Nov. 4, 2004 – The tourist season officially is many weeks off, but one would not have known that in Christiansted on Thursday. The crowd in the park next to Fort Christiansvaern in the afternoon was large and all through the evening people were strolling the downtown streets.
What brought the crowd was a parade and rally for the Teens on the Greens tournament at Carambola this weekend. What kept people in the streets was Christiansted's Gallery Walk.
Sunny Patel of Orlando, Fla., was one of the crowd watching the entertainment provided by the Ebenezer Methodist Brass Band and Music in Motion at the park, one of the top dance companies on St. Croix, directed by Charlita Schuster. Patel was like a walking commercial for St. Croix.
He had brought his son, his daughter and eight other youngsters from central Florida to compete in Teens on the Green. This is the third time he has brought youngsters to the St. Croix competition. He said, "It just keeps getting better and better. I mean everything the transportation, the accommodations and the golf course."
The action in the park quieted down as the golfers and their families were transported across the water to Protestant Cay for dinner.
Then it was time for Christiansted's first Art Thursday of the season.
Danica David of Danica Art Gallery said that traffic through her gallery was very good. She credited the fact that this was the first event of the season and people were eager to get out and see what was out there. Besides her painting and jewelry art, mahogany sculptures and pottery by Courtney Devonish were featured at the gallery.
One stunning painting by David was "Joy of the Morning." It showed an island woman who apparently couldn't be happier with the morning. David, who was born on St. Croix, looked at the painting and smiled, "I don't think I will be feeling like that tomorrow morning."
At Correa Studios, artist Jimena Correa explained the process by which she made her intricate etchings while her fiancé poured wine for anyone who wanted it.
At the Goldworker, Diane Chandler showed off her jewelry creations in the display cases, and on the walls she had paintings by the local chef she said islanders would know as "Dino," former chef/owner of Dino's restaurant in Christensted.
She said the Gallery Walks offered a "different atmosphere." She said, "People who like painting and other arts can get together, feel comfortable and have a glass of wine."
Across Company Street from Goldworker, and upstairs, was the studio loft of Maria Henle. Chandler credited Henle with getting Gallery Walks started a couple of years ago. Henle's beach scene paintings reached a photographic intensity and were impressive. But also at hand were books and prints featuring her father Fritz Henle. His powerful black and white photographs feature subjects from all around the world. Of special interest to locals are his photographs of the Virgins Islands in the late 40s and early 50s. Making a pleasant stop on the tour was the Yellow House gallery on Queen Cross Street. Outside a woman was pouring glasses of wine. Inside artist Judith King sat ready to discuss her exuberant paintings of Caribbean scenes.
Also on the Gallery Walk were Jewelweed on Queen Cross Street, ib designs on Company Street, Torch Works on Strand Street and Christiansted Gallery at the Club Comanche.
The next Christiansted Gallery Walk will be Dec. 2.
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