Children’s art centres under threat of closure

By Maria Kandjungu

THE Arts Performance Centre (APC) is calling for much-needed sponsorship and funding from individuals and companies to not only keep the organization running, but to further grow its centres.

APC mostly provides afterschool care for young people but is on the verge of closing its doors due to persistent financial difficulties, which would leave about 465 students disadvantaged.

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Founded in 2003, the non-profit and non-governmental organization, which has one centre in Tsumeb and another in Oshikuku, aims to keep children and youth off the streets and away from crime-related activities by acquainting them with artistic activities, such as music, dance, drawing and painting.

The organisation develops and builds on young people’s interests and skills, and enriches their lives by using art as a way to keep them focused on positive tasks and thereby develop their talents.

The centres’ spokesperson Alina Garises said the organisation has always depended on donations and currently faces dire financial difficulties and are in need of immediate funding to avoid imminent closure.

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This year the APC registered about 375 students at the Tsumeb Centre and 129 at the centre in Oshikuku, who are socially mixed, ranging from well-to-do family backgrounds to those on the extreme opposite from poverty-stricken areas.

The centres also accommodate children as young as age three to six, who are at the pre-primary level of education.

Emphasising the importance of art in child development, Garises said research has repeatedly shown numerous benefits of art, such as aiding with the development of cognitive and creative problem-solving skills, which subsequently helps with academic performance.

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“Needless to say, art connects students with their own culture as well as with the wider world and so APC contributes to a desirable development of young people in Tsumeb and Oshikuku,” she stated.

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Garises further pointed out that the centres offer excellent opportunities for students, such as international training opportunities and a chance to showcase their talents on national and international platforms.

“We are calling on other sponsors to join the quest of changing the world for the better through arts,” she added.