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Charlotte Amalie
Saturday, May 18, 2024


Dec. 17, 2003 – Anyone who attends Friday evening's reception opening the new exhibition at Gallery St. Thomas on Government Hill can expect to hear terms such as "trash into treasure," "gifts that keep giving" and "re-gifting" being discussed by the owner and featured artists who'll be present.
Actually, "Gifts That Keep Giving" is the title gallery owner Claire Ochoa has chosen for the exhibition, which showcases works produced at the Maho Bay Art Center on St. John. And "Trash into Treasure" is the name of the pioneering program initiated at Maho Bay Campground some years ago to encourage resort recycling by producing gallery-quality works of art from recycled materials.
"The program has blossomed into an established art center that features a recycled-glassblowing studio, a new ceramic studio featuring a wood-fired kiln, resident artists and art classes," Ochoa notes.
Original designs produced in the glassblowing and clay programs will be featured in the exhibition, which will be in place through Jan. 21. Ginger Kreofsky, coordinator of the art center, and some of the artists represented will be at the reception to talk about their production processes — and class schedules, for those who'd like to get involved.
The gallery will be showing works by glass artist-in-residence Eric Burton and visiting glass artists whose raw material consists of crushed glass from used Carib, Corona and Heineken beer bottles.
Also featured is the work of St. John resident Gail Van de Bogurt, ceramic artist-in-residence and director of the clay program. She oversaw the design and construction of the art center's 45-cubic-foot kiln that uses discarded wood pallets for fuel.
"I was so impressed with the environmental mission behind this program and even more with the artwork created by Maho's artists," Ochoa says. "My intention is to give this program more exposure because I know there are many people in our community who are unaware of these positive initiatives and of the unique, beautiful pieces created here in the Virgin Islands."
The exhibition also will include ceramic and paper objects, jewelry, sculpture and paintings by Suki Buchalter, Jill Hale, Jared Hill, Noah Magro, Bobby Ray and Mandy Thody.
Ochoa notes that under Kreofsky's direction, the artistic aspects of the environmentally friendly practices at Maho Bay have proven contagious. "Several employees and volunteers have lent a hand, only to get caught up in the enthusiasm and then find themselves creating their own artwork," she says. And she says that's been the case with art appreciators, too.
"People love hearing about this program," she says. "While being resourceful is not new to many in the Virgin Islands, we can all appreciate the positive efforts towards environmentally friendly practices this day and age. This brings a new meaning to the practice of re-gifting, especially during the holidays."
Friday's reception is from 4 to 8 p.m. at the gallery, located on Government Hill above Garden Street. For more information, call 774-9440.
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