Creativity. Culture. Community. This was the new slogan revealed as the Cultural Development Foundation unveiled its new vision and new direction as part of a rebranding process. The re-launch, held on Wednesday evening at the National Cultural Center, featured a who’s who of the island’s artistic fraternity, all eager to witness the rebirth of the organization.
Following the requisite anthem and opening prayer, Executive Director of the CDF, Kennedy ‘Boots’ Samuel, kicked off the event by welcoming all those in attendance
“This evening we have come together from many sectors of our community as individuals and organizations representative of the broad spectrum of the cultural and artistic interests in St Lucia. We have come together as a gathering of St Lucians, family, and friends and we gather on behalf of the entire national community and St Lucia diaspora to give thanks to the work of the CDF for the last thirteen years. But more importantly we have gathered to participate in the evolution and necessary refashioning of the institution into a more efficient and relevant catalyst of development in this modern and ever changing environment.”
Renowned composer and St Lucian icon Charles Cadet commended the CDF and Creative Industries on their commitment to the arts and implored them to continue honouring their past as they forge ahead.
“My wishes are embodied in expectations that the CDF will see as important the need for ensuring that the St Lucian consciousness seen in things like a St Omer mural, a Derek Walcott poem, a Roderick Walcott play, or a spiritual poem by Robert Lee is emphasized in its activities. This is considered important within our approach to creativity, which while rightly embracing returns, is however sometimes silent on the standards and the uniqueness of the product which is to attract these returns in a highly competitive world.”
Through the miracle of modern technology Dame Pearlette Louisy, who was unable to attend, still managed to offer a few words via an audio visual system.
“The Cultural Development Foundation established eleven years ago this year has assessed its place in the new cultural landscape, has understood that it may very well be teetering on the brink of obsolescence and has therefore taken the bold but inevitable decision to change the brand if it is to deliver on the mandate that was originally established, which is the implementation of our national cultural policy and the advancement of the arts and culture in the St Lucian society.”
Also on hand was the Minister for the Creative Industries, Lorne Theophilus, who lauded the CDF’s bold move and pledged his office’s support. The minister informed the group that they would once again be tasked with undertaking the island’s largest cultural festival; carnival. But it was another announcement which was music to the ears of those in attendance.
“There’s another challenge that I would like you to support me in and that is a challenge I believe with a new face, a new image, new vision, new vigour, that we deserve a new home. We deserve a place where the artistic community that we represent can call home. A place that, whilst this building has served us well, we need a center for the creative arts. We need a place where CDF’s offices can be, where our artists are comfortable, our students in the various facets of the creative arts can learn and a place where we can host proper activities. And I challenge you to stand with the Ministry as we put the pressure on the powers that be to ensure that this new home is not just a dream, but becomes a reality.”
Petrus Compton, CDF Chairman, explained that a less than stellar analysis of the organization in a recent report, challenged them to “undertake a profound reengineering of CDF aimed at refocusing, repositioning, and rebranding for the work of awakening and propelling the creative spirit of the nation.”
Compton added, “We began by redesigning our leadership team and strengthening our capacity to manage the programs. We now have in place a robust staff structure and a talented, passionate, and very committed team at all levels of the organization. We sought to identify the principles and values which ought to guide the programming of the foundation and the way that this work is carried out. Under the guidance of Yves Renard, we have now completed a new programming strategy guided by the principles and values we have agreed and based upon four well thought out strategic outcomes and a two year program of work. Finally, mindful that we are responsible for managing public funds, the taxpayers money, we are in the process of instituting a robust business management system to ensure financial accountability and smooth business transactions.”
Amid the various speeches and congratulatory messages there was a contemporary dance piece by Germaine Alexander from the Miracle Dance Company, an appearance by up and coming young artist Jallim Eudovic, music from the Trio Band, and a special musical treat from Ronald ‘Boo’ Hinkson who performed a stirring rendition of a Charles Cadet classic.
The event was hosted by June King-Frederick