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The New Year brings a new era for Chewstick

Bermuda Sun

5 January 2011 - Original Source

By Sarah Lagan

“Incredible” was how Chewstick founder Gavin Smith described the imminent opening of the Chewstick Neo Griot Lounge and Café — a dream he has had since he launched the ­creative arts movement ­exactly eight years ago.

The ground level venue is due to open on the corner of Elliott and Court Street ­later this month and will be home to live music and ­spoken word performances, artist showcases, work shops, lectures, as well as functioning as an art gallery and public meeting space. The organization has come a long way since the days of merely hosting weekly open mic sessions.

This weekend the foundation gave the public a sneak preview of the property ­attended by the Premier Paula Cox and Governor Sir. Richard Gozney. The preview was followed by an evening of entertainment at the Spinning Wheel Entertainment Complex on Court Street — the last event Chewstick would host at the venue before moving into its new space.

Mr. Smith sat down with the Bermuda Sun to talk about the new venue and his plans for the future.

Why are you opening the new venue now?

“We've been trying ­aggressively for three years to do this but it has been difficult to find the right mix of space and place.

“We have always made it part of our mandate to be somewhere that allows for the most people to come.

“There are places on Front Street and Bermudiana Road where dress codes and prices are designed to keep certain people out. We want to attract the broadest demographic appeal.

“We opened our headquarters below the café last year with the intention of buying the whole building from Eugene Clark which we still intend to do ­eventually.

What will you be hosting at the new venue?

“We will have movie nights, ­individual artist and band showcases, ­lectures and workshops. People are itching to rent the place whether it’s for Salsa or just a meeting