ARTS CENTRE IS THE LARGEST OPEN-AIR CRAFT MARKET IN GHANA. It is located in downtown Accra on High Street, adjacent to the Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum and across from the Supreme Court Building. Arts Centre is a wonderful maze of more than 100 stalls. Here you can get everything–clothing, beads, jewelry, masks, fans, straw rugs, woven and leather purses and briefcases, wallets, batik paintings, drums and other instruments, and fabric cloth. Our good friend, Adamu, has a shop in Arts Centre and was especially helpful in negotiating with his fellow businessman to get everything the group desired.
The Arts Centre is a magnificent place to discover the best of what Ghana, and by extension, the entire region of West Africa has to offer. It can be a hectic experience for international visitors not used to the aggressive but thrilling process of bargaining…
You hear the rush of feet as hands grab you in different directions, “Please,
sister, have a look at my shop!” Tourists equal big money and for market sellers,
this competition for foreign dough can easily turn into shouting matches about
somebody’s mama. Other market sellers chew the fat with one another, in jolly
banter, laughter, gossip or political discussions about corrupt state leaders. On
the far left side of Arts Centre, this main crafts market for tourists, young men
play a vigorous game of football as the Atlantic Ocean, just beyond the market,
roars against the thick, black rocks. At the front left of Arts Centre, a sleepy
restaurant’s speakers are tuned into a local radio station playing U.S. hip hop
and R&B music. Rastafarian market sellers line the benches or are propped
against shop walls, intermittently watching the football game as they pass the
day in casual conversation. A couple in the group beat djembe drums out of
boredom or to draw the attention of backpackers who might want lessons.
The EBC group, although a bit overwhelmed by the attention they received from market sellers, truly enjoyed selecting souvenirs to take back home. So much so that many returned again for a few last minute things!
Take a peek at our first stop to the Arts Centre: