The National Gallery of Jamaica offers a range of educational programmes, for adults and children, including guided tours, lectures, seminars, panel discussions, film screenings, workshops and outreach programmes to schools and community organizations. By far the most popular of these are the guided tours, which are tailored to the needs of specific groups. The Education Department also has a library with a unique collection of material on Jamaican art, including out-of-print publications such as the book Modern Jamaican Art (1998), and a collection of documentation on a wide range of Jamaican artists and related topics, along with supporting photocopy and printing services.
At present, the NGJ has two major children’s art programmes: Art on the Waterfront, a month-long summer school that is staged each July in association with the MultiCare Foundation, and Saturday Art Time, our Saturday morning workshop. Art on the Waterfront was started in the late 1980s by art teacher Normadelle Whittle as a gallery-based children’s art workshop. The programme quickly became very successful but was interrupted for a few years when Mrs. Whittle migrated to Atlanta. It was in 1995 revived with the assistance of the MultiCare Foundation visual arts programme, which provided most of the funding and staffing. (The MultiCare Foundation is a local NGO dedicated to inner-city development and was initially funded by the ICD Group of Companies, Cable and Wireless Jamaica and the Cement Company of Jamaica.) Art on the Waterfront has been held annually since then, as a collaboration between MultiCare and the NGJ, and has grown to the extent where the studio component of the programme can no longer be accommodated at the NGJ, because of the space constraints in the current building. In recent years, this part of the programme has been held off-site, at various nearby locations, but continues to make use of the NGJ as the point of departure for key activities. MultiCare selects and sponsors most of the participants but a small number of other participants are accommodated through the NGJ and pay only a nominal fee.
Saturday Art Time is our new Saturday morning programme and the current one-year pilot is funded by American Friends of Jamaica, Inc. While smaller in scale and located entirely at the NGJ, the Saturday art class builds on the programme content of Art on the Waterfront. Two age groups are accommodated, 8 to 12 years and 13 to 15, and these groups meet on alternate weeks. Participation in this exciting programme is free but space is limited. Registration is on a first come, first served basis.
The NGJ continues to develop its programmes and services for children and schools and will roll out new projects in the months to come. These programmes, we believe, make an important, if admittedly still underutilized contribution to Jamaican education and help to build a local museum-going culture by targeting the young. We are particularly committed to combining education and entertainment in fun and innovative ways and to making sure that all our visitors feel at home and have a good time at the NGJ.
For more information on these and other NGJ programmes, contact the Education Department at: 1.876.922-1561/4 (Lime fixed line); 1.876.618-0654/5 (Digicel fixed line); e-mail: email@example.com.