USAID and the community of Bel-Air Saturday inaugurated a newly renovated artists’ center in Bel-Air that was constructed with funding provided by the U.S. Government. The center, Bel Art, will provide work space for aspiring artists to practice their craft and spur economic activity. It will also provide space for community activities in particular for neighborhood youth. USAID Deputy Mission Director Steve Olive, the Delegue of Port-au-Prince, Mr. Gonzague Day, Ministry of Culture official, Paul Villefranche, and local leaders in Bel-Air participated in the inaugural ceremony which included the awarding of prizes to the winners of an art contest for neighborhood youth.
The neighborhood of Bel-Air in Port-au-Prince, traditionally known for its artistic atmosphere, has recently embarked on efforts to recapture its renowned past and to revitalize itself. USAID provided approximately $107,000 for the artists’ workshop project. The newly renovated building represents a major resource for the arts and tourism industries in the neighborhood, and will potentially become an integral part of Bel-Air’s “Artistic Trail”. The well-known local artist Roga painted several of the gallery’s walls with colorful designs, giving the workshop a vibrant appearance. USAID is also providing materials and art equipment for the workshop and gallery.
The workshop was rehabilitated as part of a USAID program that has been working in Bel-Air on community-prioritized activities to revitalize the neighborhood. The program also rehabilitated and provided equipment for the Bel-Air vocational school, rehabilitated sidewalks throughout the community, renovated a soccer field and basketball court, installed solar lights and benches, created a community library, provided equipment to primary schools in the neighborhood, and trained community members in paraseismic masonry, renewable energy systems repair and maintenance, and sewing.