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Historic first for The Bahamas: Venice Arts Festival
By Elcott Coleby, Bahamas Information Services
Feb 1, 2013 - 3:02:06 PM

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Ministry of Education, Science and Technology officials along with officers of the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture, and students of the Sadie Curtis Primary School at the January 30 press conference. (BIS Photo / Derek Smith)

NASSAU, The Bahamas -- Bahamians will participate for the first time in the Venice Art Festival, now in its 55
th year of existence, announced Director of Education in the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology,  Lionel Sands, January 30.

He said 40 students from the Sadie Curtis Primary School along with world acclaimed artist, Tavares Strachan, will participate in the Festival in Venice, Italy, from February 6-10, Mr. Sands said. The director thanked all who made the trip possible, in particular the organisers of the festival, Mr. Strachan, and the Ministry of Tourism, and Youth, Sports and Culture.”

"This event is a first in many respects for the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology and for The Bahamas as a nation," said Mr. Sands. "This is the first time that The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism has been invited to have a pavilion at this 55-year-old festival, to showcase the beauty and hospitality of our islands to millions of attendees."

He  noted too that this is the first time a Bahamian artist and his work have been featured at this festival, and the first time that Bahamian students will appear, their voices providing the backdrop for Mr. Strachan’s work during the event.

"With all these firsts, one can come to the conclusion that this is historic,” said the director.

"We in the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology are delighted that our students will have this opportunity to represent The Bahamas and show the world the talent and poise which they possess, said Mr. Sands.

The director said  that one of the most effective methodologies teachers employ in the classroom is integrated teaching, adding that the assignment that the students will embark on is all about integrated teaching and learning, because the project will expose them to Geography, as they travel thousands of miles to another country.”

“They will draw on Social Studies as they learn about different people and cultures. The students’ musical abilities and multiculturalism will be highlighted as they, Bahamian children, sing an Alaskan Indian song in a European city. Their vocational skills will be tested as they work with Mr. Christopher Hoover, producer, to produce the video for the festival. The experience gained will impact other subject areas, Language Arts and Math, just to name a few," he said.

Mr. Sands said he is pleased, knowing that Mr. Strachan, who has achieved tremendous fame on the international art scene, got his early start dabbling with paints and clay at the Wilton Albury – now Albury Sayles Primary School, the H.O. Nash Junior High School and the College of The Bahamas, before he went on to schools in the United States.

His success is affirmation, Mr. Sands said, that with education you can make it anywhere in the world.

“We are proud of Tavares, who proudly proclaims who he is by highlighting the aquamarine, gold and black of our flag on his Facebook banner. From what I have read about this artist; his work is phenomenal, particularly the piece titled “The Distance Between, What We Have and What We Want.” It calls for a lot of imagination and interpretation to grasp the simplistic message that the artist is trying to convey. Your goals are always in reach if you pursue them.”

I wish to say on behalf of the Hon. Jerome Fitzgerald, Minister of Education Science and Technology how pleased he is at this opportunity presented to our students and teachers and know that they will benefit greatly from their experience. We also know that they will be excellent ambassadors for our country.

Mr. Eddison Dames, Deputy Director of Culture in the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture said Mr. Strachan is a different type of artist he “dabbles into the unknown.”

Mr. Dames termed the Venice festival as the Grammys of Art.

Zurial Carey, a student who will be travelling to Venice, said he looks forward to the trip especially since he doesn’t know if he will ever have the opportunity again.”


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