Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan will dedicate the first phase of Kerala Arts & Crafts Village at Vellar near Kovalam here on January 16, as a sprawling campus to promote and showcase Kerala’s vibrant art and cultural heritage.
Spread around 8.5 acres of panoramic locale, Kerala Arts and Crafts Village has been designed and implemented by Uralungal Labour Contract Co-operative Society Ltd (ULCCS Ltd) for Kerala Tourism Department, making it an ideal destination for visitors and art buffs alike to enjoy the best of Kerala’s traditional, folk and ethnic art, craft and performing traditions. ULCCS has completed the first phase of the project at a cost of Rs 20 crore.
Tourism Minister Kadakampally Surendran will preside over the inaugural function, which will be attended by Tourism Secretary Rani George and Tourism Director P Bala Kiran.
“Kerala Martial Arts Academy, floated by the State Government to preserve and promote centuries old Kalaripayattu, will also be housed in the Arts and Crafts Village,” said Surendran at a press conference at Vellar last evening.
The key features of the complex include an amphitheatre, museums, studios for craftspeople to work and an art gallery, enabling the visitors to have a hands-on feel of the rich and diverse heritage of Kerala handed down through centuries.
The campus has dedicated spaces for artisans and craftspeople, mostly from south Kerala, to work and sell their exquisite and authentic products. Visitors can buy souvenirs and curios to add to their collection.
“A part of Kerala’s southern tourism circuit, Kerala Arts and Crafts Village is a unique project to present the splendid artistic legacy of south Kerala before a larger audience. It will be a go-to spot for tourists in the post-COVID phase, besides being an easy-to-reach family outing site for people in the region,” the Tourism Minister said.
Usha Thakur, Minister for Tourism, Madhya Pradesh, along with a team of officials from her state visited the Village on Wednesday. She on Wednesday formalised a pact with the Kerala Government for replicating the state’s pioneering Responsible Tourism model in Madhya Pradesh.
“Kerala Arts and Crafts Village has all the potential to be a hub of cultural events and spectacles for domestic and foreign tourists. It can also be an academic destination on traditional arts and crafts,” said Bala Kiran.
The facility has modules for over 750 craftsmen and artisans excelling in a variety of traditions to work on their concepts, while being looked on by visitors. The artists to be engaged by the campus include those working on a variety of materials like wood, bamboo, reed, coconut shells, palm leaf, coir and cotton. More than 50 crafts are presented in 28 studios with facilities for production, display and sales.
The village has the presence of personalities like Shri Gopi Master, who was conferred with Padma Shri for his contributions to handloom, and KR Mohanan, who had won the Shilpa Guru Award.
An annual international theme-based art and craft biennale, which will feature paintings, terracotta, handloom, sculptures, and reed and bamboo products along with workshops, will be conducted in the Village. Craft food festivals (in April) and arts festivals (in September) are other highlights of the village calendar. Besides, an annual international handicraft products festival