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New Red Rocks art gallery a boon for conservation efforts in northern Rwanda

New Red Rocks art gallery a boon for conservation efforts in northern Rwanda

A new art gallery that aims to engage the local community in conservation, tourism and sustainable development is set to open near the entrance of Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park. The initiative is a partnership between Red Rocks Cultural Centre, artisans at the Kinigi Community Commercial Complex (KCCC), as well as La Pailotte, a popular eating joint in Musanze.

The art gallery will operate out of Butorwa 1 village at a place that has become home to KCCC since it opened its doors to a group of 12 cooperative members dealing in making of arts and handcrafts. The gallery targets education, art, research and community development programs.

Theogene Ntuyenabu, the coordinator of KCCC programs, says the main aim of the gallery and debate emporium is to engage the local community in identifying their skills and to involve community members in conservation and sustainable tourism around the park.

“We are going to involve the community in planting of trees, conservation and tourism talks and debates while at the same time creating avenues through which the locals can sell their art and handcrafts to tourists and subsequently gain from their skills and talents,” says Ntuyenabu.

Ntuyenabu observes that the establishment of the Red Rocks Art Gallery is going to create opportunities for youths to harness their skills and enhance their productivity and employability.

So far, work to refurbish one of the buildings to be used as a gallery and debate emporium is going on and Red Rocks hopes that when operational, the gallery is going to be a vibrant place where sustainable tourism and conservation talks are going to be held, involving tourists and the local community.

“Our major target is to help the local community engage in profitable activities that improve their livelihoods, while at the same time we hope to incorporate them in several of the programs of Red Rocks Cultural Centre,” says Ntuyenabu.

Greg Bakunzi, the founder of Red Rocks Cultural Centre, says his organization has decided to partner with the Kinigi Community Commercial Center as a way of bringing together community development, conservation and tourism. Kinigi, home to the Volcanoes National Park, is the hub of tourism activities in Musanze and the country in general and.

“The Red Rocks Art Gallery is part of our innovation to also bring a workshop at the center where guests and community members will be able to enjoy art of conservation through action,” Bakunzi says.

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