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Arts and Crafts Festival Thrills Visitors, Raises Money

July 24, 2005 — Arts Alive’s Summertime Arts and Crafts Festival brought out islanders and tourists to Tillett Gardens this weekend to shop for wares created by local artists and craftspeople.
With nearly 30 vendors offering quilts, fabric art, jewelry, paintings, hand-painted clothing, psychic readings, pottery, clay art, specialty candles, beading and much more, visitors had a wealth of creative items to choose from.
And everyone had a chance to win one of 33 raffle prizes – all donated by the participating vendors. Raffle ticket sales topped the $600 mark, all of which will benefit Arts Alive, a nonprofit organization dedicated to presenting the best in visual and musical arts and music education. Arts Alive is the presenting arm of the Tillett Foundation.
"I thought that overall it went great, especially for the summer festival," said Tillett Foundation Executive Director Ruth Prager. "Everyone was so complimentary. It was really nice that people were so appreciative."
Prager said most of the vendors did "really well," including many first-time participants. Several garnered wholesale orders, she said.
In addition to enjoying all the original handiwork, visitors and vendors alike were treated on Saturday to a skit by students at Pistarckle Theater’s Summer Camp and music from the BCB Burning Blazers Steel Pan Orchestra and 2 Blue Shoes. On Sunday, steel pan soloist Glen R. Samuel took the stage, followed by Davis Murray and Kris Woodrum on mandolin, guitar and vocals.
Also on tap were candle-making demonstrations at Caribbean Herbals and raku demonstrations at Ridvan’s Studios, both Tillett Gardens tenants.
"It was an opportunity for people in the community to see who’s out there," Prager said, adding that visitors told her "that the quality of the arts and crafts that we’re bringing is getting higher and higher."
One woman said, "It feels like it was back in the ‘80s," referring to the early days of the Arts and Crafts Festivals that Rhoda Tillett developed to showcase local talent.
Though Prager spearheaded the event, she said that "the volunteers were fabulous." Arts Alive board members and other volunteers sold raffle tickets and helped make sure everything went smoothly on Saturday and Sunday.
Of course, many also put in time prior to the festival. Of invaluable assistance, according to Prager, was Ruth Webson, a Junior Angel from the Community Foundation. "Ruthie," as she prefers to be called, folded pamphlets, stuffed and stamped envelopes, and sent faxes – all time-consuming work that helped make the event a success.
The next Arts Alive Arts and Crafts Festival will be Nov. 26 and 27, followed by the Springtime Festival the weekend before Mother’s Day next year.
On December 7, the stunning bass voice of V.I. native Arthur Woodley will thrill audiences in the season opener of Arts Alive’s 2005-2006 concert season.
For information about Arts Alive, call 775-1929 or visit Tillett Gallery.
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