The first phase of a Save Ormsby Hall initiative which began about four months ago is coming to an end. It’s “a huge project,” says designer, well-known artist Laura Facey, who is spearheading it, and the movement to save the venerable building at 3 Victoria Avenue as a community center still has work to do. way to go.
In April, Facey removed five truckloads of old, broken down and long-abandoned furniture, appliances and equipment from the venue, then installed some 40 to 50 works of art, valued at millions of dollars. It took a month and the exhibition officially opened with the introduction of a second artistic genre, music.
It took the form of a recital on May 1 by husband and wife team Peter Ashbourne (violin) and Rosina Christina Moder (recorder). Ashbourne had played on stage at Ormsby Hall as a child, during early music exams.
The exhibition ended on July 31 and during the next week the work will be moved. Some have already been entered into the National Gallery of Jamaica’s current biennial, Facey said in an interview.
“Ormsby Hall has a new owner (the Blue Power Group of Companies), and we hope they will use it primarily as a community space,” she continued. Acknowledging the challenge this would pose for owners, who need to earn money, she said: “It’s a huge project, but if the many interested parties come together and help, maybe we can make a difference. support. In the meantime, we are still talking.
Project chair Dr. Elizabeth Ward, professor of urology and consultant urologist at the University of the West Indies, Mona, and chair of the board of directors of the internationally linked Violence Prevention Alliance (VPA), said specified with the gleaner. “We need an endowment fund to help prevent violence,” she said.
She explained that the fund would be used, among other things, to organize music and art lessons for children. The context was that Ormsby Hall is “a neutral space” between various violence-prone communities. “There are very few spaces like this, with both the land and the building,” Dr Ward said. She revealed that during the first years of the COVID-19 pandemic, she organized drumming lessons for children, which led to an improvement in the (aggressive) behavior of young people.
The VPA was officially created in January 2004 during the meeting organized by the World Health Organization on the milestones of a global campaign for the prevention of violence. The VPA is an opportunity for groups from all sectors (governmental, non-governmental and private) and levels (community, national, regional and international) to unite around a shared vision and approach to prevention. of violence that both address the root causes of violence and improve services for victims.
Ormsby Hall was built in 1930 and is named after the Reverend Stephen Ormsby, rector of nearby St Michael and All Angels Anglican Church. It was built to host public events and musical recitals but at different times housed a primary school and several families.