The Arts Café Roof Top Lounge, located in downtown Castries, recently opened its doors to realise the vision for artists to come together, work together and promote Saint Lucian artists, while also getting them promoted internationally.
“It is an effort to push our Saint Lucian artists,” said Cherie Alcee, founder of the project whose mission it is to ‘actively promote the understanding and appreciation of contemporary art and culture worldwide by providing easily accessible information to affiliates’.
Alcee, (also known as the artist Touché), is also the Project Director of the Arts Café. She is now enjoying the manifestation of her vision, after arduously pursuing her inborn passions and having partnered with local cross-over rap, hiphop, reggae, R & B and dancehall artiste Jabba.
The Arts Café is a non-profit creative arts project, now exclusively sponsored by Appleton Estate Jamaica Rum.
“We provide a venue for local artists and art lovers to come in, relax and enjoy our performances, take in what our Saint Lucian artists have to offer. Saint Lucia has a lot of talent; we didn’t have a venue, nor a place to call our own as artists, so I decided to open up the Arts Café, making it possible for artists to actually come together, unite and start working together and make stuff happen. If we don’t do it, no one is going to do it for us,” Alcee boldly told the STAR.
“The whole project began last year November from scratch. We had to get the building and actually construct everything, design it to suit our taste, to make it more welcoming and sophisticated as well. We designed it for art lovers and for people to come in and enjoy our culinary arts as well, the food and mixology (cocktails). There are performances and exhibitions by various artistes and visual arts. We welcome all art forms, we stage poetry, theatre arts and music.”
The STAR was curious to discover why the young thirty-five-year-old selected Castries as the location for the Arts Café, as opposed to some place in the northern part of the island, where most people gravitate for entertainment. Alcee explained, “Castries is our city and we need to make sure we make it stand out! Now, we don’t have anything in the city, we have nothing going on, so as a tourist comes in, they can now see something in the city. We have natural resources, human resources (our people), so the Arts Café brings this together to offer it as a tourist product.”
Cherie explained that the lounge area itself has the capacity to accommodate up to 60 people comfortably, whereas the Roof Top Lounge area can hold more.
The recruitment process for performing artistes involves them auditioning, or for visual artists, that they present their pieces for review. These performances and artwork are then critiqued and rehearsals are offered for upcoming events should the artistes or artists be selected.
Enriching lives through creativity! The Appleton Arts Café aims to offer creativity through its food and drink menu, coupled with fine arts, while enjoying a premiere quality show. It is currently developing its calendar of activities, one of which was the Pomme Damou Poetry Slam hosted by Kensley Peter Charlemagne, which took place on the evening of Thursday 3rd December. And there is lots more to come in the coming weeks and months.
For young, talented and promising Saint Lucian creatives, the future has now begun to look bright. With the Arts Café proudly standing in Castries, distinctly and stately perched at the Aquarius crossing, local talent can look forward to sharing, showcasing and enjoying years of creative brilliance to come. From musical talent to theatre, poetry and literary arts finally, everything creative and Saint Lucian has a permanent place to call home!