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Bridging the Gap in Communication Between the Arts and the Rest of Society

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by Kevon Browne

St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN): Kittitian professional dancer, Roberitine Webbe encourages a mix of passion and practicality to local youth, chasing their dreams.

“Follow your passions, follow your purpose… but just be careful [not to let] the negative thoughts override what you want to do. Yes, do it, but be strategic with it,” Webbe said.

Webbe responded to a question on whether or not she would encourage fellow Kittitians and Nevisians to pursue careers in the arts if they have the passion for it.

“If you want to come back home and pursue a career in the arts, it’s really hard… focus on a strategy in terms of what next? It’s not just okay if you go, you pursue a career in the arts, and then you come back home, and it’s like I can’t do anything, so you just enter another career. You [regret that decision] and people often tend to categorise the arts as a hobby, and so it’s like “why did you go and study the arts for, what’s that supposed to do?“”

Webbe pointed out that careers in the arts in St. Kitts and Nevis are not taken seriously as traditional corporate careers.

Webbe is currently finishing a Master of Arts degree in Art Administration at Baruch College in New York and spoke of her plans post-graduation, which is in line with bridging a gap between the world of the arts and everyone else.

“My aim is to sort of integrate the performing aspects of the arts with the administrative aspect. I think a big challenge we have in St. Kitts is that artists don’t understand the other industries they are working with and so as an arts administrator we act as a translator. I understand the arts, of course, that’s my passion, but I should be able to communicate with other industries; Tourism, business, health, culture… When we try to get sponsorships, we try to ask for opportunities with other industries, they don’t understand, and so you need someone or that translation to be done so that they can understand the importance of the arts and value the arts even more… Hopefully I’ll be able to come back home and contribute greatly in that aspect.”

Even as a professional dancer, she has already changed her career trajectory in the arts and expressed that she was more of a behind-the-scenes facilitator of the arts.

“With the dance degree, I am more of a choreographer; I don’t perform as often. I don’t know if I want to perform. I am more so like to be behind the scenes. I like to choreograph. I’m very creative in that aspect.”

Outside of choreography, Webbe also wants to bridge the communications gap between people who exist with the arts and people outside, especially regarding getting society, sponsors and the public sector on board with the Arts.

“And it’s not to say, “Oh, creatives need to do that” because creatives have a purpose. They know what they want to pursue. It’s not their responsibility to [present a budget] or [explain] the importance; these are the statistics… That is not their job, that is not what they want to pursue, and they should not be forced to, but, if you recognise there is a lack of resources, that we’re not getting respect, then somebody needs to do it, or persons need to gather to get the necessary education and knowledge in order to speak to these persons in order to say this is what we want and this is what we’re going to get and not just take whatever [is given].”

You can see the whole interview with Webbe here:

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