The ground-breaking ceremony for the Samoa’s Arts and Culture Centre and the Friendship Park at the Apia waterfront will happen at the grounds at Malifa Compound this afternoon.
The projects will be funded by the Municipality of Huizhou in the Guangdong Province of the People’s Republic of China.
The concept of a culture centre for Samoa was conceived in the 1980's by the then Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture, a Government Ministry that was dissolved in 2003 during the public service reforms.
The idea was kept alive after the merge of Sports and Culture with Education to form the current Ministry of Education, Sports and Culture in 2003. This was done through public consultations, planning and concept designing.
The biggest hurdle in achieving this concept was financing a project of this magnitude especially in this age of pressing global priorities like climate change, health and other national development priorities.
In 2015 the Government of China expressed their interest to assist Samoa with this long outstanding initiative and the Government accepted China’s assistance through the Municipality of Huizhou in Guangdong China.
Almost every country in the world has a culture centre and the existence of these institutions is a testament to the importance of culture in development. It provides the much needed platform for artists and cultural experts to dialogue, disseminate and promote culture and arts safeguarding cultural continuity from the past into the future.
These come in the form of our music, dance, arts and crafts, language, rituals and performances, traditional knowledge, our folklore and all the richness of our heritage as Samoans.
The Centre will contain a performance area, spaces for visual and creative arts including handcraft demonstrations, a cultural exhibitions area, a library and archives, a theatre, film and sound and office spaces. The potential of a thriving culture sector in Samoa can be better facilitated with the existence of a central place of operation.
The Samoa Arts and Culture Centre is a part of the Ministry of Education, Sports and Culture and will house the National Orchestra, the Samoa Language Commission, the National Archives and Records, and the Culture Division which are existing services in the Ministry.
The Samoa Arts and Culture Centre will be located at Malifa. The Ground-breaking Ceremony will be held there at 3pm.