Senator drafting bill for long-term FestPac funding

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Noting the cultural and economic significance of Guam’s longtime participation in the festival, Sen. Kelly Marsh-Taitano said it’s important that GovGuam is prepared and has funding set aside to support the Guam delegation’s attendance every four years when the event takes place.

Senator Kelly Marsh Taitano is drafting a bill that would provide a long-term funding plan for Guam’s participation in the Festival of the Pacific Arts (FestPac).

The draft seeks to ensure that funding is always set aside for Guam’s participation in FestPac by putting aside funding every year, instead of scrambling for funds at the last minute.

FestPac is a traveling festival hosted every four years by a different country in the Pacific. It brings together artists and cultural practitioners from around the Pacific region for two weeks of festivity, fellowship, and goodwill.

Noting the cultural and economic significance of Guam’s longtime participation in the festival, Marsh-Taitano said it’s important that GovGuam is prepared and has funding set aside to support the Guam delegation’s attendance every four years when the event takes place.

“By being proactive and allocating the funding well ahead of time instead of the year of the event, we can be thoughtful in our preparations and ensure our delegation’s success,” the senator said.

She added: “As long-time proponents of CHamoru culture, such as my late father-in-law Carlos P. Taitano and Judy Flores, have noted, it was through the regular connection and interaction with other Pacific peoples at FestPac that CHamorus were inspired to reconnect with and revive aspects of their indigenous culture. The experience has and continues to create a new sense of cultural pride among both young and old.”

Beyond the event being a major driving force in CHamoru cultural revitalization, the senator said participating in FestPac has also contributed to strengthening Guam’s local economy in numerous ways.

“Our cultural industries were in large part established and developed in many ways because of Guam’s consistent participation in FestPac. Cultural revitalization and thriving cultural businesses are central reasons why Guam has extremely high rates of visitors to our island. Seeing and experiencing CHamoru culture have long been stated by tourists as what they desire when they choose Guam over other destinations,” the senator said.

Meanwhile, those interested in applying to be a FestPac delegate for next year’s festival in Hawaii only have until 4 p.m. on Thursday, October 31, to submit their application with supporting materials to the Council of the Arts and Humanities Agency (CAHA) Office or via email to jacqueline.balbas@caha.guam.gov.

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