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US Embassy holds Arts and Crafts Fair

By Jonathan Grigsby
A Liberian art work
A Liberian art work

(mylbsonline.com/Liberia/Dec.13/2013) The 8th Biannual United States Embassy Arts and Crafts Fair has ended in Monrovia on the grounds of the US Embassy.

The Fair is intended to showcase the handiworks of individuals involved in the Arts and Crafts sector.

It brought together an unprecedented number of arts and crafts, and food vendors (over 100), including painters, woodcarvers, jewelry makers, recyclers, among others.

This year’s Arts and Crafts Fair comes at a time when millions across the world prepare for the Christmas and New Year sessions.

Speaking at the Fair, United States Deputy Chief of Mission, Sheila Paskman, said: “The US Embassy will continue helping to build the skills of arts vendors and small business owners in Liberia.”

Mr. Paskman also said: “The Embassy effort in building the skills of arts vendors and small business owners will focus mainly on leadership and entrepreneurship, aimed at empowering them.”

“The Embassy is also interested in training arts vendors how to be effective bookkeepers, creative sale people, and how to access financial aid to expand their businesses,” Madam Paskman further noted.

“The Fair is also intended to generate more funds from arts and crafts and to help them learn about packaging, displaying and marketing their products, among others,” she added.

The United States Deputy Chief of Mission commended the arts and crafts, and food vendors for their tremendous efforts in preserving and developing Liberian arts and crafts.

“This Fair supports Liberian creative arts in two important ways.”

Madam Paskman said: “The artists often make more money at these fairs than anywhere else and by participating in the Fair and our workshops, the vendors learn about packaging, pricing, displaying and marketing their products.”

“We hope that all of you will buy lots of Liberian-made gifts for your families and friends to give them a taste of the rich Liberian culture and to help support the local arts community,” she told those attending the event.

Meanwhile, some local arts and crafts vendors have expressed disappointment over the less attention given their products on the Liberian market.

Fato Wheremongar, Suah Kollie and Jonathan Sanoe, said: “Instead of Liberians promoting this sector, they are constantly down playing it.”

Fato Wheremongar is a Liberian Painter, Suah Kollie, Manager of S.K. African, and Jonathan Sanoe is a member of the Handicraft Center in Ganta, Nimba County.  

Messrs Wheremongar, Kollie and Sanoe complained: “Liberians are not interested in buying their products, except for Americans, Europeans and other nationals”.

“Arts and crafts are essential in portraying the true heritage and culture of Liberia and as such, Liberians must support the sector,” they also said.

The three arts and crafts personnel want the Division of Culture and Tourism at the Ministry of Information, Culture Affairs and Tourism (MICAT) to empower people involved in the country’s arts and crafts sector.

The arts and crafts fair is an annual event sponsored by the United States Embassy and hosted either in May, June or December every year.

Unlike other groups, the Liberian Arts and Crafts Sector is not grouped under one umbrella.

 


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