Interview: Floor from City Arts

Floor from City Arts

Floor has take over as the managing director of City Arts, a lively and growing art centre in Kimihurura. She talks to us about working in this unique environment and about what the future has in store. Check out the City Arts website or follow them on Facebook. They can be reached at info@cityartskigali.com.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

My name is Floor Oomen. In 2013 me and my family moved from Holland to Rwanda for a beautiful experience abroad, both personal as professional. Initially I graduated as an architect, but have always worked as a consultant and a project manager in real estate. In Rwanda I was ready for something totally different and City Arts was there looking for a new managing director. I am over the moon with being part of such a unique centre and our wonderful City Arts team.

What are your impressions of this city so far?

Kigali is a peaceful city, beautiful green and many many great views on the thousand hills! Every day Rwandans and Rwanda-lovers initiate new businesses here. You discover new bars, restaurants, and much more. With this, Kigali shows a great potential of what it is capable of. Potential of people as well as a growing demand of things to do such as sports and cultural activities. For the latter, City Arts is there providing many friends a good time.

How did you end up working with City Arts?

When the founder of City Arts, Caroline Peixoto, moved back to the US, City Arts was taken over by a Rwandan owner, Anita Haguma, and they began looking for a new managing director. I am very happy that they gave me the chance to make the most of this job.

What sorts of things are you hoping to accomplish as the managing director in the near future?

There is a huge demand for after school activities and for adults to enjoy themselves, learn, develop, and have a good time. That is exactly what City Arts is good at and what we love to do.

Our aim is to let City Arts grow, offer more and diverse classes, and having wonderful performances for all Rwandans at the end of each term. Next to that we are a community-based organization. We believe everybody is welcome in our centre. For that reason we want to provide scholarships for those who are talented and dreaming of being a performing artist, but cannot afford the class fees. We must grow and aim to reach the point where we can provide these scholarships ourselves. For now, next to growth, we are concentrating on finding the right donors.

How are you enjoying your new Kigali career?

I jumped right in there. From a world where I worked with large professional companies I shifted to a world with many tiny happy people running around in our after school classes, adult creatives who explore their capabilities of ballet, painting, yoga etc. Myself and the team have one goal: providing Rwandans a good and valuable time together with others. When we succeed in that, you see this in people’s faces. That is the great benefit of my beautiful Kigali career.

What have been some challenges of the job so far?

As a business, we are trying to grow. Finding the right capable teachers is a challenge. They are out there, we only have to find them!

What have been some rewarding experiences?

The best experience is to just walk around in the centre. Our students, kids and adults, come from all over the world and have various backgrounds, religions, habits, and thoughts. I can tell we have got a great and rich group of friends for that reason. When you see people connecting with others they normally would not have met and enjoying this… that picture is unforgettable.

What do you think the future holds for City Arts?

City Arts will be well-known in Kigali as the premier performing arts centre where everybody is welcome, where dreams can come true, where people can amaze themselves with what they are capable of!

About Kirsty

A Canadian who left in 2001 to wander around the world in search of sun, beautiful views and goat brochettes. Found Kigali in July 2010 and it seems like the perfect fit. I expect to be here until I get kicked out for defiantly walking on the grass while wearing flip flops.