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The Art Scene in USVI: Galleries and Exhibitions

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The U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI) are a vibrant hub for artistic expression, with a thriving art scene that encompasses galleries, exhibitions, and community events. The art in the USVI reflects the rich cultural heritage and natural beauty of the islands, making it a unique destination for art enthusiasts.

St. Croix

St. Croix is a key player in the USVI art scene. The island is home to numerous galleries that showcase local talent and offer a glimpse into the island’s creative spirit.

Christiansted Art Walks Christiansted, one of the main towns on St. Croix, hosts monthly Art Walks where galleries open their doors to the public. These events are a great opportunity to meet local artists, see their work, and even purchase unique pieces. The walks often feature live music and refreshments, making them a lively community gathering​​.

Caribbean Museum Center for the Arts Located in Frederiksted, the Caribbean Museum Center for the Arts (CMCArts) is a cornerstone of the island’s cultural life. CMCArts offers rotating exhibitions featuring local and regional artists, as well as workshops and educational programs aimed at fostering a deeper appreciation for the arts​.

St. Thomas

St. Thomas also boasts a robust art scene with several notable galleries and art spaces.

Seven Minus Seven An avant-garde gallery located in Charlotte Amalie, Seven Minus Seven is dedicated to contemporary art. The gallery features a diverse range of works from both local and international artists, often pushing the boundaries of traditional art forms. It is known for its eclectic exhibitions and vibrant opening events.

Gallery St. Thomas Located in the heart of the shopping district, Gallery St. Thomas showcases a wide array of artworks, including paintings, sculptures, and jewelry. The gallery focuses on local artists, providing a platform for them to reach a broader audience. Visitors can find pieces that capture the essence of island life and the natural beauty of the Caribbean​.

St. John

St. John, the smallest of the three main islands, also has a thriving art community.

Bajo el Sol Gallery Bajo el Sol Gallery, located in Mongoose Junction, Cruz Bay, is an artist-owned cooperative that highlights the works of local artists. The gallery features paintings, ceramics, and handcrafted jewelry. It also hosts regular artist talks and workshops, fostering a close-knit artistic community​​.

The Art of Open Studios St. John artists often participate in Open Studios, where they invite the public into their creative spaces. This initiative allows visitors to see the artistic process firsthand and engage directly with the artists. It’s an intimate experience that offers a deeper understanding of the inspiration and effort behind each piece.

Art Events and Festivals

The USVI hosts several annual art events and festivals that attract both locals and tourists. These events celebrate the rich artistic traditions of the islands and provide a platform for artists to showcase their work.

Art Thursdays in St. Croix Art Thursdays are a beloved tradition in Christiansted, where galleries, shops, and restaurants stay open late, offering special exhibitions, live music, and refreshments. It’s a festive evening that brings the community together and celebrates the local art scene​.

Cultural Extravaganzas Throughout the year, various cultural festivals incorporate art as a central theme. Events like the St. Thomas Carnival and the St. John Festival feature art exhibitions, craft fairs, and performances that highlight the islands’ cultural diversity and creativity.

Conclusion

The art scene in the USVI is a dynamic blend of traditional and contemporary influences, reflecting the islands’ rich cultural heritage and stunning natural landscapes. Whether you’re exploring the galleries of Christiansted, attending an art walk, or visiting a museum, the USVI offers a vibrant and engaging experience for art lovers. Plan your visit to coincide with one of the many art events and immerse yourself in the creative spirit of the islands.

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Arts

Street Art and Murals: A Tour of USVI’s Urban Art

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Exploring the street art and murals across the U.S. Virgin Islands reveals a rich tapestry of creativity and community spirit. These vibrant artworks not only beautify the surroundings but also reflect the cultural heritage and contemporary issues of the islands. This guide takes you on a journey through some of the most notable murals and street art installations in St. Thomas and St. Croix.

St. Thomas: A Canvas of Culture and Color

St. Thomas is a hotspot for mural art, where public spaces transform into vibrant galleries that celebrate the island’s heritage and address social themes.

  1. Crown Mountain Road Murals: This area is renowned for its whimsical representations of marine life and metaphysical symbols. Overlooking the airport, murals here feature sea turtles, tropical scenes, and dynamic chakra symbols created by local artists. These artworks not only enhance the aesthetic appeal but also convey deeper cultural and spiritual messages​ (Flamboyan on the Bay)​​ (St. Thomas Virgin Island)​.
  2. Yacht Haven Grande: In this shopping and dining complex, visitors can admire tropical-themed murals by Jannet Prosper, also known as Planet Jannet. Her works, which are part of a public art collaboration with the V.I. Council on the Arts, depict lush landscapes and vibrant marine life, bringing a touch of nature to urban settings​ (Flamboyan on the Bay)​.
  3. East End Murals: Artist Megan ‘M Lyn’ McHugh has created eye-catching murals on the East End, guiding visitors to local attractions with her colorful and imaginative designs​ (Flamboyan on the Bay)​.

St. Croix: A Community-Driven Art Scene

St. Croix’s public art trail offers a glimpse into the island’s community-driven approach to urban art. Initiatives like Clean Sweep Frederiksted and the St. Croix Walls Project have significantly contributed to the island’s visual landscape.

  1. Clean Sweep Frederiksted Public Art Trail: This grassroots initiative began as a response to litter problems but has grown to include vibrant murals and sculptures throughout Frederiksted. Artists have transformed buildings, retaining walls, and even trash cans into canvases that feature local flora, fauna, and cultural icons. These artworks not only beautify the area but also foster community pride and encourage pedestrian traffic​ (GoToStCroix.com)​.
  2. Sea Walls: Artists for Oceans: This ARTivism program, part of a collaboration with the PangeaSeed Foundation, brought international artists to St. Croix to create murals that promote ocean conservation. These powerful and stunning murals can be found in Frederiksted and Christiansted, raising awareness about environmental issues while beautifying public spaces​ (GoToStCroix.com)​.
  3. St. Croix Walls Project: This initiative partners with property owners and artists to create art installations that reflect the island’s heritage and culture. Projects like HeART of the Turtles, which features sea turtle sculptures made from recycled materials, showcase the community’s commitment to art and environmental conservation​ (| GoToStCroix.com)​.

Immersing in the Urban Art Experience

The street art and murals of the USVI are not just about beautification; they are expressions of the islands’ identity, history, and aspirations. Whether you’re strolling through the streets of Charlotte Amalie in St. Thomas or following the public art trail in St. Croix, these artworks offer a unique and enriching way to experience the local culture.

Exploring these murals provides a deeper understanding of the USVI’s community spirit and artistic talent. Each piece tells a story, captures a moment, or reflects a social message, making the islands’ urban art scene a must-see for both residents and visitors. So, grab your camera, put on your walking shoes, and embark on a vibrant tour of the USVI’s urban art.

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Art Workshops and Classes Available in the Virgin Islands

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The Virgin Islands offer a vibrant array of art workshops and classes designed to inspire creativity and skill development among residents and visitors alike. From painting and ceramics to digital arts and film production, the Virgin Islands cater to a broad spectrum of artistic interests and skill levels.

University of the Virgin Islands (UVI) Art Programs

The University of the Virgin Islands (UVI) provides numerous opportunities for artistic education through its summer programs and ongoing classes. UVI’s Creativity Lab is a notable initiative that offers workshops in various art forms, including painting, drawing, and digital media. These programs are open to students of all ages and are aimed at fostering artistic talent and creativity in the community​.

Virgin Islands Council on the Arts (VICA)

The Virgin Islands Council on the Arts (VICA) plays a significant role in promoting arts education across the islands. VICA regularly hosts workshops and classes in traditional and contemporary arts, catering to different age groups and skill levels. These sessions are designed to both preserve the rich cultural heritage of the Virgin Islands and introduce new art forms to the local community​​.

Reichhold Center for the Arts

Located on the UVI campus, the Reichhold Center for the Arts offers specialized workshops in film production through its annual Youth Moviemaking Workshop. This intensive program, held during the summer, provides students aged 11-16 with hands-on experience in digital film production, culminating in a red-carpet premiere of their work​.

Local Art Studios and Galleries

Various local art studios and galleries across the Virgin Islands also offer workshops and classes. These venues provide intimate settings for learning and practicing different art forms. For example, galleries in St. Thomas and St. Croix often host painting and sculpture workshops led by renowned local artists. These sessions not only enhance artistic skills but also provide insight into the unique cultural and artistic heritage of the islands.

Specialized Art Camps

For younger aspiring artists, summer camps such as the Inclusive Childcare Lab & Diagnostic Center’s STEM/sports summer camp incorporate arts and crafts into their curriculum. These camps engage children in creative activities alongside other educational and recreational pursuits, fostering a well-rounded development​.

Adult and Continuing Education

For adults, UVI offers continuing education courses that include various art-related subjects. These courses are perfect for those looking to explore a new hobby or enhance existing skills. Additionally, UVI’s online degree programs in areas like business management and criminal justice also include creative courses that can be pursued remotely, providing flexibility for working adults​.

Benefits of Participating in Art Workshops and Classes

Engaging in art workshops and classes offers numerous benefits, including:

  • Skill Development: Participants can learn new techniques and refine their artistic skills under the guidance of experienced instructors.
  • Cultural Enrichment: Art classes often incorporate elements of local culture and history, providing a deeper understanding of the Virgin Islands’ heritage.
  • Community Engagement: These programs offer opportunities to connect with like-minded individuals and build a supportive artistic community.
  • Creative Expression: Art provides a valuable outlet for personal expression and creativity, enhancing mental well-being and personal satisfaction.

Whether you are a resident or a visitor, the Virgin Islands’ art workshops and classes present an excellent opportunity to immerse yourself in the local culture, develop new skills, and connect with the community. From the structured programs at UVI to the intimate settings of local studios, there’s something for every art enthusiast in this vibrant region.

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Vote for St. Thomas’s Harika Jhanwar in the National ‘Doodle for Google’ Competition

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The national “Doodle for Google” competition is in full swing, and third-grader Harika Jhanwar from St. Thomas is in the running and needs your vote.

Eight-year-old Harika, a student at All Saints Cathedral School, has been submitting her artistic creations as potential Google Doodles for three years. “She is an art lover, and any competition related to art she likes to participate,” said her mother, Nidhi Jhanwar. This year, her dedication has paid off as her entry was selected from thousands, making her one of 55 state and territorial winners.

Harika’s artwork, titled “Ocean in Motion,” reflects her desire for a clean ocean where marine animals can thrive. Her mother explains, “keeping the environment clean starts from the ocean so it’s good for humans too.” Harika dreams of becoming a marine biologist and her artwork illustrates her passion for ocean conservation.

The competition will determine a national winner on June 4 through public voting. The national winner will receive a $55,000 college scholarship, a $50,000 technology package for their school or a chosen nonprofit, a personal and school trophy, Google hardware, and other Google-themed items. The winning Doodle will be featured on Google’s homepage for a day.

Additionally, five runners-up will each receive a $5,000 scholarship, Google hardware, and promotional items. All national finalists’ artwork will be displayed in the Doodle for Google gallery, with special awards for pieces that align with Google’s values.

Voting for the Doodle for Google competition is currently open and will close on Tuesday, June 4. To support Harika, voters can visit the competition website and look for her entry from the U.S. Virgin Islands.

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