When 3Canal opened the Big Black Box (BBB) on Murray Street, I saw it as a risky experiment and give them all my blessings. I have used the space, limed in the space, ducked in at random times and it is all good. I have seen young people who are fishing to connect with the positive vibe and I have felt inspired.
My eyebrows raised again recently when 3Canal abandoned Queen’s Hall and staged their Carnival performances at their own space. This experiment is successful from my user perspective and I do hope that the dollars also make sense.
Here is an example of how access to physical space can create a movement. If we are committed to social change we have to provide an enabling environment. At the root of such enabling environments is access to physical spaces.
We have an abundance of inward looking NGO/Social Sector organizations who in many instances underperform. A critical contributing factor to their under performance is lack of access to physical spaces for meetings, rehearsals and social exchange. In the not too distant past, people congregated at places like Casuals Club, Jaycees Headquarters, Soroptimist International of Port of Spain, RAFA Club etc. What happened in these spaces was creative expression, mentoring and opportunities for reflection. The current stillness of these spaces is waiting to be transformed into places of fire, inflamed by the creativity of our young people.
The organic growth of BBB has deep roots in the 22 year history of activism by 3Canal. Their activism is of a different kind, it speaks to the tradition of Carnival and protest. It speaks to the freedom and catharsis which the Jouvert brings.
3Canal is an excellent example of making lemonade from lemons. Best wishes to you as you continue to toil in the interest of the arts. I appreciate you and the energy you bring.