Transforming Downtown Nassau into Works of Art

The Downtown Nassau Partnership (DNP) and Caribbean Bottling Company Ltd are together seeking to transform more than a dozen historic and prominent downtown buildings into vibrant works of art, reports.

The $100,000 ‘Love My Bahamas’ program involves 15 professional local and international artists, who have been selected to paint larger-than-life murals. The featured artist include: Antonius Roberts, John Beadle, Chantal Bethel, Lillian Blades, John Cox, Jessica Colebrook, Claudette Dean, Tyrone Ferguson, Kendall Hanna, Jace McKinney, Kishan Munroe, Jolyon Smith, Allan Wallace and Arjuna Watson. The artists will convert 15 buildings on the current eyesore list into splashes of color depicting Bahamian themes. Among the buildings to be transformed are the Baker property, the Trinity Church property, Bolam House, the Betty K warehouse and the Cotton Ginny property. The artists will work for 60 days in April and May. The works will be on display on June 14 and remain on exhibit for a city walking tour until December 2011.

According to Director General for the Ministry of Tourism, Vernice Walkine, the project will allow visitors to quickly capture a sense of what The Bahamas is all about. “This is very exciting time for art in the country. I am excited that the artist will be depicting the vibrancy, and colour of who we are. The timing could not better with all of the things we [the ministry] are intending to do downtown in the near future,” said Ms. Walkine.

. . .

Ms. Walkine also pointed out that the concept has been very successful in several major cities in the United States and Europe.

“Having seen similar works in cities like Philadelphia where buildings actually become works of art, I was quite excited about what it could do for downtown. Once I saw the proposed sketches, I was absolutely thrilled with the concept,” said Ms. Walkine.

Caribbean Bottling Marketing Director Michelle Lewis said the company is excited about the partnership.

“When this idea was proposed I saw its potential immediately,” said Ms. Lewis.

Ms. Michelle Lewis, Caribbean Bottling Marketing Director and sponsor of the project, said Coca-Cola’s part in the investment exemplifies its commitment to lasting and sustainable efforts relevant to community needs. “This encourages a unique, enriched and visual experience for our visitors,” said Ms. Lewis.

Caribbean Bottling is providing several levels of support, including underwriting costs associated with an art workshop for students, public relations programming, media outreach, site preparation and studio space for those who are painting off-site. The DNP is an interim organization formed in 2009 as a joint venture of the private and public sectors to achieve a progressive redevelopment of the city of Nassau. Its main task includes developing a framework for the government to legislate a self-financing Business Improvement District that would manage and promote the city going forward and create a detailed master plan to advance various short-term initiatives.

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