Institutionalize arts at grassroots level!

It is common knowledge that people are born with various talents.

Apart from rare all-rounders, one is gifted with academic, athletic or artistic abilities. It is the duty of the parents, guardians or teachers to spot and nurture those individual talents at an early age in order to bring out the best out of ones God-given talent.

Many successful sports tales have been told – mainly because, unlike arts, there is a solid system that values and supports sports. Talk of junior soccer, tennis, rugby academies, the list is endless.

However, when it comes to music, dance, theatre or acting its like walking in a desert. The discipline is only recognized at tertiary level for example, Harare School of Art, Zimbabwe Music College.

Just as much as athletes and footballers are groomed at a tender age through junior academies, the same should be the case with young budding actors, singers, poets, and so on.

So often have people heard the saying, I started singing when I was three or I fell in love with acting when I was five. But the million dollar question that has never been asked is why then do the public only get to know about such talented when they are 25 or 35?

This is because government is not taking an aggressive approach to formalize the industry. Arts should be institutionalized at grassroots level, as early as primary and high school level.

If the government could take up arts seriously as it does with sport, a lot of artists who were forced into prostitution, drugs and crime after falling short of supporting walls when they were taking their baby steps into the wondrous industry, could have been saved.

Junior Arts Schools should be established and scholarships offered to young artists if the industry is to grow.

But alas, mbira music pays more abroad that it does here, so does music, acting or any art discipline one may think of.

Government needs to relook into the art and culture section and take a robust approach to institutionalize it at grassroots level.

It is only then that the cooperate world will compete to get a stake of the pie. – For feedback and suggestions for future columns e-mail to [email protected]

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