It is the hope of director and founder of East Yard Enterprises Kevon Gareth Foderingham that the introductory Arima Arts Festival tells a story, propels social and behavioural change and reaches someone.
The festival began yesterday and continues until August 30.
East Yard Enterprises, Prince Street, Arima, was founded in 2017 and, for the past six years, has been focused on bringing arts and culture to the east, Foderingham said in a phone interview.
“We started off having a physical space called East Yard and we have transformed into a creative social enterprise that focuses on bringing creative programmes to residences of the eastern part of the country as well as offering creative strategy development services to local and regional NGOs.”
The festival began with the painting of a mural at La Horquetta North Government Primary School, Ladybird Avenue, on Thursday. That continues today. The painting is being done by two artists along with some of the school’s pupils.
On August 28, Foderingham will host a workshop called Making Networking work for you. Foderingham said the workshop aimed to highlight the importance of networking and empower its participants with the skill of “meeting people and closing the deal.”
A film night will take place that evening from 6-9 pm and will feature local and international films with a social change theme, he said.
Sip and Colour will take place on August 29 from 7 pm-9 pm and on August 30, from 7 pm-10 pm, there will be an open mic session and book readings. The events are free and open to the public.
“We are inviting people to come and spend the evening with us. It is all about networking and sharing. They get the opportunity to colour a painting and we are giving them frames.
“They get to leave with something that they can keep for a long time,” Foderingham said of the sip-and-colour event.
Unlike other festivals, Foderingham wants the work of the Arima Arts Festival to be year-round, peaking with a week of activities in August.
“Throughout the year we are going to continue with festival-branded events but with the caveat that it has to be community-based or involving the community.
“So it is us really highlighting what the community is offering in terms of arts and culture.”
He said when this is done, it would be done with the intention of giving back, monetarily, to certain community organisations possibly with an award or grant to highlight the work the organisation believes was impactful throughout the year.
“That is why we are specifying we want to do stuff within communities. Because a lot of times you would have entities, organisations and events hosting and putting on events for the community as opposed to with them.
“We want to do stuff with the community and we want to impart skills, experiences and expose them to things that would, at some point in time, maybe sooner and not later, because we are at a critical stage, guide youth in a different direction by offering them an alternative to what they would have exposed to before,” he said.
Foderingham said the organisation was working with a team of creative people who want to share their time and talent. Many of these artists are skilled in wire bending, costume design, folk arts, limbo, he added.
“The hope is that they would now work in the communities to bring back these sorts of arts and to sensitise and expose people.”
He said people and not youth because he felt like much of TT had lost the significance of its own.
“We will definitely be doing stuff in more traditional arts...,” he said.
East Yard has partnered with the Arima Borough Corporation on several projects in the past but was unable to do so for the festival as the Arima Town Hall has not yet reopened.
Foderingham said outgoing mayor Cagney Casimire supported the organisation tremendously as well as former mayor Lisa Morris-Julian.
But the organisation hopes to partner with the corporation in the future as the festival continues.
Foderingham said the festival was partially self-funded by East Yard Enterprises but also through a grant from international body Cultures of Resistance Films which is an international film organisation focusing on documentary filmmaking.
He said East Yard was given a creative activism award that came with a small cash grant and that was used to host this year’s festival.
Some of the Cultures of Resistance films will be shown at the festival’s film night.
“East Yard Enterprises and the Arima Arts Festival are open to collaboration. We believe that collaboration is the new currency and we want to work with creative people and NGOs who have ideas, where we can collaborate on events that use the arts to tell a story, impact social change or reach someone.
“That is our focus: using the arts to tell a different story,” Foderingham said.