Ask yourself, why is art important

Art offers many developmental benefits, to the young and old, and in between, giving people a space to represent what they think, and feel, what’s important to them and what’s on their mind, it is a valuable tool of global expression, ideas, thoughts, event before verbalized.

Art promotes ethics, AND esthetics.

With all its splendor, it is mostly absent on the island, except at Aruba’s Academia di Bellas Artes, Atelier ’89.

My colorful friend, Elvis Lopez, the curator of Atelier 89, was invited with the members of his foundation to chat with Premier Wever-Croes about the state of the art, in Aruba.

Elvis, as the director, communicated his eternal frustration with the total lack of support given to the arts, in education.

Atelier 89 is the only art school here, operating on a shoestring, for the past 16 years, soliciting its own donations from art-sponsors and patrons overseas.

The school is located in the heart of town, in a building held together by spit.

The building, a 50-year-old school, sitting on a sizeable piece of real estate, belongs to the government, yet it is not maintained by the government, so the funds the foundation invests in maintaining classrooms leak free, must be kept at a minimum for fear the building will be reclaimed, one day.

Keeping the lights on and toilets flushing, is a challenge on its own, the foundation receives no subsidy, no discount.

The academia also offers two tiny apartments for overseas artists in residence, for the use of these visitors, sharing their art with local students.

And while the budget is always in the red, Atelier 89 published an annual curriculum, hosts workshops, opens exhibitions, organizes events, and once in a blue moon managed to scrape enough funds for an international event.

Carib Link, 2019 was fantastic, and hopefully it will return, it will be a giant leap for art here, as regional artists come live and work for two weeks, concluding their internship with a public multi-tiered happening.

Elvis has been trying for years to get an endorsement, that art is important and a cultural do-or-die, with little success. And thank you loyal local partners for also joining the platform, they are a handful of believers.

The foundation asked Premier Wever-Croes, to assuage its fears about their status in the building and to reinforce the existing art infrastructure, without reinventing the wheel.

Help build on what we have. Empower those already doing the work instead of assigning exterior experts.

And incorporate art in public schools.

The Premier stated that in the new agreement, more involvement with art is expected, and that there was a plan to bring Art back to schools.

The foundation also asked to receive some official endorsement, in the way that local sports organization get acknowledged and praised for their accomplishments.

And thank you, Maria Silva, Vibration PR, for your help promoting the arts, including poetry, always pro bono.

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August 30, 2021
Rona Coster