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Global Ford Foundation to support Ghana’s art industry

By Godwill Arthur-Mensah, GNA

Accra,
July 16, GNA – Mr Darren Walker, the President of the Global Ford Foundation,
USA, has given the assurance that the Foundation would continue to support
Ghana’s art industry to thrive.

He
said art was an essential part of society that provided fulfilment to the soul
and showed the essence of life and the Foundation was interested in the
Ghanaian art industry and would like to learn more and explore other areas of
interest that would propel Ghana’s development efforts.

Mr
Walker, who is in the country for the first time as President of the
Foundation, described Ghana as one of the greatest countries in the world,
saying, “It’s a pleasure being in Ghana to strengthen the bond of friendship
that existed between Ghana and the US dating back to the 1960s”.

A
cocktail party was held in his honour at the Artist Alliance Gallery, in Accra,
on Sunday, to explore how businesses could take advantage of the Ghanaian
creative art industry and make economic gains.

Mr
Walker described Professor Ablade Glover, the Director of the gallery as a
leader who had distinguished himself in the art industry both locally and
internationally.

Prof.
Glover conducted Mr Walker round the gallery to admire the various collection
of art works including paintings, sculpture, artefacts, among others, which
tell the Ghanaian cultural heritage.

Some
of the unique paintings portrayed scenes of everyday life as well as some African
and world leaders like Nelson Mandela of South Africa and Barack Obama of
America.

As
part of his visit to Ghana, Mr Walker would meet President Nana Addo Dankwa
Akufo-Addo at the Flagstaff House in the course of the week and hold other
public engagements.

Mr
Innocent Chukwuma, the West Africa Regional Director of Ford Foundation, said
the Foundation had major interests in West Africa particularly, Ghana, Nigeria
and Senegal.

He
noted that the Foundation aims at empowering the youth and women to participate
in the electoral processes, adding that democracy within the West Africa
Sub-region had come of age, however the representation of women and the youth
was low.

“There
is high unemployment rate in West Africa and so we’re partnering with
governments, civil society organisations and state institutions to make sure
the young people are exposed to the skills, which will enable them to be
competitive on the job market,” he explained.

He said the Foundation has therefore
established a programme known as “Youth Transition”, which supports the youth
with employable skills for self-sustainability.

The
Foundation also played an important role in Ghana’s 2016 General Elections and
supported the Electoral Commission and electoral institutions that engaged in
electoral monitoring and civic education, he noted.

Apart
from that, he said the Foundation had worked to ensure that public revenue and
expenditure were used to address the needs of the ordinary and marginalised
people in society with special focus on women and youth.

Mr
Chukwuma indicated that the Foundation had 10 regional offices across the globe
including China, Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria and India, and that the personnel
there brought their technical expertise and global presence to bear in those
countries to facilitate their development agenda.

He
described the gallery which had large collection of artefacts across the world
as an incredible and awesome place and applauded Prof. Glover for that feat.

“It
is a world class gallery and we invite everybody from every corner of the world
who visit Ghana for tourism to come here,” he said.

Dr
Ziblim Iddi, the Deputy Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture and Member of
Parliament for Gushiegu, commended the Ford Foundation for its immense support
to humanity.

He
said he was a beneficiary of the Foundation’s Scholarship Scheme, which
supported him to study in the United States for his PhD and Masters

The
Deputy Minister said the core objective of tourism was to share Ghanaian arts
and culture with the outside world to attract investments into the sector.

Prof.
Glover, the Director of the Gallery, said investing in art was more valuable
than investing in land and bonds.

He
therefore, urged the government and other corporate entities to give the art
industry the needed attention in terms of resources that would spur economic
growth.

He
said the gallery was established to bridge the gap between studying arts and
practising arts as well as giving exposure to artists to exhibit their
God-given talents.

Prof.
Glover urged the youth to take art education seriously because it was a
potential gold mine that was very rewarding.

The
visit of the President of the Global Ford Foundation attracted a cross section
of the public including traditional rulers, queen mothers, artists and a former
Metropolitan Chief Executive of Accra Metropolitan, Mr Nathaniel Amarteyfio.

GNA

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