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Research indicates that children are born with 98% the creative potential of genius. However, as they go through life, the figure falls dramatically. At the age of eight, the percentage has dropped to 32%. By the time they reach thirteen, peer pressure has brought it down to 10%, and by adulthood, conformity has reduced it to less than 2%!

As individuals and as a nation, creativity is our most valuable resource. The creative thinker is an invaluable asset to any organisation. Creative thinking enhances academic qualifications but it is not necessarily dependent on them.

Given the importance of creativity and the fact that at least 30% of all children are creatively, rather than academically inclined, it beggars belief that our schools largely ignore the subject.

This omission is particularly apparent in the Visual Arts. At primary and secondary schools, we do not give art the attention it deserves. On the list of subjects on offer, art is at the very bottom. In some schools, it is not there at all. We give preference to academic subjects and art is sidelined. Many parents and teachers dismiss it as something you can do in your spare time.

Results from the few schools that offer CXC Visual Art give nought for your comfort. This year, out of 16 students that studied for the exam, only three students achieved Grade 2 and two students, Grade 3. The remaining 11 students failed to achieve the minimum pass mark. Last year, the results were no better.

As a matter of urgency, we need to determine the reason why the results are no better. From my forty years involvement with art students in the Caribbean, I firmly believe that, right here in Dominica, we have the latent talent but we are failing to realise its potential.

In an effort to remedy the situation, I am offering Saturday morning art classes for 4th and 5th year students studying CXC Visual Arts. The classes are also open to students wishing to study art, but who attend schools that do not offer the subject. Advanced classes are available for students wishing to study for Cambridge, AS & A Level, Art & Design. In addition to class time, students will have access to innovative on-line tuition.

Given a nucleus of secondary school leavers with high grades in CXC Visual Art we can then move on to establishing full-time one-year foundation/pre-degree course in Visual Art. Currently, neither the State College nor the Open UWI Campus offers anything in the arts. Such a course would enable students to graduate to the workplace or to continue their studies at colleges overseas. One-year foundation/pre-degree courses in both the Visual Arts and the Performing Arts need to be the eventual objective of the fledgling Dominica Institute for the Arts.

For further information on classes for CXC students e-mail sculptor@cwdom.dm or telephone Roger Burnett at 449 2550.

About the Artist

International award winning painter and sculptor Roger Burnett, has over fifty years experience in the visual arts. Since the 1970's, the Caribbean has been the main theme of his work. He is renowned for his ability to demonstrate the creative processes and to inspire his students, many of whom have progressed to studying art at degree level and to earning a living from their work.

Roger Burnett 12th September 2013

The attached sketch is one that I made of Roseau over twenty years ago.