National Festival of Arts Opens in Belize City Print E-mail
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Written by Shane D. Williams   
Thursday, 31 May 2012 00:00

Benque Artists strut their stuffYoung artists from across the country were ready to parade through the streets of Belize City on Tuesday, May 29, to signal the opening of the National Festival of Arts. Unfortunately, the weather did not cooperate and the parade was canceled. However, that did not dampen the spirit of showmanship in those talented youths. They turned the House of Culture compound into a carnival arena.

The National Festival of Arts is now an annual showcase that features the pre, primary and secondary school performers of the year from the district festivals. There are two categories of performers. The junior category includes artists between the ages of five and thirteen years old; while the senior category includes those that are fourteen years of age and older. The senior category is also opened to artists not enrolled in school. The junior performers took the stage at the Bliss Center for the Performing Arts at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, May 30. They had the privilege of being the first to perform on the renovated stage inside the Bliss. Their songs, dances and recitals were extremely well-performed. The seniors will perform at 6 p.m. on Friday night. Entrance for children is $2 and for adults it is $5.

The festival was declared opened by Diane Haylock, President of the National Institute of Culture and History, at the House of Culture. Haylock once again restated her position that there needs to be a greater focus on arts and craft in Belize’s education system. She says that the rebel in her would encourage students to protest if their school does not feature an arts and craft program. Leroy Green, National Coordinator for the Festival of Arts in the Ministry of Education, said that the Ministry has a team that travels across the country training teachers how to teach arts and craft lessons. He hopes that the initiative leads to a change in the national curriculum. Tracy Panton, Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, called the artists “Ambassadors of Belizean Culture”. She said, “No country can live if its children are not able to freely and creatively express themselves.” Panton stressed the importance of showcasing our cultural diversity and establishing an identity. She said, “The talent and passion we will see over the next few days really is a testament of our country’s maturity and to our own acceptance and appreciation of our cultural diversity.”

Last Updated on Thursday, 31 May 2012 17:04