Ouidah International Center for Art and Music (Centre International d'Art et Musique de Ouidah, CIAMO) Opens In Benin; School Is First Of Its Kind To Offer Art And Music Education To Primary School Children And Teachers
Benin, Africa The Ouidah International Center for Art and Music (Centre International d'Art et Musique de Ouidah, CIAMO) has opened in Benin, Africa, with a goal of providing art and music education to primary school children and teachers, and to offer professional development seminars to area artists. The first school of its kind in the country, Ouidah International Center for Art and Music will offer music and art classes (folk, traditional and modern) taught by a variety of resident and visiting international professionals, and the school itself will be staffed by American teachers funded by the United States Peace Corps, electric guitarist Leni Stern, and a variety of local artists.
The art and music school will teach 300 children and art and music will be part of the daily curriculum, free to all children. It is similar to the art and music model we have in the US for public school students where children in elementary schools have exposure to art and music as part of their curriculum. The Ouidah International Center for Art and Music will be a collaboration between the community , the teachers of the school, and US-based teachers, teaching a variety of styles including those that are native to Benin. We will also be using the school as a model for primary school teacher training throughout Benin so that teachers throughout the country can improve their arts and music teaching skills.
Six years in development, a variety of people and organizations have collaborated to get this project off the ground including founder, Sarah DuPont, Gigi Hancock (wife of world renowned jazz musician Herbie Hancock), Oscar Kidjo, Francis Layeye, the US Peace Corps and the Ministries of Culture and Education in Benin. The center includes two large multipurpose rooms, offices, and studio space and is located on the ground of Ecole Primaire Publique de Ganve in Ouidah.
Founder Sarah Dupont, environmental activist and humanitarian, has been working for 25 years creating and implementing art and music curriculum in public schools in the United States.
Gigi Hancock, wife of legendary jazz musician Herbie Hancock, has been active in the arts and music community since the 60's and has been an active supporter of the project since its inception. John Mark Feilmeyer, who will oversee the school on daily basis, is a Peace Corps response volunteer who has worked in Benin for two years and will direct music education activities at the center.