Kevon Foderingham

MAKING CONNECTIONS: Art activist Kevon Foderingham, 3rd from right, poses with fellow IVLP alumni from Hong Kong, Mexico, Ethiopia, Taiwan and South Sudan during his visit to Louisville Kentucky last year.

Artists from this country and the United States are set to collaborate in a virtual cultural exchange entitled: For Common Good. For Common Good founder Kevon Foderingham said, the major aim of the programme is to establish Arima as a global cultural capital.

Billed as the Arima x Louisville Exchange, the online tuition free project is being held in collaboration with the World Affairs Council of Kentucky & Southern Indiana and has been made possible via a grant from the US Embassy, Port of Spain.

“This online, tuition free programme will build the arts for social change technical skills and provide cultural diplomacy opportunities for 60 Arima and East Trinidad based educators, media practitioners, writers, poets, visual artists, cultural practitioners, historians, local government officials and policy makers interested in using arts to effect change,” Foderingham said.

For Common Good embraces the pivotal role of the arts and culture in shaping the quality of intercultural relations. He says the initiative creates a unique platform for artists, audiences, and other stakeholders in the sector to strengthen the overall impact of their own arts for social change programming, the well-known arts activist said.

The platform will roll out with three programmes: For Common Good —Arima x Louisville Exchange; For Common Good—Youth Arts Enrichment Programme; and For Common Good—Arima Cultural Exchange Board, Foderingham said.

“What you can expect is a platform that offers physical and virtual cross-cultural exchanges, fosters collaboration and creative sector capacity building as well as the promotion of projects from around the globe that utilise the arts to promote social change,” Foderingham said.

Inspired to do more for the arts

Foderingham, executive director of Caribbean Fashion and Arts Feature Festival (CFAFF), says he was inspired to create wider platforms for artists in T&T after touring the US in 2019, as a participant of the US State Department’s International Visitor Leadership Programme (IVLP).

The exchange programme, which featured artists from around the world, was designed to increase professional knowledge and develop leadership skills. The 2019 IVLP’s focus was: “Promoting Social Change through the Arts”. It took Foderingham and 17 other arts for social change advocates from around the globe, to four US states, over 21 days, to meet with American arts for social change practitioners.

“One of many valuable impressions I had was the work of Louisville’s change-makers: specifically, their use of the arts to address social issues at a

community level. Upon returning from the IVLP I was more resolved in my belief in the crucial role of cultural diplomacy and the power of the arts to promote social change, and as such, CFAFF has most recently streamlined its efforts to meet this mission, with its programmes rebranded under the banner, For Common Good,” he said.

Louisville, Kentucky, USA-based artists, artivists, art educators, cultural practitioners, teachers, freelancers and creative entrepreneurs will also facilitate sessions in the following: Writing for Culture—(Documenting Oral History, Community Journalism, Self Publishing); Inclusive Arts Education—(Visual Arts and Special Needs Education in Children, Empowering Adults with Special Needs through Visual Art); and Community Arts Engagement—(Creative Placemaking, Community Engagement through the Arts, Executing Public Art Projects.

“Training will culminate in a community based project in Arima and the creation of an online learning and exchange portal. The self funded, Youth Arts Enrichment Program, will provide an holistic online platform for creative capacity building in 100 youth across Trinidad and Tobago, by using an integrated visual and performing arts education and social impact programme geared to improve participants’ capacity for leadership, self sustainability, social advocacy and ability to build linkages with the wider world,” he said.

Registration for the Arima x Louisville Exchange and the Youth Arts Enrichment Program are now open. Visit www.caribbeanfaff.com/arima-louisville and www.caribbeanfaff.com/yaep

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