Some artisans and artefact traders in Cape Coast have called for the establishment of a standard art centre in the historic city to drive economic activities in the tourism ecosystem.
The lack of an arts centre, a major side attraction to tourists, in the tourism hub of the country, according to them was a major setback to the progress of the tourism industry and must be given attention.
Currently, most artefact shops scattered across the one-time capital city of Ghana, procure finished goods including beads, leatherworks, woodworks and African wear mainly from the Greater Accra and Ashanti Regions to feed their market.
Alternatively, some procure raw materials and semi-finished wares such as wooden artefacts from towns and villages far and near and employ the services of artisans from Accra’s Arts Centre to convert them into finished products, adding to the final cost.
Speaking to the Ghana News Agency (GNA) on Friday, some artisans and traders who operate shops in and around the Cape Coast Castle lamented about the absence of an art market in the city and made a strong case for one.
The owner of the ‘All Class Shop’ in the Cape Coast Castle, Mr Kwabena Manu recounted how he lost some monies to fraudsters in Accra, after he engaged their services with advance payment to finish his artefacts.
“The narrative would be different if we had an art centre here, where we are all familiar with one another,” he said.
Mr Manu, who is also a shoemaker, observed the lack of an art facility had a created a situation of few, hard-to-find and expensive artisans in the Central Regional Capital.
“We need government to intervene in this. We really need a modern art centre to start and finish all forms artefacts here,” he stated.
The caretaker of the ‘Abongo Shop,’ Mr Benjamin Aamana (rpt. Aamana) was more concerned about the cost of production and the prices of finished goods that was taking a toll on their businesses.
He observed that the art centre would not only reduce the cost of their items, but create jobs for the youth in Cape Coast.
“If you look around, you see a lot of young boys walking around aimlessly, but with the facility, they can learn a trade to make a living,” he added.
Ms Tina Blay of the ‘Step Beyond Art Gallery’ was of the conviction that the establishment of an art centre would draw attention to the industry in the region and expand their market beyond Ghana.