Many consider the number six to be a symbol of completeness while from a mathematical perspective, Pythagoreans may consider the number to be perfect.
The idea of the number six being wholesome and being considered perfect may be among the reasons that Kingston Creative has celebrated their sixth year of existence highlighting its impact on the creative space in Jamaica with sponsorship and support from its first 50 donors.
Kingston Creative, a nonprofit arts organisation, was co-founded by a team of three who believe in using art and culture to achieve social and economic transformation. Their aim is for the city of Kingston “to leverage its creative heritage, its world-class talent and reach its potential to become a creative city”, not just in name or by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) designation, but for it to become a reality for Kingstonians. The Kingston Creative vision is to see a safe and vibrant Art District in downtown Kingston as well as a Creative Hub that develops and trains people.
Without the assistance of donors and other contributors, the organisation would not have been able to highlight its six biggest wins to date. The idea of perfection might be a result of the synchronicity among all the players involved to achieve and surpass the goals they set out to meet.
SIX WINS IN SIX YEARS
On Tuesday (February 28), on its sixth anniversary, Kingston Creative’s executive director, Andrea Dempster-Chung, highlighted six of the big achievements the non-profit arts group has attained over the years which aligns with the visions of the non-profit organisation.
Dempster-Chung, who was speaking at the Kingston Creative sixth anniversary press conference, highlighted ‘six wins in six years’ after the announcement recognition of the first 50 donors of the Creative City.
She spoke of the financial impact, hosting of cultural events, changing the perception of downtown Kingston, creating space for artists to flourish, training and development impact, and a positive technological impact.
Dempster-Chung celebrated the fact that Kingston Creative had surpassed a target of raising J$1 million from each of the first 50 investors. “The target at the launch of the first 50 campaign was to raise $1 million dollars from 50 investors and Kingston Creative exceeded the $50 million. As at December 2022, the amount received was $187 million dollars in cash. There is about double that amount estimated in kind or directly granted to creatives,” she said.
For the cultural events, Dempster-Chung said, “in 2018, Kingston Creative launched a cultural weekend, which is a series of regular monthly downtown art events that activate the space. The events include a meetup on the designated Friday, music, art, and culinary tours on the Saturday, and the Artwalk on Sunday. These events have grown from strength to strength pandemic notwithstanding,” she said.
“These events are essential to the success of everything we do with free public art events. They are accessible to all. It reinforces the importance and value in the arts, but they also activate the space, they reduce stigma,” she stressed. “People are starting to come bringing their children and their grandmothers. It positions downtown as the place to be, an area that we like to say is ‘alive after five’,” she continued.
Dempster-Chung said that downtown Kingston is “now a bonafide tourism destination” and Water Lane, in particular, “has been launched as a go-to street art destination for locals and tourists alike.” She said that the Art Walk has an added economic stimulus value and “is not just pretty”.
“Creatives use this space in order to curate higher value creative products. The way that downtown is perceived is changing and these murals are not only in the central business district of Water Lane, but they have also been replicated in communities like Tivoli, Rae Town, Hannah Town, Almond Town, Trench Town, and Beat Street. So, art plus activation events plus inclusion of community members, and community businesses and residents is working to shift the perception of downtown,” she emphasised.
Dempster-Chung also spoke about the creation of spaces for artists to excel. This, she shared, has come in the form of the co-working space located at F&B Downtown in Kingston. She highlighted that artistes like Sevana have used the space to record her NPR Tiny Desk concert and also Odessa Chambers who records her podcast. She said, “local creatives use the space to excel”.
On the technological side, Kingston Creative recently launched the Kulcha Connect app which uses technology to amplify natural culture and creativity. She said the app provides a searchable map so that people may find all the hidden spots in downtown Kingston. “You can also book your tours, and it also has ecommerce functionality,” she shared. “There is also an ecommerce website, www.kulchaconnect.com. The app is a huge win for Jamaican creatives and the ecommerce platform is going to deliver much needed visibility, market access and sales,” she continued.
Dempster-Chung emphasised that the work executed and the achievements gained this far would not have been possible without the help of the first 50 donors who signed on to support the non-profit in its early stages of planning.
The sixth year celebrations pointed to the fulfilment of Kingston Creative’s primary vision which is to continuously develop the downtown Kingston Art District where the arts are celebrated and perceptions are changed.
Celebrating the number six possibly is perhaps all in perfect timing for the Kingston Creative team.
Send feedback to [email protected]