Ministry partners with local businesses to build kids arts centre

| 24/05/2016
CNs Local Life

(L-R, front) Minister of Education Tara Rivers, Paul Pearson (Davenport Development), Chief Officer Christen Suckoo and Cheyenna Stewart (GTPS PTA). (L-R, back) Ken Thompson, Wanda Thompson (both of Davenport), Chief Education Officer Lyneth Monteith, Dr Randall Pinder (Davenport), GTPS Deputy Principal Dorothy Wilson.

(CNS): A group of local businesses have entered into a public-private partnership with the education ministry to build a children’s performing arts centre at George Town Primary School. The “black box theatre” will be the first dedicated space of its kind in Cayman and will be available for all schools and community events. Government is investing around $295,000 of public cash to cover the cost of a generator and air-conditioner but the bulk of the tab will be picked up by Davenport Development along with Flowers Foam, Cox Lumber, A L Thompson’s and Supermix Concrete which have donated supplies for the project.

The PTA at the school are also trying to raise $100,000 for the sound, video, lighting and curtain system, as well as new instruments and a piano for the centre. The facility will also double as a hurricane shelter, officials said in a release this week, adding that the centre will have a removable stage to accommodate many different types of performances.

The MoU to take the project forward was signed more than a month ago by the Chief Officer Christen Suckoo and Cheyenna Stewart, president of the George Town Primary School Parent Teachers Association. The plans for the centre which was proposed by Davenport development have been ongoing for some time and work, including the upgraded generator facility to serve the entire school, is scheduled to take place during the summer holidays.

Stewart said it will offer opportunities to all of Cayman’s children. “We envision exciting things for this facility that will align with the national curriculum in relation to music and the performing arts,” she said. Having raised just $20,000 so far she said the PTA was looking for the community’s help to bring in the rest of the cash for the equipment.

“We look to the community for support in helping us now that the contracts have been signed and a commitment has been made to build the centre this summer,” Stewart said. “This is a project that will cater to our very young to give them opportunities they may never have otherwise been afforded.”

George Town Primary School Principal Marie Martin said performing arts play a key role in students’ personal development. “The performing arts have been shown to help raise achievement across the curriculum by working in symbiosis with other subjects, such as English, humanities and science, to provide rich educational opportunities for our students,” she said. “We will forever be indebted to Davenport and the other supporting companies for this act of kindness.”

Paul Pearson, the co-owner of Davenport Development and the current Chamber of Commerce president, said he and his partner Ken Thompson were happy that plans have now come to fruition and they were looking forward to attending the first play or recital that the children hold.

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Category: Performing Arts, Schools

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