The National Festival of the Arts is held annually to unearth, develop, and showcase the creative talents of Jamaicans from all walks of life. Many Jamaicans have benefitted from this cultural opportunity through training, exposure and national recognition. The areas covered are: Dance and Deaf Dance, Drama, Traditional Folk Forms, Music, Speech and Visual Arts. There are a total of 1075 Schools and groups across the island who participate is this annual festival. The festival runs for approximately three 3-4 months, with rounds of Auditions at the Regional, Parish, National levels, with each round running for approximately five days. . The award-winning entrants form part of the database of performers called upon to celebratory and national commemorative events. The participants compete for Certificates of Merit, Medals, trophies and Cash Incentives yearly.
Past winners and particpants have become professional performers in the various areas they have entered the festival, especially in the areas of music and dance. Some have gone onto perform with dance companies, like the National Dance Theatre Company (NDTC), and Lacadco: A United Dance Force, and other dance and theatre companies.. Some competitors have also gone onto compete in otehr competitons, such as the National fetsival Song Competitons or Gospel Competitions.
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The Ministry of Education, Corporate Jamaica, and Cultural Community Groups
The main findings over the years is that the festival provides the opportunity for community groups to develop and hone their talents and skills, and ultimately is a stepping stone to becoming a professional in the Cultural and Creative Industries. Improvements can be made where entry levels are low, in areas like traditional folk forms. As such, the JCDC has improved the amount of workshop training sessions held annually. The festival attracts particpants across the island and amounts to approximately 70% particpation from high schools in each Parish.