The Belize City Street Art Festival is an event now marked on the calendars of students and masters of various art forms. According to Karen Vernon of the Institute of Creative Arts, the festival was created to build a national forum for artists to enable them to showcase their talent and products on a national arena.
The sixth annual Street Art Festival was held on Albert Street in Belize City on Saturday, February 27. Judging from various reviews, it was another huge success. A steady flow of Belizeans and foreigners made their way out to enjoy the entertainment and view the art pieces on display. Albert Street was blocked off from the Belize Bank to the Bank of Nova Scotia. Tents were set up across the stretch featuring the works of various artists. There were a wide range of art works including: jewelry, painting, sculptures, fashion, tattoos and a food court. The Child Advisory Board of the Belize City Council, made up of young students, provided over a thousand kites for kids. The children were also able to get their faces painted and participated in games throughout the afternoon.
Two stages were set up on Albert Street, one next to the Belize Bank and the other in front of Scotia Bank. The stage next to the Belize Bank catered for a mature audience, while the stage in front of Scotia Bank was more appealing to youth. There were presentations of song, dance, skits, poems and combination pieces. Between the two stages were the various art booths and tents under which two different steel bands were set up. The steel pan music set a relaxing atmosphere for visitors to view the pieces available. When the steel bands were on break, the stages hosted dance groups like the Belize Dance Company, New Generation and others. The final performance on the youth stage was drama depicting the many challenges and influence facing young people in society today. The play touched on poverty, teenage pregnancy, the appeal of criminal gang, truancy, youth violence and love and family relations. The performers were incredible and kudos go out to Joseph “Stamp” Romero who directed the piece. The message was powerful and the deliverance was top notch. The final performance on the stage next to Belize Bank was a reunion for some of the biggest Garifuna artist, Mimey Martinez, “Tittyman” Flores and Mohobob. These three generals closed the show in a fitting way, with people from all walks of life dancing in the streets together.
There were two street painting sections, one in front of Cellular World on Albert Street and one on the walkway between Belize Bank and the Battlefield Park. The most memorable art display; however, was a man immortalized as a pirate statue. This “Pirate of the Caribbean” held bottles of his favourite drinks in his hands as visitors posed next to him for pictures. It was a brilliant marketing exercise by one of the local rum producers as their product was all over social media after Saturday’s event.
Each year the Street Art Festival gets bigger and this year was no exception. Next year’s event is scheduled for the last Saturday in February.