EDITORS DIARY: Fun Fun One Crab on the Run

launch nightPhotograph by Teddy Dwight Frederick

Dear Readers,

Have you ever met someone for the first time and after some good ole like-minded conversation thought, where have they been all your life! Have you ever had an elevated discussion best described as an adrenaline-powered race with a high five at the finish line?

If you have, then you will know how I felt when I met Grenadian Artist Stacey Byer on home soil back in December. This was one of the very few occasions that a mouthful of the Umbrella Beach Bar burger and ocean view could not silence me. Perched on the top deck overlooking Grand Anse Beach, we talked about life on the island; life in London; art; freelancing; features and culture. You name it we deliberated it.

umbrellas beach bar grenadaPhotographs by Andrew Richards

She told me about understanding her limitations as an artist in Grenada, but using these limitations to push herself to forge a path that involves her community. Efforts that not only fulfill, but inspire her to continue to show young Grenadian children that being an artist is as reputable as being a doctor. We talked about her voluntary efforts in children’s homes where she has experienced firsthand how intrinsic art is. How it fosters children’s imagination and develops their critical thinking skills.

There are loud activist and then there are silent doers. When I asked Stacey what she is doing to change the dismissive mentality towards creative careers she calmly explained, ‘I just enjoy what I do, it’s not about convincing the country about my artistic ability. If what I do changes the way a small minority of people think great! But I go out there and share my skills with young children because I can’.  And with that said, I would like to share with you what Stacey Byer has been up to since we interviewed her two years ago.

stacey

She is currently working with Reach Grenada to plan a second summer art camp for children in foster care and coordinating a community mural for the new Mt Zion Children’s Library.

In 2012 Stacey met best selling Cuban author Mario Picayo after attending his talk on children in the Caribbean having access to multicultural books. The bold step to walk with her portfolio resulted in the 12-month process of illustrating the imaginative children’s book Fun Fun One Crab on the Run.

Stacey and Mario combined creative forces to ensure that Caribbean children see imagery that they are familiar with when learning to read and count by featuring mangoes and lizards and not apples and squirrels.

FunCrabcover

FunCrab2(1)

The book for 3-6 year olds also promotes environmental conservation by featuring detailed illustrations of animals and plants found in nature, so it was no surprise when Stacey told me her stock sold out on the night of the book launch in Grenada.

launch night 02Photograph by Teddy Dwight Frederick

And, the great news is that Fun Fun One Crab on the Run was recently donated to one hundred and thirty pre-primary and primary schools across Grenada to support national initiatives in childhood literacy. This was with the support of local corporate sponsors NAWASA, Southern Electrical, Eco Dive, Country Cold Store, 3B’s Shoe Shop, Grenada Pharmacies, Wade Optical, Island Dental, Spice Isle Retreaders, Grand Anse Playgroup and the Sweetwater Foundation.

ministry of education

When presenting the books to the Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development, Government of Grenada in an official handover ceremony on Friday 28th February.  Permanent Secretary Ruth Elizabeth Rouse congratulated Byer on her accomplishment.

I would also like to congratulate Stacey on using her innate talent to inspire young Grenadian children.

Get your hands on this book here

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