When Doris Gross and the other directors of Kingston Creative hosted their first Artwalk in April 2018, their aim was to create a space where artists, and lovers of the arts from all walk of life, felt included and connected. Eighteen events later, and the group has exceeded its mandate by also unearthing artistic talents that went largely unnoticed for years.
The last Artwalk and Market Place for 2019 was held Sunday (Dec 22) and transformed Water Lane in downtown, Kingston into a creative haven. It was an entire day of activities which featured music, dance, food and art.
Gross describes the day as the perfect ending to the 2019 series. “It gets bigger and bigger, and it is different every month too. And this is exciting because a lot of people come in and participate. We don’t create it really, people do, and it organically has grown,” she said.
She explained that the event has the double function of giving artists a space to express themselves and create using different styles. But equally important is the role they play in changing the face of downtown, Kingston.
“Part of the art district is that we create murals, wall paintings, and art and craft that has been done in Jamaica since ages. But these artists are taking it into the modern world on a different scale. It’s no longer the typical painting of Bob Marley or Peter Tosh or the politicians, it’s now painting entire buildings and doing a different style art, we’re moving on to a different generation,” she said.
Bigger and better
While there were many beautiful murals on display, the star of the show was the Art Beat of the City which was envisioned by architect Lisa Steelbel and painted by members of the Kingston Creative group. Steelbel explained that it captured the rhythm, and the way of life of the people in the Kingston City.
Meanwhile, Gross shared that the plan for 2020 is for the Artwalk to get bigger and better. “We’re also looking to find spaces and we’ve started to connect with property owners downtown that will convert eventually to art workshop, entertainment spaces, and studios. We want artists to have a place to work, and sell,” she said.