakeholders.

“With these first investments, we are one step closer to seeing the vision realised. We have seen tremendous support for this initiative over the past year, and we look forward to more entities coming on board in 2019,” she said.

Ms. Dempster-Chung emphasised that the engagement is “more than money”, adding that “it is a legacy conversation”.

“We have a real opportunity here to achieve social transformation and create a new reality for our talented young creatives. Together, we can leave downtown a safer more beautiful and vibrant place than we found it,” she stated.

Kingston’s Mayor, Senator Councillor Delroy Williams, said the level of interest and input that Kingston Creative’s endeavor will generate in downtown Kingston is expected to contribute significantly to the area’s redevelopment.

“In terms of the art district, I know Andrea and her group have been moving towards this international city of art, and to become a member of the global network of art districts… that would be a really great achievement. The Kingston and St. Andrew Municipal Corporation is supportive, and we believe in them and that they will do it,” he added.

Kingston Creative hosts a free monthly event that brings together artists, artisans and designers of all backgrounds every fourth Sunday, which is intended to lay the groundwork for the downtown Kingston art district and creative entrepreneurs hub.

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