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Charlotte Amalie
Saturday, July 2, 2022


Twice a year, the teenagers who take part in the St. Thomas afterschool and summer art enrichment program known as the School of Visual Arts and Careers put their work on display for public viewing and possible purchase.
The first exhibit of the new year will open with a reception on the afternoon of Sunday, Jan. 16, in the Fort Christian Museum, where the school has been located for all but one of its 17 years. (That one was in the aftermath of Hurricane Hugo, which caused extensive damage to the museum.)
The exhibition opening will coincide with the annual meeting of the not-for-profit school in the museum courtyard. The brief business meeting is set for 3 p.m., with the reception to follow until 5 p.m.
Exhibiting their work in the two museum rooms designated as the "temporary gallery space" will be Malene Allen, Brigitte Berry, Chasda Clendinen, Jared Etsinger, Johnson Francis, Ashton Frett, Alan John, Adrienne Miller, Monique Miller and Shamal Rawlins. The reception will also feature musical entertainment and refreshments.
"This exhibit represents the artwork of students who consistently attended SVAC in 1999," school director Phebe Schwartz said. "There are a variety of pieces of art . . . and some big surprises. Accompanying descriptions explain the purpose of each project in terms of the skills and techniques emphasized."
While not all of the works will be for sale, many will be. Collectively, they represent an opportunity for collectors not only to shop for affordable art but also to acquire an "early work" of a young artist who may oneday be internationally known and highly priced.
Established in 1983, the School of Visual Arts and Careers is open to artistically talented junior and senior high school students. At classes held three afternoons a week during the school year and mornings during the summer, participants receive instruction in a variety of visual arts techniques. They also gain exposure to the marketing end of making a living as an artist and receive support in preparing applications and portfolios to pursue art studies at the college level in preparation for a career.
"Artists in the community become involved through guest workshops and sponsoring student interns," Schwartz said. Many of the school's graduates "are attending art colleges or are working in careers in the arts."
The not-for-profit school is funded in part through grants from the Virgin Islands Council on the Arts/National Endowment for the Arts and from the Law Enforcement Planning Commission. Local businesses and individuals "have joined the growing membership of SVAC by making financial contributions to support this program," Schwartz said. Students pay a nominal annual fee.
The students' work will hang from Jan. 15 to early February. For more information about the show or the program, contact Schwartz at 775-2739 or the museum at 776-4566.

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