This post has several of my personal “favorite things” wrapped up in it. Firstly, my always-abiding interest in Japanese culture (I have a Master’s in Japanese Studies); secondly, my great love of museums since childhood, when I spent a great deal of time in those places, and am now happy to say that I am closely involved with one in Jamaica; and thirdly, I simply love the Kingston Creative initiative – which I should have written more about already. So, although this is late and Child Month has ended, here is a recent event that packages all of these three interests of mine.
Please support the Institute of Jamaica and all its museums this summer (and year-round). They have a gift shop. They are a treasure trove of learning and discovery for all ages. In particular, do support the IOJ’s Junior Centre, which provides innovative and exciting learning programs for downtown youth from underserved communities. The children are truly worth it.
If you want to become involved with Kingston Creative, you can find them on Facebook here. And reserve your Last Sundays of the month for a walk downtown! By the way, I post many of these activities on my own Facebook page, which is here.
Here is more about the latest downtown collaboration…
IOJ hosts “Child Month Youths in Arts” in partnership with Kingston Creative
The Institute of Jamaica (IOJ) continued to celebrate Child Month on Sunday, May 26 at their Junior Centre on East Street through collaboration with Kingston Creative. The IOJ has been partnering with Kingston Creative for its Last Sunday Art Walk, which sees numerous people converging in the Downtown area to appreciate artists and their work. The IOJ has been doing its part to highlight art by offering free tours of its museums including the National Gallery of Jamaica, National Museums Jamaica, and the Natural History Museum of Jamaica.
This past Sunday, The IOJ through its Junior Centre devised a children’s program dubbed Youths in Arts: Paper Play. Children of the art walk’s participants and audience were treated to various art activities such as face painting, paper making, and origami. The activities were enriched by introducing cultural elements in the creation of the art pieces that the children made. For example, the origami activity took the form of a samurai hat similar to that of the Boy Samurai doll, which forms a part of the traveling Japanese Dolls exhibition now on display at the IOJ’s National Museum of Jamaica.
Doris Gross, member of the Kingston Creative committee speaking on the partnership with IOJ stated: “ Kingston Creative is really thrilled that this partnership has started and continued so smoothly, and that the IOJ is so organized and available to open every last Sunday which has really helped our art walk to become bigger and better”. She continued to say “It (IOJ) has exposed its museums and exhibitions to Jamaicans who have not visited in a while and who are not able to make it during the week.”
Jenna, a parent of one for the children at the kiddies village expressed great delight in the program as she stated, “I’m really thrilled to see that he (her child) is able to express himself through art while learning about aspects of his culture. He wants to see the doll exhibition now that he has made and painted a hat similar to that of the “Boy Samurai”.
The Junior Centre, a part of the IOJ’s Programmes Coordination Division, as the name suggests, develops initiative geared towards the development of the Jamaican youths. After school programs as well as various events showcasing the talents of children are undertaken by this arm of the IOJ. The annual HUSH symposium is also largely executed by the Junior Centre. HUSH is an annual event held to highlight social issues among youths as well as ways in which we can intervene to help.