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Charlotte Amalie
Sunday, April 14, 2024
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Starving Artists Put Heart and Soul Into Sale

Carmen Doerge of Portland, Ore., blows a call on one of Junie Bomba's conch shell creations.Sunday was a day for art lovers, and art for lovers, as the St. Croix Landmarks Society held its Starving Artists Sale in time for Valentine’s Day.

"We usually have it in March," said Lily Alvarez of the society. "But this year we moved it up to have it before Valentine’s Day, and on a day when a cruise ship was in."

The grounds of the historic Whim Plantation were crawling with a mix of locals and tourists looking for arts and crafts from Crucian artisans, sampling the island cuisine and listening to the music of Siete Son singing songs of love. Earlier in the day there was a zumba demonstration led by Rose Aponte. While buses brought several loads of visitors from the ship tied up in Frederiksted, not all of the guests had sailed into port.

Lee Meadows and Kristen Lupcke were visiting from Maryland, staying with the parents of friends who live on island. They had already made a small purchase, but were facing a challenge.

"The difficult part is getting something big or fragile packed in our bags when we leave," he said.

Sparkle Mischer, coordinator of the sale, was happy with the turnout, although she wished a few more artists had made a point of taking part. It did leave room for more newcomers, she said.

"We’ve got a lot of new vendors, and we’ve got everything going on here," she said.

One merchant who was happy to be on the spot was Joffrey George, who could barely take time out from showing his paintings of classic Crucian scenes and taking the customer’s money to say how well the sale was going for him. Another was Victor Cepeda. A customer had purchased three of his paintings of island scenes and had requested he add "St. Croix, USVI" to them, which he was happily doing.

Not every artist and crafter was adhering to a Valentine’s Day theme, but one who did said she was doing very well.

Vanessa Nieves was selling plastic boxes containing cookies, small cupcakes, brownies, homemade chocolate and other delights, wrapped with a pink bow and carrying a small plush heart.

"We’ve been doing really well," she said. "It’s just a little something romantic, because it’s Valentine’s Day."

Kitty Olsen, who described herself as a snowbird from Connecticut, was very familiar with the sale, as she has shown her own work in it many times in the past. She said she’s no longer up for all the work involved, but was happy to be back visiting her friends who continue to show their finest island crafts for the event.

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