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Edna Manley College Celebrates 40 and Calls for Greater Support of the Arts
Dennis Scott’s Dog provided a dramatic official start to The Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts' 40th anniversary celebrations in the student theatre named after the iconic playwright. During her address, the college’s new chair, Melanie Subratie took the time to call for the greater, multi-layered support for the sector.
“Let’s not focus on the sciences and forget the arts,” Subratie said. She called for support on multiple levels. Subratie argued that not only should local galleries reflect the diversity and wealth of art being produced locally, but this art also be reflected in retail and commercial spaces in order to widen the reach beyond people who identify themselves as art lovers and visit galleries.
According to Subratie ambassadors and politicians also have an important role in showcasing the nation’s artistic products by incorporating them in the music used at events, the decor in embassies and even their clothing when addressing international audiences.
Of course, she soon realized that she too had failed on that score. “I should have been wearing a local designer,” she said, going on to challenge a local designer to dress her next year.
Nicholene Degrasse, Principal of the Edna Manley noted that the college had emerged from the multiple attempts to strengthen Jamaican cultural institutions which coalesced in 1976 and led to the merger of the existing institutions teaching drama, art, and dance into a single college.
Degrasse argued that the Edna Manley College remained important to the region as the only such institution of its kind in the English Speaking Caribbean.
The celebrations will continue through to June 2017 with a calendar boasting just under 40 events. These include 'B3: Music of Bob, Bacharach and the Beatles' which will swell the Vera Moody Hall with the talents of the School of Music faculty (Sunday, November 6, 2016). Faculty members of the School of Drama will also get their chance to showcase their skills at '7x11' (March 11 - 19, 2017 at the Dennis Scott Studio Theatre). Other signature events include the Physical Labrish conference and artist talk (February 14, and 24-26, 2017) as well as the School of Visual Arts Final Year Show ‘Disambiguation’ June 3 - 24, 2016.