Founded in November, 1991 by “a small group of dedicated people working to support and encourage a national phenomenon… the incredible diversity of art expression in our country,” TASA, a non-profit organisation, has awarded grants through its Arts Advisory Council for education, exhibitions and performances as they relate to the arts.
Some of the awardees who have distinguished themselves include the first TASA grant recipient, Liam Teague – Head of Steelpan Studies at Northern Illinois University and Co-Director of the NIU Steelband; Vel Lewis – Deputy Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Arts and Multiculturalism; Rubadiri Victor – President, Artist Coalition of Trinidad and Tobago (ACTT); Danielle Lyndersay – Senior Lecturer and Coordinator at the Theatre Arts Centre for Creative and Festival Arts, UWI; Lutalo Masimba (Brother Resistance) – President, TUCO; Tony Hall – playwright, Lordstreet Theatre; Ella Andall – calypsonian; Penelope Spencer (Necessary Arts) and Cecilia Salazar – actresses; Ken Crichlow – artist; Noble Douglas Dance Co; La Chapelle Dance Co and Arts-in-Action.
“Fete for the Arts” was TASA’s first fundraiser, was held on the March 1, 1992 at the home of former Barbados High Commissioner to Trinidad and Tobago, Frank da Silva, then Dean of the Diplomatic Corps. Since then, it has found a home at Queen’s Hall. The Alliance gained momentum through its affiliation with da Silva, whose vision for TASA set high standards in the next decades. TASA held many fund-raisers in collaboration with various diplomatic communities; these joint ventures permitted cultural exchanges benefitting artists from all countries involved.
The Arts Support Alliance is presently in a bid to become a mainstay for young and upcoming artists in the industry. Such an alliance is critical to the developmental process and survival of the sector. However, it cannot be done without the buy-in and input of artists or without the financial support of sponsors.