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Saturday, July 13, 2024


Sept. 4, 2002 – The exhibition that opens Friday at Alexander's Café will showcase the work of young Virgin Islands artists — students at the School of Visual Arts and Careers, the afterschool and summer enrichment program at the Fort Christian Museum.
"Inspirational Young Artists" is the title of the mixed-media show, and most of the exhibitors are expected to be on hand to discuss their work at the opening reception from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Frenchtown restaurant. The public is invited to meet them, view their work, enjoy complimentary champagne and appetizers and register for the door prize, a work by one of the students.
The artwork by the SVAC students reflects their dedication, determination and creative, fresh insights, a release states.
The school was established in 1983 as a afterschool instruction program for high school students with artistic talent and interest. Students receive broad-based training in the fine arts, gain exposure to art career options in the territory and work to develop their portfolios for submission in applying to art schools or for professional employment.
Eight students are currently enrolled: Tony Bongiovi, Dwayne Felix, Ashton Frett, Maireni de Jesus, Carolina de Lyrot, Tachelle Newton, Willy Payne and Solomon Webson. Phebe Schwartz is the program director and Edie Paljavcsik Johnson is the principal instructor.
Many SVAC graduates have gone on to study at such prestigious art schools as Pratt Institute and the Ringling School of Art and Design and then to pursue careers in such fields as advertising, architecture, computer graphics, engineering, fashion design, print production, product design, publishing and teaching, as well in the fine arts. Denise Humphrey, assistant technical director at the Reichhold Center for the Arts, is an SVAC graduate who went on to get her degree at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and then returned to the Virgin Islands to apply her skills.
The not-for-profit School for Visual Arts and Careers relies on the financial support of the community and grants, along with the in-kind support of the students' families and friends. "The students in the program are fine young people making a positive impact in our community through their example of personal dedication and determination," the release states. "Art collectors will enjoy meeting the young artists and finding out more about their work."
The exhibit will hang through Oct. 10. All of the pieces in the show are available for purchase.
Through the show at Alexander's, Schwartz and Johnson hope to attract others to enroll in the SVAC program. Acceptance is by application, including a portfolio of work and recommendation by an art teacher. Except for a nominal annual fee, there is no charge for instruction, materials or field trips. For more information, call Schwartz at 775-2739 or Johnson at 776-5179.
Alexander's Café features a new artist or group or artists every month with an opening reception. Those wishing to stay for dinner after the reception are asked to make reservations by calling 774-4349. For more information about the exhibition, contact Claire Ochoa by calling 643-6363 or e-mailing to the St. John Gallery. You can view images of the current show at the St. John Gallery Web site.

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