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Charlotte Amalie
Wednesday, July 17, 2024


Editor's note: This is an updated and expanded version of an article which was published early Monday in the St. Thomas Source.
April 1, 2002 – A weeklong "Humanities Festival" got under way Monday on the St. Thomas and St. Croix campuses of the University of the Virgin Islands and in downtown Charlotte Amalie. All events are free and open to the public.
The first day of the festival, presented by UVI's Humanities Division, featured a lecture by Gilbert Sprauve, professor of modern languages, who is not only an expert in linguistics and foreign languages but also a local culture bearer, especially as regards St. John, his home island. The final day includes soprano/piano recital. In between are a daily smorgasbord of events covering in a variety of approaches the humanities topics of debate, theater, poetry, journalism, literature, foreign languages and music.
While the majority of events are on St. Thomas, three presentations on Wednesday and Thursday will take place on St. Croix. In addition, several of St. Thomas events are being shared with the St. Croix campus via teleconferencing.
Building on the first Humanities Festival, held in 2000, "The festival celebrates the art of communication," Lorna Young-Wright, division chair on the St. Thomas campus, said in a UVI release. Representatives of the division's various academic areas began organizing the festival last October.
The festival theme, "Celebrating 40 Years of Artistic Expression in the Humanities," is a part of the wider celebration of UVI's 40th anniversary.
The festival opened at noon Monday with the Humanities Division hosting a ceremony honoring retiring UVI President Orville Kean. The final event is a modern languages society induction ceremony Sunday evening in the campus cafeteria.
The lecture by Sprauve, who is on pre-retirement sabbatical for the semester, was titled, "How About 'Right as Defined by Need' as Opposed to 'Might Makes Right'?" Sprauve said his "basic argument is that in our society socialization and acculturation within the family generally instill an ethic that clashes in very essential ways with that imposed institutionally, pedagogically and otherwise by the dictates of free enterprise efficiency and profitability."
He argued that academia "while usurping the language of reason has abrogated its traditional role as beacon of humanistic didacticism and foment." And, he added, "The present condition has much to do with shortcomings in the public policy process in our islands."
The schedule of events began Monday with a noontime opening ceremony in Chase Auditorium, followed by a lecture at 2 p.m. by Prof. Gilbert Sprauve, also in the auditorium, that was teleconferenced with the St. Croix campus. Remaining events are as follows:
2 p.m. — discussion on "Humanities and Sustainable Development," Chase Auditorium (teleconferenced with St. Croix campus). After Hurricanes Hugo and Marilyn, Prof. Gene Emanuel said, "the artist's landscape flattened." Everyone's landscape flattened and lost color, he said, but artists lost their inspiration. Farmers and people in general found their landscape altered, he said, and all need sustainable development to preserve and honor their surroundings.
7 p.m. — debate at the Harvey Student Center. The UVI student debate team, fresh from Caribbean successes in Guyana, will tackle the subject, "Be It Resolved: That the Institution of Marriage Remains One of the World's Most Popular Illusions." Debating in favor will be Sharyn Niles and her second, Paula Gumbs; arguing against will be Martha Joseph and her second, Amandy Williams. None of the four students is married.
4 p.m. — a "Celebration of 40 Years of Theatre Productions," Little Theater. This symposium/panel discussion, presented by speech and theater area faculty Rosary Harper, Dennis Parker and Michael Prenevost, will be a look at UVI theatrical productions from 1963 to the present. Parker said it's hoped that many individuals who have acted and worked backstage over the years will be on hand — including UVI Vice President Malcolm Kirwan, music faculty member Austin Venzen, Reichhold Center director David Edgecombe and community members Irose Payne, Hans Eisler, Wanda and Charmaine Dipnarine and Lee Vanterpool.
6 p.m. — panel on "Finding the Personal Artistic Voice Beyond the Marketplace," St. Croix campus Student Activities Center. Presenters will be St. Croix artists Maud Pierre-Charles, Gabrielle Di Lorenzo, Gerville Larsen, Alicia McKay and Cy Levine. The moderator is Valerie Combie, Humanities Division chair on the St. Croix campus.
7 p.m. — poetry reading, off campus at Bethania Hall, next door to Frederick Evangelical Lutheran Church. This event is a continuation of the pattern established by poetry readings at the former L'Hotel Boynes a few years ago, metamorphosed into the present "Rock Lounge" presentations, all fostered by Mary Alexander of the Humanities Division. Students and community members are expected to read.
2 p.m. — lecture by Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Melvin Claxton, Chase Auditorium (teleconferenced to St. Croix campus). Claxton, a member of the St. Thomas Source editorial advisory board, is a former UVI student who earned his Pulitzer while working at the V.I. Daily News; he currently is a senior investigative reporter for The Detroit News.
4 p.m — Erica Waters, editor-in-chief of "The Caribbean Writer," will present the Margaret Cobb McKay award, St. Croix campus Student Activities Center. The ceremony will be followed by readings of short fiction and poetry. Writers included are Di Lorenzo, Sagata Howell, Sharmaine Moiuette, Winston Nugent, Richard Schrader, Lolita Paiewonski and Edgar Lake.
5:30 p.m. — "Virgin Islands Music Tradition: Celebrating and Respecting Self," St. Croix campus Student Activtities Center. Emanuel will moderate a panel consisting of Dimitri "Pikey" Copeman, Louis Ible, Stanley Jacobs of the Ten Sleepless Knights, Ernest "Prince" Galloway and Campbell "King Kun Fu Plentae" Barnes.
9 a.m.to 5:30 p.m. — student literary conference, Sports and Fitness Center, west mezzanine. The conference theme is "Literature and Life: Weaving the Threads of the New Millenium with Tradition and Vision." This daylong event is organized and managed by students and will have senior Kimberly Lloyd as mistress of ceremonies. Included are presentations of student papers and by student panelists. The keynote speaker is Jamaican author and poet Geoffrey Philp. For program details, see Showcase article, Festival features student-run conference.
5 p.m. — journalism forum on the First Amendment, Teacher Education Building, Room T101 (teleconferenced to St. Croix campus). Participants are attorneys Adriane Dudley and Frederick Watts and TV2 producer and news director Haven Daley.
7 p.m. — poetry slam, Music Education Building. This creative event includes impromptu poetry interspersed with music. Emanuel explained that one person will get up and present an impromptu poem; this person will be "answered" by another person with the attitude of "See, I can go you one better."
9 a.m. — "Celebrating Creative Expressions at Sea," MacLean Marine Science Center dock. Particiants will board the UVI boat Willie Mac II for a cruise north toward Botany Bay; during the trip, they will write, draw and otherwise express themselves creatively. There'll be a video filmed aboard.
4 p.m. — "Humanities Celebration on the Green," Herman E. Moore Golf Course on campus, near the clubhouse. There will be music by the UVI Jazz Band, Concert Choir and Concert Band; a visual art display at the clubhouse; games
and food.
4 p.m. — recital by JoAnne Stephenson, soprano, and Lorna Young-Wright, pianist, off campus at Frederick Evangelical Lutheran Church. Stephenson is a member of the voice faculty at the University of Central Florida; Young-Wright is on the UVI music faculty. The recital is a "kickoff" to a European concert tour by the two.
6 p.m. — induction ceremony and celebration by the UVI chapter of the Alpha Mu Gamma National Collegiate Foreign Language Association, cafeteria.
The schedule will be updated as more specific information becomes available.

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