Love My Bahamas Art Makes Downtown Nassau Pop

The Bahamas Weekly reports on a Coca-Cola sponsored art project that has brought colorful art murals to the streets of Nassau.
The colours, murals and sculptures are everywhere — on sides of buildings, on facades and under eaves, adorning stairs — 15 works of art that are transforming 15 buildings and sites in downtown Nassau. It’s all part of Nassau’s first full-fledged art in public places initiative. Called Love My Bahamas, it is co-sponsored by the Coca-Cola and Downtown Nassau Partnership in a way that has never before been seen in Nassau, it’s adding a splash of colour to a city that plays hosts to millions of visitors a year.

Part of a 15-month long campaign to bring excitement through art to historic Nassau, Love My Bahamas got another step closer to its official launch this week when signs were erected tying sponsors into the project and Coca-Cola’s tag line ‘Open Happiness’ into the visual displays.

“This is a life-changing opportunity for downtown Nassau,” said Vaughn Roberts, Managing Director of the Downtown Nassau Partnership (DNP), the organization charged with spearheading the revitalization of historic Nassau. “I don’t think there has ever been a more exciting time for art and this is the first time we have ever had anything of this magnitude.”

For Coca-Cola and the local bottler in The Bahamas, Caribbean Bottling Company, the project is both corporate and personal. Caribbean Bottling Company CEO, Walter Wells recalls downtown Nassau in its heyday. “Just walking along Bay Street made you feel alive. The air was electric. You could sense the buzz and excitement,” he says. On a corporate level, supporting the redevelopment is what Mr. Wells called “one of the most important initiatives we have ever undertaken because of the size, scope and length of commitment. The project also reflects the company’s Live Positively philosophy.” Coca-Cola supported the competition leading to the selection of artists and coordinated the workshop bringing together local and international talent. “We cannot thank Coca-Cola enough for its contribution to this massive undertaking,” said DNP Co-chairman Charles Klonaris. “The art has changed the cityscape of Nassau and provided visitors with something new to look at, talk about and photograph. It has given rise to a new reason to do a walking tour. Anything that adds to the visitor experience is good for us as a destination and should be celebrated.”

Participating artists include Antonius Roberts, John Beadle, Chantal Bethel, Lillian Blades, John Cox, Claudette Dean, Tyrone Ferguson, Maya Hayuk, Jace McKinney, Toby Lunn, Kishan Munroe, Jolyon Smith, Allan Wallace, Arjuna Watson and Daniel Weise.

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