Minister of State for Culture the Hon. Charles Maynard said that the Grand Opening of the Anthaya Art Gallery, on Monday, May 19, 2008, will usher in another partnership to encourage Bahamian artists and afford them a more profitable venue to showcase their work.

“This particular opening signals the first successful negotiation that we (the Government) did and it allows the artists to get 80 per cent and the gallery to get 20 per cent out of anything that is up for offer,” Minister Maynard said. “We are happy to have helped to facilitate that and we look forward to that becoming a trend in the visual arts community.”

Minister Maynard said the initiative was a natural response to those in the visual arts community who said that not only did they find it difficult to showcase their work in traditional art galleries, they also had to contend with a percentage on pieces sold that was “heavily” in favour of the art galleries. Exhibition time at Government entities, such as the Central Bank of The Bahamas and the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas, was also limited, he added.

“We thought that we could assist by intervening on the artists’ behalf with some of the newer art galleries to see if we could develop partnerships and relationships that could allow them to display their artwork, for sale and for viewing, with a better percentage rate,” Minister Maynard said.

Manager of the Anthaya Art Gallery Mr. Jurgen Kleinbussink said they are excited about the initiative because they want to be an art gallery that is there for Bahamians.

“We are trying to be a stimulus to get more Bahamians involved in the art scene,” Mr. Kleinbussink said. “We definitely think that the art scene here in The Bahamas can grow, that the people can get more interested in art. From what I have seen, you have some talented artists here and I am thinking that it can be more, as more people get involved.

“I think it is really important to the heritage of the Bahamian people.”

Mr. Kleinbussink added that he the Government’s role in the initiative is very important and positive to the growth of the artists.

“When you see that it is the Government that is involved in it, it gives us an idea of their interest in what’s happening in the country and in the culture,” he said.

“When the Government is involved, it shows their interest in the people,” Mr. Kleinbussink added. “As we expose more works for the people and if the Government is still involved in it, that says something about the Government.”

Manager of the National Junkanoo Museum of The Bahamas and Government liaison for the initiative Ms. Angelique McKay said that such partnerships mean “great things for the cultural community.”

“It allows the culture of The Bahamas to continue to grow,” she said.

The Anthaya Art Gallery is also seeking young Bahamian artists, particularly those in high school, who wish to showcase their work, Mr. Kleinbussink said.

“We find this to be very important, as well, for the culture and the development of the young artists that they can be more involved in the art scene; so that we could give them a chance to grow up and be well-rounded artists,” he said.

Mr. Kleinbussink said that he hopes that those who come to the Anthaya Gallery would get a true taste of various aspects of Bahamian culture.

“What I am hoping is that we can give people a satisfied feeling when they visit here; so that they can see some of what The Bahamas has to offer,” he said.

The Anthaya Art Gallery is located on West Bay Street, Cable Beach, in the shopping complex that is the former site of City Market. The Grand Opening will be at 7 p.m.