Santo Domingo, June 8, 2019 – More than two thousand children, adolescents and young adults in the Dominican Republic are currently receiving free training in various artistic disciplines, thanks to a program sponsored by the Ministry of Culture which, for the past 18 years, has provided social-inclusive opportunities to its members and to the communities where they operate.
The program is known as the National System of Open Schools, which currently operates in 31 communities in 15 of the country’s provinces. The Schools provide training to an annual student population of some 2,300 students.
The program’s director, actor and cultural manager, Angel Mejia, explained that the Open Schools are community spaces for the development of cultural training and animation processes in the arts, applied arts, and other related areas.
“Through this program, thousands of youngsters, children and young adults, living in vulnerable conditions, have learned to play a musical instrument, participate in plays, paint murals in their communities, participate in arts and crafts projects, learn to design jewelry and prepare typical dishes, participate in choral and dance groups, and use these projects for their own benefit and the benefit of their particular community,” expressed Director Mejia.
He also explained that the various Open Schools situated throughout the country are part of the National System of Open Schools, a program managed by the Vice Ministry of Creativity and Popular Participation, directed by Mr. Cayo Claudio Espinal.
Currently, the System operates with 60 professors and a support team of six specialists.
“These processes are open, plural, inclusive and free. All those interested may participate and do not have to audition to enter the System,” explained Mejia.
The services provided by the National System of Open Schools have been divided into two large groups: training and animation.
The training process provides artistic training for children and youth in all artistic disciplines. This area also includes teacher training and training in the repair of musical instruments and other technical areas.
The second phase includes cultural dissemination and animation, which includes training in mural paintings, festivals and artistic presentations as demanded by the community.
The project Music Over the Sea (unofficial translation) includes 27 local school bands, a workshop on repairing string instruments, two regional bands and a national band. This particular project is co-sponsored by the Swiss foundation Music tubers Meer.
Through this project more than one thousand instruments have been donated to meritorious students who do not have the means to purchase them.
Throughout its history, the National System of Open Schools has worked in 180 communities in 28 provinces. Each year, its local centers perform between 350 to 450 cultural activities throughout the country. These activities are supported by the communities themselves, which means that they are not a burden to the local economy.
Last year, this community project benefited a total of 58,125 Dominicans in 22 provinces.
“This program is the one that manages the largest number of musical bands in the Dominican Republic, some 30 overall, where the students learn to read music and play an instrument,” highlighted Mejía.
Once the students complete the Open School program, many will enter the bands operated by the military and national policy. They also go on to teach in public and private schools, or join various cultural groups. In the last few years, 57 members of the System were named as monitors and professors of artistic education by the Ministry of Education.
Frequently, the graduates will also receive scholarships to continue their studies abroad, participate in international contests where they have the opportunity of exchanging experiences with peers from other latitudes.
The parents of the students also participate in the programs sponsored by the Open Schools. They also participate in arts and crafts workshops, gastronomy courses and jewelry making. Through this training they can improve their quality of life.
Recently the Central American and Caribbean nations, meeting in Santo Domingo, declared the National System of Open Schools a model that should be replicated in other nations.
Equally, the Open School’s orchestras and bands received 12 awards during the International Festival of Music Bands during the 6th Festival of Music Bands, held in Santiago.
Of the 2,300 students registered at the Open Schools, the majority is concentrated in the Greater Santo Domingo area (42%), followed by Espaillat Province (12%) and San Cristóbal Province (10%), situated west of Santo Domingo.
The wind instruments are the most popular among the young student population, with 45.31% of students currently studying these instruments. At the same time, 2.81% prefer to study the country’s folk music, while 0.69% has concentrated on the piano and 0.56% in the violin.
The second most important artistic discipline has been contemporary dance, with 18.04%, and the third most popular is painting, with 15.02%.
Las ultimas noticias/novedades de lo que acontece con los Dominicanos en las Grandes Ligas durante toda la temporada 2019.