The clock has begun ticking for the 2016 edition of the Festival of Pacific Arts.
On May 22, 2015, the Festival of Pacific Arts Coordinating Committee, along with Gov. Eddie B. Calvo, FestPac Coordinating Committee honorary chair Christine Calvo, the Guam Visitors Bureau, the Guam Council on the Arts and Humanities, and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community kicked off the one-year countdown until the 12th Festival of Pacific Arts officially begins.
“Our island will be the center for the arts and culture of the Pacific in 2016. We are rolling out welcome mats and polishing up our island gem so it will shine brighter when the local and international communities come together for the Festival of Pacific Arts,” said Gov. Calvo
Guam will be hosting 27 island nations from across the Pacific for what is called the “Olympics of Pacific Arts” and the largest cultural event to take place in the island’s history from May 22 to June 4, 2016.
The location for the world-class event will be in the heart of Guam’s capital of Hagatña at the Paseo de Susana Park. Millions of dollars are being invested to prepare facilities so that Guam can appropriately welcome and host the thousands of people expected to participate in FestPac. The opening and closing ceremonies will be held at the Paseo Stadium, while a Festival Village will be constructed next to the Chamorro Village for the visiting island nations. Through federal grants and already budgeted funding, renovations to the Paseo Stadium, Guerrero Softball Field, Guam Seal Park, Guam Fishermen’s Co-op and Paseo Recreation Center will soon be underway. Additionally, lighting and landscape improvements will be made, including the installation of the Guam Fishermen’s platform. All of the updated facilities will compliment the newly restored Plaza De Espana and soon to be completed Guam and Chamorro Educational Facility, or Guam Museum.
“Guam’s capital city will definitely be the hub for all the visiting island nations to experience FestPac,” said first lady Christine Calvo. “Through this next year, we will continue to extend our invitation to the entire global community to visit Guam in 2016. We are honored to host an event that unites the different cultures of the Pacific on our island paradise.”
“We look forward to welcoming the various delegations and for people of all walks of life to immerse themselves in the culture and arts of the Pacific,” said FestPac Coordinating Committee chair and GVB general manager Nathan Denight. “Our FestPac committees are working hard to prepare for this once in a lifetime opportunity and we want our local community to feel proud and excited that this prestigious gathering will begin one year from now.”
The theme for FestPac 2016 is, “Håfa Iyo-ta, Håfa Guinahå-ta, Håfa Ta Påtte, Dinanña’ Sunidu Siha Giya Pasifiku,” which translates to “What we own, what we have, what we share – United Voices of the Pacific.”
SPC is the custodian of the Festival of Pacific Arts, which has been held every four years since the inaugural festival was staged in Fiji in 1972.
Speaking from the organization’s headquarters in Noumea, New Caledonia, the SPC Director-General, Dr. Colin Tukuitonga, paid tribute to the impressive early progress made by the FestPac Coordinating Committee.
“The government of Guam is driving the preparations and planning through committed leadership and much enthusiasm towards hosting the delegations from 26 Pacific countries and territories,” Tukuitonga said.
“The fact this festival has grown over more than 40 years to become a world-class cultural exchange and celebration of the rich diversity of Pacific Island communities is a testament to the host governments, the region’s cultural producers and to the thousands of people who come along and support it,” he said.
The large-scale cultural event gives Guam an incredible economic and socio-cultural opportunity to truly showcase the arts and culture of the region through various exhibits, forums, performances and workshops. For more information on Guam’s preparations, log on to www.guamfestpac2016.com.
The Festival of Pacific Arts is a traveling festival that is hosted every four years by a different country in the Pacific and features delegations from 27 participating island nations. FestPac was conceived by SPC to stop the erosion of traditional practices by sharing and exchanging culture. (SPC)