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Transforming Spaces gearing up for annual bus tour

Transforming Spaces (TS) 2019 is gearing up for its annual art bus tour, which will be held this year under the theme “Sustainability – I Have a Dream – I Am the Dream – We are the Dream”, which will extend into the year 2020 to highlight the mission statement of one of the tour’s founding members, the late Jackson Burnside. Burnside said that, by that year, more persons would visit The Bahamas for its art, culture and heritage, rather than merely its sun, sand and sea.

The bus tour will take place April 6-7.

Master artist Antonius Roberts and Pam Burnside, TS executives, are spearheading the multi-year project, which has its roots within the Bahamian community.

“For too long, and to our detriment, Bahamian art and heritage has been ignored as important cultural offerings, not only to our visitors, but to locals as well. These are the elements that can move this country forward and provide significant economic development to this destination, so we are very happy that the Ministry of Tourism has recognized the value in this collaboration which bodes well for the future of the industry,” said Roberts.

Last September, TS established a partnership with Lend a Hand Bahamas (LAHB), a non-profit organization formed in 2014, to bring local, national and international opportunities and activities into the community by running a core hands-on curriculum centered on 4H programming. The organization opened its newly refurbished Neville and Nora Dorsett Community Center in historic Lewis Street, off East Street, last October.

A home in Lewis Street, which is still standing, is where Dr. Martin Luther King resided when he first visited with Sir Randol Fawkes in November 1958. King also wrote his famous “I Have a Dream” speech whilst visiting the island of Bimini in The Bahamas a decade later.

In recognition of King’s visit to The Bahamas in 1958, Rosalie Fawkes, the daughter of Sir Randol, was invited to make a presentation at the community center on January 26, for the benefit of the residents of the area. Entitled “He Came to Lend Support”, she gave a riveting account of those transformative times in Bahamian history. It was a fitting tribute to take place during the month marking the January 21 Martin Luther King Day holiday in the U.S. Bahamian master artist, Max Taylor, was also on hand to confirm his participation.

TS principals said the historically significant events were the inspiration for the TS theme. Drawing on the power of art to transform communities in a positive way, TS is integrating art and culture into the LAHB program through the creation of amazing murals along the Wall of Respect that was initiated in 2014 by community resident and Junkanoo artist, the late Deon “Slime” McHardy, whose artwork will remain as drawn in his memory.

According to the event’s organizers, the first TS mural allowed participation by the children of the community, who are the main focus of the center’s programs and have become sustainable stakeholders as the project continues to enhance the reach and effectiveness of the initiative. Within a few weeks of its inception, the positive dynamic resulting from the art and creativity combination generated enormous excitement, community spirit and hope through the rejuvenation of the depressed area, one mural at a time.

Students from the public high schools in the area, along with University of The Bahamas art students and professional fine artists, are also collaborating on the project, as the murals continue to enhance the area. The project is being carried out in collaboration with the Atlantis resort, the American Embassy, the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas (NAGB) and private law firm Glinton Sweeting O’Brien (GSO).

Ticket box offices will be open at the beginning of March, and will be available at Hillside House, NAGB, Doongalik Studios and the Place for Art.

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