The United States Ambassador to Botswana, Michelle Garvin, has said that, if nurtured, art can be a part of Botswana’s way of economic diversification. Speaking at the official opening of the Professional Practice in the Visual Arts seminar hosted at Thapong Visual Arts Centre, Garvin said that the US embassy in Botswana values the art relationship that it shares with Thapong.
She said that Thapong provides an opportunity for artists to reach a wide range of people, adding that the centre contributes to one of the government’s highest priorities, which is to diversify the economy.
The ambassador said that if nurtured to grow, artists can professionally mature and be able to support themselves economically.
She noted that if the society supported creativity and innovation, it would be simple for artists to penetrate new markets as they will be offering new approaches. Garvin said that artists, if determined, can put their skills to work and open businesses. She pointed out that, although starting a business might be difficult, they can always learn from others to make it work and find a way forward in making their businesses a success.
“Starting your own business from scratch is an exciting and daunting prospect, but with hardwork, experience, it is possible for your talent to provide you with a stable source of income to bring you personal satisfaction and happiness,” she advised, adding that, through opening businesses, artists will also be helping in driving the economy forward, which is very crucial in the development of the country.
Mesh Moeti, the Acting Chairperson of Thapong, said that the seminar will help improve the standing of visual artists and improve the quality of the artworks produced by the artists.
He added that it is a milestone for artists as they will have gained some experience after the seminar.
Moeti noted that the workshop will be facilitated by Les and Taryn Conn from Art Source South Africa, which is a visual arts and culture consultancy. He said that art seminars of the same caliber have been hosted throughout South Africa in Bloemfontein, Durban, Pretoria and Cape Town.
The seminar, which will be running for two weeks, will guide artist on different modules, such as the forms of visual arts, teaching artists on how to engage professionally beyond the studio as well as guiding them on how to establish themselves as professional artists.