Wednesday, 19 February 2014

WYKEHAM McNEILL: 'Arts in the Park among projects aimed at pushing the culture forward

ON THE JOB: "We are presently marketing Kingston as the cultural capital of the Caribbean."

From all indications, Jamaica's tourism and entertainment ministry is firing on all cylinders, with renewed energy and a focus on taking the culture and indeed Brand Jamaica to new heights at a time when bright, people-centric endeavours are desperately needed as a corrective to the doom and the gloom. 

Hence the ongoing promotion of exciting and lively initiatives like Arts in the Park, which Tourism Minister Wykeham McNeill (ever pushing a progressive agenda!) believes couldn't have come at a better time. "It's part of our mission of pushing our culture forward in general. The more that we do events like this the better. It's such a warm environment and atmosphere, and I feel people will come more and more," he tells TALLAWAH at Devon House during a tour of latest instalment of Arts in the Park on Sunday. "It's simply fabulous. We said we were going to walk through, and it's taking us hours to go through because everything is just so interesting." 

What, or rather who, continues to sustain local culture are the creative artists and artisans, most of whom readily welcome the opportunity to take part in such events. The talent, McNeill insists, is the thing. "Part of what we have to do is figure out how we are going to get this talent, this artwork to interface more with Jamaicans and with our visitors alike because it's tremendous potential." 

And in terms of getting the other parishes involved, McNeill says time is the master. "It's a process we have started. We are presently marketing Kingston as the cultural capital of the Caribbean. There are different things that we want to focus on in different areas, but for Jamaicans we definitely want to bring this around the island, probably starting in MoBay and then other areas," the minister explains. "But it's all a process now. It comes with a cost, and we're just taking it one step at a time."

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