Step inside the Jamaica Conference Centre (JCC) and you will find yourself in a captivating world of art encompassed within art. This summer, the walls and halls of the island’s premier conference venue, provide the perfect backdrop for the Jamaica Visual Arts Exhibition organised by the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC).
Over 280 award-winning pieces, from the annual visual arts competition presently embellish the Centre, telling the tale of a people who are imaginative and artistically dexterous. The creative works featured are produced by youth 6-18 years old and adults aged 19 and over. They span the categories of painting, photography, sculpture and assemblage, works on paper, ceramics, fiber art, as well as video art. With entries received in January and judging carried out in February, the competition peaks with the award of prizes and the exhibition kickoff in May.
The competition, now in its 54th year, was designed to “unearth and develop the artistic talent of the Jamaican people. The platform gives you that start so you can go on to develop into a professional artist,” says Sana Rose-Savage, Visual Arts Development Specialist at JCDC.
A mark of its success over the years is its yield of artistic luminaries such as Howard Moo Young, Donnette Zacca, Maria LaYacona, Alexander Cooper O.D., Ralph Campbell, and the recently deceased Dr. David Boxer, O.J., who were all participants in the competition in earlier years.
According to Rose-Savage, the UDC came on board about 2009 providing space for processing entries at a minimal cost. Since that time “we have been able to have our operations properly set up, we can judge, and process entries and that relationship has now extended to Jamaica Conference Centre.
We were really looking for a home [for the exhibition] and I think we found it,” says a delighted Rose-Savage.
This year’s staging of the exhibition is benefitting from an expanded display area. “We started off in 2013 utilizing one area – the Gallery – to display the artworks. As time passed by we realized that we needed more space,” Frank McKoy, JCC Manager shares. “There was need to adorn the walls of the Centre with all of this art that we had concentrated in one location. So this year we decided to expand the show and we started from the main entrance and we carried it straight through the Centre,” he further explains.
To date, the showcase has been a source of intrigue for daily visitors to the Conference Centre. “We believe it’s a real beautiful fit. People are excited about the art, I think they love it. A few pieces are thought provoking, but generally, people love the art,” says McKoy.
The UDC’s involvement in the growth of the visual arts reinforces its commitment to holistic development in Jamaica. With infrastructural development as a core part of its mandate, the Corporation also seeks to ensure that economic, social, cultural and environmental sustainability are achieved, as it improves the quality of life for Jamaicans.
The exhibition can be accessed Mondays to Fridays 9-5 p.m. until July 7, 2017. Some of the works are available for sale and patrons may contact the JCDC at 926- 5726-9 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and to complete such purchases.
“It really is a beautiful show and I would encourage everyone to come down and enjoy it,” invites McKoy.
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June 23, 2017