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HomeNewsArchivesBittersweet Feelings Accompany Children’s Art Event

Bittersweet Feelings Accompany Children’s Art Event

Aug. 3, 2007 — The grounds of the St. George Village Botanical Gardens were abuzz with the excited voices of budding artists Friday evening, but there was a touch of sadness.
Maria Henle, who has been a major part of the St. Croix art scene, would not be there. She died of cancer recently. The culmination of the six-week Creative Summer Art program recognized her absence with a presentation of an acrylic painting to her family.
More than 50 supporters were on hand at the gardens mid island on St. Croix for the presentation of the painting. Local art students enrolled in the program did the painting.
Accepting the painting for Henle's family was Henle's mother, Marguerite; brother, Martin; and sister, Tina. "Maria's studio was always open to students in the summer,” Tina said. “I know she would be so happy right now."
The painting of palm trees and islands will be on permanent display at the Gardens in the Bodine Visitors’ Center. Henle's studio on Company Street has been a major part of downtown on Art Thursday and other events. Her work brought to life bright white clouds over harsh blue skies. Her father's photographs are world-renowned. In her studio, there was an opportunity to see the Caribbean and South America through her eyes and the eyes of her father of a time that has passed.
The V.I. Council for the Arts and Danica Art Gallery funded the summer camp, now in its seventh year. Some of the children received scholarships. The camp instructed more than 20 students ages six to 13 on using different mediums such as colored pencils and watercolors.
The children also learned horticulture while at the gardens and incorporated flora into their art.
First and second prizes were awarded in three age categories. Each student received a colorful gift bag full of goodies for completing the program.
"We had to work, work, work,” one student said.
"And you guys finished your work, instructor Danica David replied.
The walls of the outbuilding used for the camp were adorned with works of art done by the students.
"It is nice to see what the children did in camp,” Peggy Bodine said. Added Diane Capehart, whose daughter is in her second year at the camp, "I am pleased to be able to see my daughter express her artistic talents and get exposure to the outdoors." One parent went up to David and thanked her for having her son in the camp.
"It is so much fun having the children here,” said Leslie Hoffman, executive director of the gardens. “It livens up the place. We love having them."
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