The New Times (Kigali)

1 February 2013

Rwanda: Rwf500 Million Earmarked to Promote Arts Countrywide

The Workforce Development Authority (WDA) has earmarked Rwf500m to promote and professionalise art in the country.

Jerome Gasana, the WDA director-general, revealed this at a symposium on arts and craft organised by the Authority and the Rwanda Arts Initiative.

It drew artists, teachers, government and private institutions to discuss the way forward to develop arts and craft.

According to the State Minister for Primary and Secondary Education, Mathias Harebamungu, the first step is to expand the arts school of Nyundo (Ecole d'Arts de Nyundo) in Rubavu district, Western Province, to train more students.

The school will later have branches countrywide to nurture talent.

"Artists can't be professionals unless they sacrifice and put more effort. The appealing arts products should market artists and the country," said Harebamungu.

WDA has toured the country to meet talented people and gather their views on what can be done to equip them with skills to generate income like other paying professions.

The Education Ministry has set a curricula to cover arts and craft in primary and secondary schools.

Be original

The minister urged artists to define arts, be original, innovative and critical thinkers before seeking government support.

According to Gasana, the drive targets not only students, but other persons whose talents have not been tapped.

He said expanding schools of arts and craft will be done in Integrated Polytechnic Regional Centers (IPRC) are spread country wide.

"Promoting arts and craft is our priority. We want every artist to be competitive at international level," Gasana said.

He said WDA is looking for qualified teachers in arts and crafts.

Michel Saba, an expert and staff from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism in Burkina Faso, who was invited to participate in the symposium, said arts and craft has in his country to the extent that artists earn a lot from it and contribute significantly to national development.

Saba said his country has been developing the arts industry since 1969.

Florence Boivin Roumestan, a Canadian consultant, said she has seen a lot of potential among Rwandan artists.

"Artists should work as a team, organise themselves and do lobbying so that the government supports them," she said, stressing the need for arts schools and individuals to inculcate respect of copy right law of other artist.

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