Placencia Sidewalk Art Festival 2012
Last year I had the great fortune of attending, for the very first time, the Placencia Sidewalk Art Festival. I really enjoyed the art, friendly faces and warm hospitality of the beautiful village on the peninsula. The sidewalk was literally lined with jewelry stalls, handmade soap, paintings, carvings, and of course good home-cooked food. The festival also had a wide array of local performances by musicians from Placencia and beyond.
On the second day of the festival, though it rained off and on, the activities continued.
I was really impressed with a stall by the Anglican Primary school. The teachers of that particular school had two long benches; on these benches were paper, glitters, crayons and other material so that children who visited the festival could make Valentine's Day cards for their parents. From the tent which covered the long benches, radiated laughter and creativity as children sheltered from the light drizzle and painted the cutest Valentine's creations I have yet seen. The teachers also sold calendars which the students had made in art class in an effort to raise funds for the school.
I revisited Placencia this past weekend and was pleased to see that great preparations are being made for the Ninth Annual Placencia Sidewalk Art Festival. This year the festival chairperson is Ms. Aline Habib who is collaborating closely with the Belize Tourism Industry Association's Placencia Chapter.
I asked Ms. Jolie Pollard, executive director of the BTIA Placencia Chapter, and Ms. Aline Habib to give me an idea of what to look forward to at this year's festival.
I asked Jolie and Aline to tell me what will be the most exciting thing planned for the PSAF this year.
"The most exciting thing planned is the FUSION of so many different mediums of art. This year, we have the most 'comprehensive' lineup of artists ever, encompassing music, paintings, dance, jewelry, poetry, tattooing, carvings, and lots more! We have increased our efforts to promote the performing arts, and have introduced a new segment called "Art After Dark" starting at 6 p.m. on Saturday, which will feature belly dancing, fire dancing and some big performances. Music will be taking place through the weekend. The selection is very diverse and representative of our colorful Peninsula community, and we have something for everyone on three different stages. There will be a Kids Tent, filled with activities and arts materials for the children to get inspired. Also, we are introducing our very first Sidewalk Chalk Contest, where contestants will be given a 'square' on the sidewalk, transforming a portion of our ribbon of concrete into a work of art. We also have live poetry and classical guitar at our new 'unplugged' stage." responded the organizers.
Pollard and Habib said that artists should definitely take a trip to Placencia because it is a perfect opportunity to network. They elaborated: "Placencia is the hot destination in Belize right now. Whether an artist is coming down to sell his art, promote his music, or simply scope out the scene, the PSAF is the perfect place. Exhibiting artists will not only benefit from a great income opportunity, but will also get exposure and make contacts that will last a lifetime. We have international visitors who plan their trip around this festival, as well as Belizeans from all over the country, making this the ideal occasion for artists who are looking to share their work with the world. "
I remember meeting very interesting people last year and delighting in artwork from all over Belize and the world.
Though the festival highlights the best cultural production to be found in Belize, local and international visitors are encouraged to visit and enjoy the many attractions and activities which Placencia has to offer.
"You can expect to see a busy Placencia with amazing restaurants ready to serve you a very fun night life at the local bars...Of course, there's the beautiful beach readily accessible from the sidewalk if you want to take a splash or just lay out on the sand. And, if you'd like to explore the beautiful reef or nearby jungle, you can arrange a trip with a local tour operator." suggested the young organizers.
Aline and Jolie say "We really hope to make this a memorable event for all participants and festival goers. We also want people to see that the Placencia Chapter of the BTIA is working very hard to promote all stakeholders in the tourism industry. We are determined to get Placencia on everyone's minds this year as the preferred vacation destination and believe that the Placencia Sidewalk Arts Festival is a great start!"
I really am excited about the planned performances by the likes of Tanya Carter, Bredda David and Emmeth Young just to name a few, also to seeing all the fabulous art work and artists at the festival. If you have not yet made plans for the weekend, or even if you have, you may want to consider taking a trip down south to revel in art, music and the beautiful seaside in Placencia.
The Placencia Sidewalk Art Festival 2012 is scheduled for February 11 and 12 and promises to be very exciting.