National Arts Festival Now Online with 400 Entries

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With some 400 entries, and 800 participants over 10 islands, the 2021 Digital E. Clement Bethel National Arts Festival adjudications began this week, and entries from around The Bahamas are currently being featured on the Festival’s Facebook Page. Sr Cultural Affairs Officer with responsibility for the Festival and Organizing Secretary Sonovia Pierre said that the teachers had been “very excited” about the Festival, and the opportunity it affords their students and community to express their artistic talents, despite the current situation.

“On behalf of the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture — and by extension the Division of Cultural Affairs — we extend congratulations to those persons that have chosen to became entrants in this year’s Festival; and we wish them the best,” she said. “We want to also express gratitude to them for giving us a glimpse into the their world through our culture.” Although some teachers had opted not to participate this year, due to online challenges on some islands, Ms. Pierre said that the students are encouraged by getting the chance to showcase their abilities on the nationwide stage afforded them. “The Adjudicators are more than happy to adjudicate and, as always, to meet these students where they are,” she noted.

The Adjudicators this year areas follows: Art – Jodi Minnis, Drama – Jovanna Hepburn, Dance – Lawrence Carrol, Music Instrumental – Douglas Turnquest, Vocal – Adrian Archer, and Piano/ Strings – Dr. Dion Cunningham.

Ms. Pierre pointed out that the adjudications serve to uplift the students and community members who enter, and helps bring up the level of cultural performance to its highest possible.

“That is our first and most forefront thing, as well as to preserve and discover new creative ways to preserve our culture,” she said.
“There are just such new and innovative ideas, and new ways these talented children and community members have found to express themselves, and we are happy for that,” she added.

The adjudicators’ notes will also be online, on the Festival’s Facebook page. On May 17, 2021, the Festival adjudications began with Bimini and Berry Islands and Inagua entries in Arts and Crafts, Dance, Drama, and Music Vocals and Instrumentals. On May 18, Long Islanders showcased Arts and Crafts, and Drama; while, on May 19, Andros and Abaco entrants featured Arts and Crafts, Piano and Strings, Music Vocal and Instrumental, Dance and Drama. The following is the schedule for upcoming digital adjudications:

May 20th 2021
Eleuthera / Spanish Wells / Harbour Island
Arts and Crafts
Dance
Drama
Music Vocals
Music Instrumental

May 21st 2021
Exuma
Arts and Crafts

Dance
Drama
Music Vocals
Music Instrumental
Piano and Strings

May 25th to 28th 2021
New Providence
Arts and Crafts
Dance
Drama
Music Vocals
Music Instrumental
Piano and Strings

May 31st to June 3rd 2021
Grand Bahama
Arts and Crafts
Dance
Drama
Music Vocals
Music Instrumental
Piano and Strings

“With the arts, this is almost like a ray of hope — a ray of sunshine — in this time of COVID-19; and this what the E. Clement Bethel National Arts Festival has been for many of those who entered this year,” Ms. Pierre said.

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