MONTEGO BAY: Creative arts in Montego Bay will benefit significantly by mid-year when the Montego Bay Civic Centre is converted into a cultural centre that will also serve as the nation’s second art gallery.
Hotelier Josef Forstmayr heads the Montego Bay Arts Council, which is overseeing the development of the civic centre into the Montego Bay Cultural Centre. Under the auspices of the Institute of Jamaica and the National Heritage Trust, the new cultural centre will house a permanent art gallery. The new facility will also house a bistro where only top-of-the-line Jamaican products will be sold.
Conversion of the civic centre is proceeding under the supervision of Project Co-ordinator, Millard Wright, who informed Tourism and Entertainment Minister Dr. Wykeham McNeill during a tour last week that work should be completed in two months. The $42 million project is financed by the Tourism Enhancement Fund.
“Downtown Montego Bay will take on a special look when that particular project is completed and we are most grateful to the TEF,” said Member of Parliament for Central St. James, Lloyd B. Smith.
Cabinet has approved a TEF-financed contract for $44 million to upgrade the Montego Bay Crafts Village. The renovation will begin in three weeks.
During a stop to the village, Dr. McNeill told the craft traders that they would have to change their business tactics. He said a new craft policy was being developed in consultation with the traders “to deal with how this industry is going to be governed” and a regulatory authority will be created.
McNeill also visited the historical monument, The Dome, to check on the progress of its restoration. Although the $8 million project is nearing completion, McNeill said additional work would be done to the surrounding environment.