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Arts in the VI

>> Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Last night I was fortunate enough to witness something exciting in the Virgin Islands. Unfortunately, ill prepared as I usually am, I did not have a camera or even a cell phone to take pictures. Before I get to that though, a little background.

Most people don't realize it, but the Virgin Islands are FILLED with artists of every sort. The father of Impressionism, Camille Pissaro, was born in St. Thomas in 1830.

There are too many artists to even list here.

There is an artists' colony (sort of) at Tillett Gardens. It was started by a famous silkscreen artist named Jim Tillett in the 60's. Here you can find a candle maker, a community theatre, Everyday Clay, Ridvan Studios, an art supply store, and more. The picture to the right was taken while I worked at a shop in Tillett's painting glass and other things. Yes, that is the Crimson Ghost on my apron and believe you me, that apron has a LOT more paint on it now!

There are also a ton of local crafters, wood whittlers, galleries and musicians. There is a native arts co-op here as well. The guy in the picture with the blue and white hat is the hubs with longer hair. I actually have a few of my mini paintings in this shop.

So with such a plethora of artists/galleries/art floating around these parts, why are there no art/alternative arts council? Well now we have one of these covered. Recently, some people on the island (some of them friends of mine) started a non-profit, 7-minus-7, or the Alternative Art Alliance of St. Thomas. They are having a hard time with the name. Artists! Last night, after going to a drive- in movie (more of a hike-in) on Water Island, a friend let us know that he had some art up in a warehouse near Pueblo (local grocer).

After taking the ferry back from Water Island, we went right over and I was BLOWN AWAY! They have converted an old warehouse into an amazing expression of artistic freedom and community. The walls are open to anyone who wants to mural on them and a few of them already have work by Vincent Bambini. The show last night was "Affordable Art." All the pieces were under $300. They had a "band" playing. Mostly it was an act of revolving musicians, but they were good. They have couches set up in the main warehouse where the murals and band are and all the art was in what I assume used to be the offices. They play cult movies on one of the walls and have a bit of a bar.

I have been invited to participate as many of the people there last night knew me. How I will participate is beyond me, but I am looking forward to spending more time there. Next time I promise pictures. Sorry, no science today. I actually have to paint more bags. The Butterfly Farm almost sold out!


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