The Virgin Islands Council on the Arts will hold its first pop-up exhibit, “Dorsch After Dark,” the new monthly venue that highlights and celebrates local art and talent on St. Croix at the Frederick D. Dorsch Cultural Activity Center in the town of Frederiksted.
The event will take place from 5 to 8 p.m., Tuesday, the council announced in a news release. Entry will be free and a cash bar will be available. Social distancing and masks will be required.
The evening will include art, fashion, poetry, music and a Q&A panel discussion following the artists’ presentation.
The introductory exhibit will feature visual artist Niarus Walker, fashion designer Giana Abreu-Christopher, author/editor Alscess Lewis-Brown and musician Gyasi Clarke.
“The sole purpose for the ‘Dorsch After Dark’ venture is for our community artists to be recognized at the magnitude deserving of their talent,” VICA Special Events Coordinator Kendell Henry said.
VICA has always created opportunities for artists to showcase their work, Henry said, and this monthly event aims to do the same, with the artists and the community coming together for a mutual connection, Henry added.
Niarus Walker said she looks forward to a chance to reach a different audience than usual, and she relishes the idea of showcasing her work at the Dorsch, a venue that is central to the town of Frederiksted and a cultural icon in the community.
“My paintings reflect the transience of life with references to consciousness, which encompasses time, memory, experience and identity,” Walker said.
Several images of Walker’s current body of work, “Women Alone,” will be exhibited at the pop-up show. It is a series of watercolor and oil paintings on paper.
“Each painting reflects the experience or memory of my Caribbean existence but also makes a specific commentary about the nuances of womankind and cultural connections to historical and contemporary existence.”
Giana Abreu-Christopher, professionally known as Regal, is a self-taught seamstress and designer. According to her website, as CEO and founder of Designs by Regal, she created her brand to encourage an appreciation of Caribbean culture by expressing pride for our heritage through the use of madras fabric.
“Regal Fashion models are sure to delight the audience as they prance down the runway in the brightly colored tartan prints that originated in India and made its way to the Caribbean during the diaspora.”
Alscess Lewis-Brown said, “It is a much-welcomed opportunity to share my own work – the seven books in my young adult repertoire are being read locally and all over the world. They are an immense source of personal pride.”
“An even grander delight for me, she said, is to showcase the University of the Virgin Islands 35-year-old literary journal, ‘The Caribbean Writer,’ housed within the College of Liberal Arts and social sciences and representing the literary talents of the Caribbean diaspora. It represents a tradition that we hope will inspire new writers within the U.S. Virgin Islands as well, which is the raison d’etre for why we make ourselves available to nurture, encourage and support literary traditions.”
The Caribbean Writer is the oldest consistently published literary journal in the Caribbean, Lewis-Brown said.
Patrons at “Dorsch After Dark” will have the opportunity to hear Lewis-Brown read excerpts from her own collection, and they will be invited to read selections from volumes of “The Caribbean Writer.”
Gyasi Clarke will perform during the evening, singing and accompanying his original lyrics on acoustic guitar.
Clarke left his job at AT&T in Florida, where he was a wire technician for three years, to pursue his dreams of becoming a successful singer/songwriter. In 2016, he returned to his home on St. Croix, and “I hit the ground running trying to acquire gigs,” he said.
By 2017, Clarke said he was up to four gigs a week. But that year hurricane Maria brought his gigs to a full stop.
“Lucky for me that I play the acoustic guitar, which needs no electricity,” he said.
With all his free time, Clarke wrote and recorded the song, “Caribbean Strong,” utilizing a generator. He released it during the recovery process, and it became the top song in the Virgin Islands, he said.
Clarke continues to perform around the island and was an opening act for the internationally known reggae band Steel Pulse.
“I am set to release the original music this year,” he said.
Further information on “Dorsch After Dark” is available at the Council on the Arts’ website, or by calling the council at 340-773-3075 or 340-774-5984.