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ARTIST OPENS GALLERY ON GOVERNMENT HILL

Over the years, Government Hill has been the subject of countless works by innumerable artists. Now, it's the site of an art gallery, too.
Thursday is opening day for the Blue Turtle Gallery – Virgin Islands painter Lucinda Schutt's first ambitious venture into the business side of art on the island of St. Thomas.
The gallery is located on the upper level of the renovated historic building that rises from Garden Street to the western end of Kongens Gade. It's in the space occupied by Ralph Lauren-Polo in the early 1990s, and by the late Greek restaurateur Jimmy Boukas's "studio" after that.
Schutt, a partner with Elaine Estern in starting up the Coconut Coast Studios art gallery on St. John a decade ago, recently left that island to move to St. Thomas. She says she had two motives for opening a gallery in downtown Charlotte Amalie.
First, "I felt there was definitely a calling for something like this," she says. "St. John and St. Croix have really gotten it together in promoting the arts, and I felt like St. Thomas wasn't doing that." And second, "I need to move forward with my own art, and since I'm living on St. Thomas now, I wanted to be part of the community and show my artwork here."
Schutt has been artist-in-residence for several years at St. John's Caneel Bay resort, where she continues to spend three nights a week working in season. Last summer, she was also the first resident artist at the Robert Mondavi Winery in California's Napa Valley.
At Caneel Bay, "Everybody knows me," she says, casually mentioning "meeting with Alan Alda there the other night – he comes every year at this time and is very familiar with my art." On St. Thomas, in contrast, she adds, "people aren't so familiar with me or my work."
Her newly renovated gallery space showcases Schutt's own paintings, along with works by Edie Paljavcsik Johnson, Marcia Reed-Hendricks, Avelino Samuel, Don Hebert, Kate O'Neil and the late Bob Gould.
Schutt works in watercolor and oil and is best known for her Caribbean-inspired landscapes and figurative works.
Johnson, a longtime St. Thomas artist and art teacher, has watercolors and monotypes on exhibit. Reed-Hendricks, a Massachusetts-based artist and teacher who regularly spends time on St. John, works in acrylic. Samuel, a Coral Bay native, is widely known for his work in local woods, from small sculptures to traditional mahogany furniture. Hebert is one of the territory's most successful commercial photographers. O'Neil, a part-time island resident, creates abstract oil pastels. Gould, whose family owns the building housing the gallery, is represented by large abstract oils.
"I wanted a wide variety of art, but of artists who are not showing in other galleries locally," Schutt says. "I wanted to work with artists I already knew, and that I knew would be able to give me replacement work when something of theirs sold."
Schutt, who took up painting at the age of 5 and has never really stopped, moved to the Virgin Islands in 1987, settling initially on St. Croix. Later, she relocated to St. John and, nine years later, to St. Thomas. "Immediately aware of the pastel colors against the dark shadows and the intense light reflecting in water," she says, she "could not see painting the islands in any other medium but watercolor."
For the last three years, however, she has also been working in oil, a medium she now finds "very powerful" because of "the texture, the moods you can create." Since 1991 she has also been marketing prints and cards of her Caribbean paintings.
Her objective as an artist is to evoke positive feelings in the viewer – "memories of a happier time, or perhaps something to look forward to."
Schutt's work has appeared in Islands, Caribbean Travel & Life, American Way and Art & Business News magazines, as well as on the television show "Law and Order."
Her plans for the gallery include rotating exhibits of work by off-island artists, too – "from other islands, the mainland, maybe Denmark, bringing them here for six weeks to two months for shows. I've spoken with people in California who are very interested."
She also will offer art classes in the patio outside the gallery. "I'll be teaching watercolor starting in the spring," she says, "and I hope to have other artists teach, too."
Artwork prices at the gallery range from $25 for some prints to $4,000 for large oils. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Further information may be obtained by calling 774-9440 or 775-1023 or e-mailing to lucinda@islands.vi.

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Over the years, Government Hill has been the subject of countless works by innumerable artists. Now, it's the site of an art gallery, too.
Thursday is opening day for the Blue Turtle Gallery – Virgin Islands painter Lucinda Schutt's first ambitious venture into the business side of art on the island of St. Thomas.
The gallery is located on the upper level of the renovated historic building that rises from Garden Street to the western end of Kongens Gade. It's in the space occupied by Ralph Lauren-Polo in the early 1990s, and by the late Greek restaurateur Jimmy Boukas's "studio" after that.
Schutt, a partner with Elaine Estern in starting up the Coconut Coast Studios art gallery on St. John a decade ago, recently left that island to move to St. Thomas. She says she had two motives for opening a gallery in downtown Charlotte Amalie.
First, "I felt there was definitely a calling for something like this," she says. "St. John and St. Croix have really gotten it together in promoting the arts, and I felt like St. Thomas wasn't doing that." And second, "I need to move forward with my own art, and since I'm living on St. Thomas now, I wanted to be part of the community and show my artwork here."
Schutt has been artist-in-residence for several years at St. John's Caneel Bay resort, where she continues to spend three nights a week working in season. Last summer, she was also the first resident artist at the Robert Mondavi Winery in California's Napa Valley.
At Caneel Bay, "Everybody knows me," she says, casually mentioning "meeting with Alan Alda there the other night – he comes every year at this time and is very familiar with my art." On St. Thomas, in contrast, she adds, "people aren't so familiar with me or my work."
Her newly renovated gallery space showcases Schutt's own paintings, along with works by Edie Paljavcsik Johnson, Marcia Reed-Hendricks, Avelino Samuel, Don Hebert, Kate O'Neil and the late Bob Gould.
Schutt works in watercolor and oil and is best known for her Caribbean-inspired landscapes and figurative works.
Johnson, a longtime St. Thomas artist and art teacher, has watercolors and monotypes on exhibit. Reed-Hendricks, a Massachusetts-based artist and teacher who regularly spends time on St. John, works in acrylic. Samuel, a Coral Bay native, is widely known for his work in local woods, from small sculptures to traditional mahogany furniture. Hebert is one of the territory's most successful commercial photographers. O'Neil, a part-time island resident, creates abstract oil pastels. Gould, whose family owns the building housing the gallery, is represented by large abstract oils.
"I wanted a wide variety of art, but of artists who are not showing in other galleries locally," Schutt says. "I wanted to work with artists I already knew, and that I knew would be able to give me replacement work when something of theirs sold."
Schutt, who took up painting at the age of 5 and has never really stopped, moved to the Virgin Islands in 1987, settling initially on St. Croix. Later, she relocated to St. John and, nine years later, to St. Thomas. "Immediately aware of the pastel colors against the dark shadows and the intense light reflecting in water," she says, she "could not see painting the islands in any other medium but watercolor."
For the last three years, however, she has also been working in oil, a medium she now finds "very powerful" because of "the texture, the moods you can create." Since 1991 she has also been marketing prints and cards of her Caribbean paintings.
Her objective as an artist is to evoke positive feelings in the viewer – "memories of a happier time, or perhaps something to look forward to."
Schutt's work has appeared in Islands, Caribbean Travel & Life, American Way and Art & Business News magazines, as well as on the television show "Law and Order."
Her plans for the gallery include rotating exhibits of work by off-island artists, too – "from other islands, the mainland, maybe Denmark, bringing them here for six weeks to two months for shows. I've spoken with people in California who are very interested."
She also will offer art classes in the patio outside the gallery. "I'll be teaching watercolor starting in the spring," she says, "and I hope to have other artists teach, too."
Artwork prices at the gallery range from $25 for some prints to $4,000 for large oils. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Further information may be obtained by calling 774-9440 or 775-1023 or e-mailing to lucinda@islands.vi.