CIAMO is a center for arts education promotion, curriculum development, and cultural research located in Ouidah, Benin, a historic center of a progressive West-African country. In the past years Benin's primary school system has rapidly expanded due to an effort to offer free and better quality primary school education to every child in Benin. These efforts have exhausted the system and unfortunately arts education has often been neglected.
Recognizing that it is well situated to aid a struggling system and to have a significant impact on the future of students, the CIAMO team offers itself whole-heartedly as promoters of a well-balanced education rooted in tradition and guided by international educational standards.
CIAMO is hosted in a brand-new state-of-the art building on the grounds of Ganvè Primary School in Ouidah, Benin. The building is elevated on columns, providing a sheltered, open-air space for outdoor activities and performances. There are two large halls which are built to be used as classrooms and as performance spaces. An office sits behind the classrooms as well as a space which is being transformed into multi-media studio.
Ouidah, at the historic and cultural heart of Benin, is the perfect home to CIAMO. Once a major slave-trading port, Ouidah’s cultural history is a unique mélange of African and European countries that passed through during the time of the slave trade.
Ouidah has remained an important city in Benin since that time. Today it hosts a wide variety of cultural activities. On any given weekend, a visitor to Ouidah might see the colorfully costumed egun-egun or revenant dancers on the street or a festival at the historic Fort Français.
Ouidah is especially known as the home to the Vudon (sometimes known as Voodoo) Religion and hosts a yearly International Vudon Festival on the beach. For more information about Ouidah's Vudon tradition, visit our Vudon blog -ouidahvudon.blogspot.com.
This wide milieu cultural activities serves as the perfect backdrop to an arts education program like CIAMO’s.