PHILIPSBURG—On Friday, October 10, from 6:30pm – 9pm, the John Larmonie Center, on Longwall Road, Philipsburg, will be transformed into a showcase of performances reflecting various aspects of arts and culture.
This is the second year that the NIACA (National Institute of Arts Culture & Arts) Festival will be celebrated. Last year the National Institute of Arts (NIA) also held such an event to observe its launch. The school will continue with this event on an annual basis in order to consistently highlight the salient role of culture and arts in the island’s history.
“The NIACA Festival is a platform to celebrate the St. Maarten story as told by the people who live and work here as artist. The showcase celebrates both our traditional, cultural heritage, as well as the contemporary works created by the artists of now. We have selected October 10th for the NIACA Festival, as we feel that the transition to Country Status is the appropriate occasion to celebrate all things St. Maarten; our past, our present, and visions of our future. In addition, we at NIA see this as a time to honor the creative works of those who have paved the way so that NIA could be here today,” Co-director, Clara Reyes said.
“The whole of the John Larmonie Center will be converted, from the multi-purpose room to the parking lot, into four performance spaces. We will feature children musical theatre, broadway medleys, children’s art of laughter, choreo-poetry, vocal ensembles, jazz, modern, reflective of work put in by both the directors and the various teachers including Loes Nauta, Clifford Henry, Albina Matuzko, Peggy Oulerich, Eolia Ada. There will also be a repeat performance of Anansi and the Great Salt Pond written by Iris Hakkens and adapted to the stage by Reyes. Arias 5, which is the vocal group of Helen Hart, will also be guest performers,” Co-director, Arlene Halley said.’
In addition to featuring the various types of arts and culture the institute has also decided to honor some eight individuals for their commitment to and impact in these genres. Awards will be given in three different categories, namely; Griot, Vanguard and Emerging Artist.
“The Griot Award honors our elder heads, those who have persistently engaged in and shared knowledge of their particular artistic and cultural fields. The four persons in this category are Evelyn Roberts, Cynric Griffith, Harold Jack and Ann Meyers. The Vanguard Award is reflective of those who in their adulthood and who have also consistently been busy with culture and arts on the island. In this category the honorees are Jules Carty and Cynthia Roberts. The final category is dedicated to youngsters who display a consistent dedication to their art form or cultural expression and who show potential for even greater things in the years to come. Chantal Richardson and Akeem Adams have been chosen as this year’s honorees in this category,” the Co-directors explained.
Reyes further clarified that each year new people will be selected to each category based on their contributions to culture and arts on St. Maarten or St. Martin.
“Culture and Arts do not stop at the border and in these aspects we are truly one. This is why it is important that we honor those who help to remind us of who we were, who we are and who we are becoming as a collective. Our eight individuals chosen for this year do exactly that,” the Co-directors said.