ART is a Lifestyle: Caribbean InTransit Festivals
Caribbean InTransit is producing and partnering with significant and high impact entities in creating access to a chain of arts festivals. Caribbean InTransit is an arts for social transformation non-profit registered in Virginia and Trinidad & Tobago. We curate cultural experiences and opportunities for our members, develop change-makers through our workshops; preserve and interrogate history and culture; connect the Caribbean and make the arts viable through arts tourism . “Art is a Lifestyle” is Caribbean InTransit’s belief, a lifestyle that promotes the public health of nations, fosters creativity, research and entrepreneurship, generating life skills and employment. That is why we are developing these festivals: to create increased access to artistic engagement toward socio-economic development for a global Caribbean.
Our Diaspora is key to this equation. It is especially through our young Diaspora that the Caribbean will succeed in addressing issues of brain drain enforcing instead, a circulation of the plethora of insights, skills and expertise in what Caribbean cultural economist Keith Nurse might describe as brain circulation. We might describe this generation as socially conscious, tapping into an information economy especially through Internet technologies heavily dependent on the visual. Our interactions are networked in unimaginable ways through social media interfaces, spreading our messages sometimes beyond what we would expect and in some cases less than desirable ways. Nonetheless and because of this new phase, the Caribbean youth of the Diaspora have followed in the footsteps of the baby boomer generation making marks and blazing trails for a global Caribbean. We are conscious of the capacity and potential of the arts to bolster our economies as it has salaciously augmented the economies of Toronto through the Caribana festival, New York through Labor Day celebrations and through more than a dozen other spawns of Caribbean festivals. There is a return that is imminent and necessary, and it is what through the CYS platform we have recognized as cultural remittances to add to our history of financial remittances that our Diaspora contributes to home. Through Caribbean InTransit festivals, the youth Diaspora performs cultural remittance as a more effective, sophisticated, meaningful and engaged level of economic remittance. We hope you join us!
How you can get involved:
You can volunteer to work during our festivals and gain valuable experience while networking with key arts partners
Register to attend our festivals below and sign up for our newsletter.
You can request our banner to post on your Facebook page banner and a request to subscribe’ for CI newsletter on your page. In return, we will place you on our schedule to do the same and invite our partners to do so also during a specific special week for you. We will also carry your resource materials at our festivals. We also invite you to contact us with specific requests on how we may be able to support your enterprise including publication and research.
We ask you to also make updates on your social media outlets inviting followers to “like” and “follow” CI.
- We ask you for your Facebook banner for one day each month from May to October and one week during our festivals in June and October with the photo title as “your organization supports Caribbean InTransit festivals”
- Please tweets & re-tweet for us.
- Please attend our events and live tweet and create Facebook posts during CIT festivals
- Please include of our Call to Action on your blog.
- Please Re-pin or post our pinterest board posts
Creatives of the Caribbean Concept:
In August 2013, members of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB, or the Bank), Caribbean In-Transit (CIT), and the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage (SCFCH) met with the objective of determining how it could collaborate on a showcase of Caribbean Creativity via an Artwork Exhibit. During the session, the group noted that in order to produce a platform of suitable scale and visibility to display artwork, and to generate a fulsome discussion on the impact of the creative and cultural economy in the Caribbean, a longer period and diversity of events would be warranted. Within this context, the concept of “Creatives of the Caribbean Arts Festival” was born.
Therefore, the IDB, in collaboration with Caribbean InTransit, the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, the Duke Ellington School of the Arts, and the Cultural Academy for Excellence (CAFÉ), will host the Creatives of the Caribbean Arts Festival during the Caribbean-American Heritage Month.
This Arts Festival proposes to feature: (i) a two-month long exhibition from June 2 to July 31, showcasing Caribbean art pieces. Also within this period, the following events are proposed: (ii) a musical/dance concert on June 19, including performances from the Cultural Academy for Excellence; the Duke Ellington School of the Arts; and the Queen of Soca, Ms. Alison Hinds; and (iii) a morning seminar on June 20, featuring: (a) a keynote address from the Executive Director and UWI Consulting & WTO Chair of the University of the West Indies, Dr. Keith Nurse; (b) panel discussions on fostering a commercially viable Caribbean Creative Economy; and (c) the launch of IDB Cultural Center book: “The Orange Economy: An Infinite Opportunity”. and the launch of issue 4 of Caribbean InTransit’s journal “Cutting Edges: New Media & Creative Entrepreneurship”, guest edited by Dr. Keith Nurse and Alanna Lockward.
History of Caribbean-American Heritage Month:
Efforts to institute a National Caribbean American Heritage Month began in 1999 with a Letter to President Bill Clinton asking for the recognition of August as National Caribbean American Heritage Month. In June 2000, the Institute for Caribbean Studies (ICS) changed the name to National Caribbean American Heritage Month and began organizing events under that banner. Since then, TransAfrica Forum and the Caribbean Staff Association of the World Bank also began to organize events during June, promoting recognition, and the momentum slowly began to build. In 2004, the efforts gathered steam and an Official Campaign for June as National Caribbean American Heritage Month was launched upon the tabling of a Bill in the US Congress by Congresswoman Barbara Lee. The Bill was reintroduced and passed the House in June, 2005, and the Senate in February, 2006. A Proclamation making the Resolution official was signed by President George Bush on June 5, 2006. This year marks the 9th anniversary of Caribbean-American Heritage Month.
The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) is the main source of multilateral financing for economic, social, and institutional development in Latin America and the Caribbean. It provides loans, grants, guarantees, policy advice, and technical assistance to the public and private sectors of its borrowing member countries. Four IDB Departments will be engaged in the Creatives of the Caribbean Festival: The Caribbean Country Department (CCB); The Cultural, Solidarity and Creativity Affairs Division (EXR/CSO); the Human Resources Department (HRD); and the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF).
Caribbean InTransit is a non-profit institution based in Virginia and Trinidad & Tobago. The organization, led by Ms. Marielle Barrow, is comprised of a community of scholars, cultural producers, students, entrepreneurs, activists, policy makers and businesses that cultivate a union between entrepreneurship and artistry. As a site of learning, Caribbean InTransit’s programming includes a bi-annual, open access, peer-reviewed journal, a newsletter, a Google talk series, a roving arts festival and an Arts workshop series targeting at-risk youth, and persons living with HIV/Aids. Their rigorous academic Arts Journal is currently affiliated with the African and African American Studies Department of George Mason University. The enterprise functions as a platform to create and sustain conversations that are important to the forward movement of the Caribbean and the Diaspora.
The Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage is a research and educational unit of the Smithsonian Institution promoting the understanding and continuity of diverse, contemporary grassroots cultures in the United States and around the world. The Center also produces major national cultural events consistent with its mission.
The Cultural Academy for Excellence (“CAFE”), a 17 year-old, award-winning, music-based academic and life-skills enrichment program, was started in 1996 as an enticement for youth to stay in school, stay out of trouble and perform well academically. Research revealed the history of Caribbean cultures successfully implementing early intervention for at-risk teens by blending the therapeutic aspect of percussion and the aesthetic lure of the melodic SteelPan. Over the years, CAFE has provided more than 500 youths and 100 adults with culturally-based enrichment activities facilitated by professional musicians and teachers. On Saturdays, CAFE offers Academic Tutoring and Music classes, using the SteelPan (of ‘pan’) as the primary instrument, as well as Visual Arts and Chess. The curriculum incorporates the Maryland State Department of Education’s standards for music instruction as set forth in Essential Learner Outcomes for Fine Arts. In addition to Academic and Music classes, CAFE sponsors one of the only “After-school” Mock Trial teams in Prince Georges County and offer opportunities for debate competitions, and MathCounts competitions.