Dec. 4, 2003 – Luís Flores is an advocate of historic preservation in the Virgin Islands, and especially on his island of St. Croix.
But "since I don't have the resources to restore the actual historic buildings, I choose to document the buildings' distinctive architectural features for future generations through my model building," he says.
Building such models is something he has been doing for a number of years. This month he will be exhibiting about 40 of the intricately detailed pieces for two days at the old Christiansted post office and then for five weeks at the Whim Museum.
Flores' patrons for the exhibition read like a "Who's Who" of cultural and historic significance: The National Park Service, the St. Croix Landmarks Society and the V.I. Council on the Arts — "with the assistance of the Office of the Delegate to Congress."
Delegate Donna M. Christensen is supporting the exhibition in connection with her intention to identify St. Croix properties outside of National Park structures "that reflect the unique influences on the history and culture of St. Croix," a release from her office stated.
A measure she sponsored in Congress, the St. Croix Heritage Areas Study Bill, was passed by the House of Representatives in November. The importance of the legislation, she says, is that "it would compel federal, state and local governments, along with private investors and non-government organizations, to organize and bring resources for such areas that could aid in the development of the island in a culturally sensitive manner."
Flores' exhibition is titled "Lang Ago, Todeh: Replicas of Virgin Islands Historic Buildings." The collection "captures the historic essence" of the actual structures, from public places to private residences, some of them no longer in existence, Christensen's release stated. Not all of the pieces are of St. Croix structures. Among his models is a mini-replica of Enid M. Baa Library in downtown Charlotte Amalie, complete with courtyard.
The works Flores will be displaying also include a collection of handmade music boxes and his rendition of a Crucian Festival Village.
The exhibition will open with a by-invitation reception at the Danish West Indian Company Warehouse on the evening of Dec. 12, then go on public display Dec. 13 and 14 at the warehouse, which the National Park Service now owns and which was formerly the downtown Christiansted post office. It will be open to viewing from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. both days.
It then will move to the Whim Museum Exhibition Hall, where it will be on display from Dec. 20 through Jan. 31, with hours to be announced.
To find out more, call Joel Tutein, St. Croix's National Park superintendent, at 773-1460; Petra Chaffers, Whim Museum curator, at 772-0598; or Wanda Mills in the delegate's St. Thomas office, at 774-4408.
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