Since 2010, From Gainesville with Love has been heading up the Gainesville/Jacmel Sister City Program, to help with redevelopment in Haiti’s cultural capital of Jacmel, a southern beach town, once the capital of the French colonial empire.
Jacmel is a very special town, the joke being everybody is an artist there. Sometimes it feels that way, and over 80 artists and arts-inclined residents from Gainesville and around the US have been inspired by this community over our many delegations that have been hosted by them over the last 10 years.
Jacmel has trained scores of filmmakers at its Cine Institute, boasts a music school Dessaix Baptiste, with over 1,200 students, and is home to many art collectives. Its largest, San Da’, trains and work with some of the finest artists in Haiti and puts on Jacmel’s Karnaval, renowned across the world for its mastery of the art of papier-mache.
Since 2010, From Gainesville with Love has worked with leaders in the cultural and political community to help with their set forth goals of restoring Jacmel to its role as the premier destination in the Caribbean for cultural tourism. They have partnered with University of Florida’s Tourism department and the Jacmel mayor’s office in creating a redevelopment plan that includes a comprehensive trash collection plan, a tourism office, and the creation of an international music festival.
Additionally, we are producing a documentary that focuses on the exceptional arts culture of Haiti, and the role that the arts play in the lives of everyday Haitians.
The backbone of our program, though, is the relationship building and culture sharing between Jacmel and Gainesville, as well as its budding friendship cities of New Orleans and Austin, Texas.
Each year artists from Jacmel visit the US, have the opportunity to share their arts and culture with school children in Gainesville, collaborate musically and artistically with local artists, and learn best practices in art by participation in Gainesville’s Downtown Arts Festival.
Check out the Facebook page here.