Antigua, St John's - Instructor within the Art and Design department at the Antigua State College Mark Browne wants to see more artists exhibit their work, and a greater appreciation for art in general.
He spoke with Caribarena.com ahead of a planned trip with his students to the US to give them a wider view of the possibilities art can yield.
"Sadly, it’s not only in Antigua, but other Caribbean countries as well that it has been observed that art is not high on the list of things that are important," Browne said.
"At times, students would come to me with concerns that it is the view of even their family members and friends that what they are doing is not important. It has been my experience that people don’t look at art as important as they would see the other academic subjects. Some view artists as not intelligent people, and that you are limited in what you can do when you are an artist."
The trip is designed not only to boost the students' self esteem, but to allow them to engage with some of the art that makes up the history books and mingle with the throngs who come to view such art out of deep appreciation.
“It will add a lot of value to their perception of what they are doing," he explained.
The group will be in New York from March 29 to April 8 to visit a number of museums and showings, including the Brooklyn Museum and the Chelsea Art Museum.
The trip initially targeted 20 students, but had to be downgraded to eight due to insufficient funds.
Browne said the students are still doing fundraising, which includes a dance and takeaway lunch, as the response from the corporate community has been insufficient. He noted that the college has very been supportive, along with a number of individuals.
Studio One, a small art gallery established at the college, has been promoting the students' work through exhibitions. The gallery is also open to the public and other artists. “We use the gallery as a tool for them to learn how to set up an exhibition - to hang their own work and have their own show," Browne said.
He is very happy with the response to his classes, which started out with eight students and has since doubled.
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