Terra Academy for The Arts (TAFTA), a provider of world-class creative education, career support, and entrepreneurial opportunities, has marked the graduation ceremony of its 1st cohort with a glamourous event at Terra Kulture Arena. The ceremony which was held on Friday, 10th February 2023, conferred degrees to almost two thousand students who successfully completed its rigorous program on relevant skills in theatre arts and entrepreneurship.
Established by Nigeria’s leading culture and art center, Terra Kulture, the creative academy’s goal is to build and empower a community of young Nigerians who will impact the economy and society by transforming the creative industry. The program offered an innovative curriculum with specialized courses in sound design, stage lighting, animation, and scriptwriting, all of which were incorporated with entrepreneurship modules.
Speaking at the event, Bolanle Austen-Peters described her motivation for the creative academy’s establishment and congratulated the graduates on a well-deserved accomplishment. She said, “The dream of TAFTA is a story of possibilities. It was during the pandemic when industries were shutting down and few were harder hit than the creative industry, that we realized how important it is for us to use our creativity to create wealth. As Terra Kulture, we trained hundreds of talents each year who have become superstars in their respective fields, an opportunity we wanted to extend to the greater public.”
“TAFTA was established as a gateway to impacting the lives of young Nigerians. The training we provide allows our graduates to build their entrepreneurial skillsets, ensuring that they are capable of providing for themselves and their families. I am very delighted that what was thought impossible has been made possible. My sincere congratulations to our graduates today who have taken the next steps to transform their lives.” She concluded.
The exclusive gathering was well attended by eminent personalities, industry veterans, as well as up-and-coming stars who also had benefitted from mentorship under the Terra Kulture umbrella. These high-profile Nigerians included Alhaji Lai Mohammed CON, Minister of Information and Culture, Federal Republic of Nigeria; Prof. Duro Oni, President, Nigerian Academy of Letters; Rev Olasupo Ayokunle, President, Christian Association of Nigeria; Femi Odugbemi, award-winning Filmmaker; Omotola Jalade Ekeinde, Actress; Deyemi Okanlawon, Actor; and Mike Afolarin, Actor; amongst other key players in the industry. The ceremony was also hosted by Akah Nnani, a famed Nollywood actor.
Delivering the keynote speech, the Nigerian Minister of Information and Culture spoke on the long-term impact of TAFTA’s program on national development. He stated, “Nigeria’s creative industry is the new crude oil. Today, Nigeria has taken the world by storm and found itself in the global space, be it through music, movies, fashion, literature, or theatre. As Nigeria’s population comprises a 70% youth demographic, many of whom are unemployed or underemployed, TAFTA could not come at a more auspicious time. I can say with conviction that TAFTA is contributing its quota to the efforts to solve the unemployment crisis in Nigeria. I also want to congratulate the graduates and admonish them to make the best use of this rare opportunity afforded to them. TAFTA continues to be a partner of progress and its efforts are impressive and highly commendable. The Ministry looks forward to exploring greater means of partnerships with TAFTA to extend their invaluable training across the length and breadth of Nigeria”.
Terra Academy for the Arts was launched in 2021 with the mission to upskill 65,000 underserved Nigerian youths through innovative creative education and practical training strategically designed by handpicked experts in the creative industry. The initial program runs for six weeks, with an additional two-week practical workshop designed to ensure the hands-on application of the course materials. Notable alumni from the academy include Moshood Fattah, best known for his role as ‘Michael’ in Netflix’s hit series “Far From Home”; Queen Celestine, Theatre performer and Miss Nigeria Universe 2014, and Bunmi Olunloyo, Actor, dancer, and fitness instructor.
In 2022, TAFTA expanded its offerings with the announcement of the opening of six physical learning centers for the benefit of students who lacked access to the internet, electricity, or compatible devices. The academy also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Screenwriters Guild of Nigeria (SWGN) to strengthen the support offered to students by easing the admission process into the professional guild.
TAFTA’s training program is set to receive its 2nd cohort of students with the recent announcement of its reopened admissions portal. The academy has urged interested parties located in Lagos, Ogun, and Kano states to submit their application for the free program on their website www.terraacademyforarts.com. Requiring only a senior secondary school qualification, the primarily e-learning-based courses will impart relevant skills needed to succeed as professionals in the creative industry.