A news report on Viasat 1, a local Television station has revealed that the Arts Centre, located in Accra, may be facing collapse due to low patronage.

Some of the shop owners interviewed gave some of the reasons for low patronage.

One said the Ghanaian escorts of tourists often revealed their bargaining plan to foreigners. This made it difficult to secure good deals with expatriate clients.

“Sometimes if you mention the price, the tour leader can tell the person, this is not how they sell it. This is not even a quality one”, a shop attendant said.

Another attributed the low patronage to Chinese businessmen whom they alleged copied and reproduced their crafts on a mass scale. The businessmen often sold them at cheaper prices.

“The Chinese come into the shop pretending to like our products but they never buy. They return later to Ghana with inferior versions”, one lady said.

The Public Relations Officer of the Arts Center Amartey Kizito, said local appreciation for artistic work had waned.

Some people think that arts should go with no cost…they don’t consider the artistic impact”, he lamented.

The Centre is the largest open-air craft market in Ghana. It is a wonderful maze of clothing, beads, jewelry, masks, fans, straw rugs, woven and leather purses and briefcases, wallets, batik paintings, drums and more.

It is located in downtown Accra on High Street, adjacent to the Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum and across from the Supreme Court Building.

It has about 181 Kente shops, 224 crafts dealers and 74 producers. But Management said they could not readily know how many artists and shop owners have abandoned the Centre.

Photo credit: Victoria Okoye