Ah Fi­nally! . . . An artis­tic hub for lo­cal cre­atives

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL - By Faye-Chantelle Mon­de­sir

The Arts Café Roof Top Lounge, lo­cated in down­town Cas­tries, re­cently opened its doors to re­alise the vi­sion for artists to come to­gether, work to­gether and pro­mote Saint Lu­cian artists, while also get­ting them pro­moted in­ter­na­tion­ally. “It is an ef­fort to push our Saint Lu­cian artists,” said Cherie Al­cee, founder of the project whose mis­sion it is to ‘ac­tively pro­mote the un­der­stand­ing and ap­pre­ci­a­tion of con­tem­po­rary art and cul­ture world­wide by pro­vid­ing eas­ily ac­ces­si­ble in­for­ma­tion to af­fil­i­ates’.

Al­cee, (also known as the artist Touché), is also the Project Di­rec­tor of the Arts Café. She is now en­joy­ing the man­i­fes­ta­tion of her vi­sion, af­ter ar­du­ously pur­su­ing her in­born pas­sions and hav­ing part­nered with lo­cal cross-over rap, hiphop, reg­gae, R& B and dance­hall artiste Jabba.

The Arts Café is a non-profit cre­ative arts project, now ex­clu­sively spon­sored by Ap­ple­ton Es­tate Ja­maica Rum. “We pro­vide a venue for lo­cal artists and art lovers to come in, re­lax and enjoy our per­for­mances, take in what our Saint Lu­cian artists have to of­fer. Saint Lucia has a lot of tal­ent; we didn’t have a venue, nor a place to call our own as artists, so I de­cided to open up the Arts Café, making it pos­si­ble for artists to ac­tu­ally come to­gether, unite and start work­ing to­gether and make stuff hap­pen. If we don’t do it, no one is go­ing to do it for us,” Al­cee boldly told the STAR.

“The whole project be­gan last year Novem­ber from scratch. We had to get the build­ing and ac­tu­ally con­struct ev­ery­thing, de­sign it to suit our taste, to make it more wel­com­ing and so­phis­ti­cated as well. We de­signed it for art lovers and for peo­ple to come in and enjoy our culi­nary arts as well, the food and mixology (cock­tails). There are per­for­mances and ex­hi­bi­tions by var­i­ous artistes and vis­ual arts. We wel­come all art forms, we stage poetry, the­atre arts and mu­sic.”

The STAR was curious to dis­cover why the young thirty-five-year-old se­lected Cas­tries as the lo­ca­tion for the Arts Café, as op­posed to some place in the north­ern part of the is­land, where most peo­ple grav­i­tate for en­ter­tain­ment. Al­cee ex­plained, “Cas­tries is our city and we need to make sure we make it stand out! Now, we don’t have any­thing in the city, we have noth­ing go­ing on, so as a tourist comes in, they can now see some­thing in the city. We have nat­u­ral re­sources, hu­man re­sources (our peo­ple), so the Arts Café brings this to­gether to of­fer it as a tourist prod­uct.”

Cherie ex­plained that the lounge area it­self has the ca­pac­ity to ac­com­mo­date up to 60 peo­ple com­fort­ably, whereas the Roof Top Lounge area can hold more.

The re­cruit­ment process for per­form­ing artistes in­volves them au­di­tion­ing, or for vis­ual artists, that they present their pieces for re­view. Th­ese per­for­mances and art­work are then cri­tiqued and re­hearsals are of­fered for up­com­ing events should the artistes or artists be se­lected.

En­rich­ing lives through cre­ativ­ity! The Ap­ple­ton Arts Café aims to of­fer cre­ativ­ity through its food and drink menu, cou­pled with fine arts, while en­joy­ing a pre­miere qual­ity show. It is cur­rently de­vel­op­ing its cal­en­dar of ac­tiv­i­ties, one of which was the Pomme Damou Poetry Slam hosted by Kens­ley Peter Charle­magne, which took place on the evening of Thurs­day 3rd De­cem­ber. And there is lots more to come in the com­ing weeks and months.

For young, tal­ented and promis­ing Saint Lu­cian cre­atives, the fu­ture has now be­gun to look bright. With the Arts Café proudly stand­ing in Cas­tries, dis­tinctly and stately perched at the Aquar­ius cross­ing, lo­cal tal­ent can look for­ward to shar­ing, show­cas­ing and en­joy­ing years of cre­ative bril­liance to come. From mu­si­cal tal­ent to the­atre, poetry and lit­er­ary arts fi­nally, ev­ery­thing cre­ative and Saint Lu­cian has a per­ma­nent place to call home!

Ishowa Mys­tic and Soyal Se­lassie pose in front a

mu­ral of lo­cal mu­si­cal icons at the Arts Cafe’.

Founders of the Arts Cafe’ Cherie Al­cee and

Jabba.

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