It’s a new year and a new agenda for Popopstudios Center for the Arts.
While committed to increased exposure for the arts within the country, the Dunmore Avenue gallery, studio and educational center has decided to take a step further in exposing the public to the diversity of the arts.
Proprietor John Cox highlighted encouraging students who are interested to pursue arts-based careers among the center’s outreach goals.
“We’re trying to evolve the perception of the art industry in the country,” he said in a recent interview. “If the one thing we can do at Popopstudios in the year 2011 is encourage the parents of young people who want to go into art to not discourage them at an early age, we would have done something in the right direction.”
Pointing to what has long been an unwitting obstacle to the art industry, though times are changing, Cox said that a lot of parents who discourage their children from pursuing art are not mal-intentional.
“They do it from a genuine place of protection. They don’t want them to waste time or go into a field that’s not going to allow them to support their family or whatever, and that’s understandable, but I think we’re missing opportunities,” he said.
Popop’s intention for this year, part of a wider focus, is to show the connections between the art and design industries. The effort includes plans to host more invitational design exhibitions, such as last year’s “One Hundred Dollar Chairs”, as well as more designers as Resident Artists.
Cox also commented on the potential for integrating other careers in the arts for increased exposure and opportunities.
“We’re missing connections that we could have with a greater art industry that overlaps with the design industry; That has to do with art, with writing, with curatorship, with gallery management, with festival management and planning – all of these aspects that come together to make the fabric of a thriving art community,” he said.
Exhibitions may be fewer but more focused, said Cox, who added that there will be more educational opportunities. Popopstudios will also continue its Junior Residency Prize. The center partnered with the D’Aguilar Art Foundation to award the prize to College of The Bahamas students Khia Poitier, Steffon Grant and Jeffrey Meris in 2010. The trio opened their exhibition “Process Product” yesterday evening.
The center’s direction for 2011 and beyond is a move towards helping to build and sustain the art community of the future.
“We get good artists and then the good artists get disenchanted with being in The Bahamas so then they find themselves somewhere else with a foreign kind of sensibility, and then become resentful of The Bahamas,” said Cox of what happens in the absence of drawing connections between arts-related industries.
“I just think we need to get our eggs in a line then we can start to see some changes.”
By THEA RUTHERFORD
The Nassau Guardian