Jennifer Kester (Forbes Travel Guide) writes about the emerging arts district if San Nicolas, Aruba. Aruban Tito Bolivar was inspired by similar arts projects in Bogota, Colombia, to create an outdoor gallery of 44 murals.
Aruba’s white sand, aquamarine waves and fiery sunsets look like the makings of a watercolor. But if you can wrest your eyes from the beaches’ saturated colors, you can see some real art on this Caribbean island.
From popular Palm Beach, head about 20 miles south to San Nicolas, an emerging arts district coated in Technicolor. Artists hailing from Argentina to Amsterdam have come to Aruba to create an outdoor gallery of 44 murals, many of which focus on nature themes. [. . .] The Ritz-Carlton, Aruba arranged a private guided excursion with Aruba Mural Tours that led us through the downtown streets followed by a workshop with a local artist to create our own painting.
The tour and murals mark a new direction for San Nicolas. While it is the island’s second-largest city (after the capital, Oranjestad), its downtown is barren. Residents and businesses deserted the area when Exxon closed its oil refinery in 1985, leaving empty storefronts that soon became eyesores. As San Nicolas floundered and changed into no-man’s-land, the island and its visitors turned their attention to Oranjestad and later Palm Beach.
Aruban Tito Bolivar traveled to Bogota, Colombia, in 2015 and fell in love with the city’s street art and the way it transformed different neighborhoods. He envisioned adopting a similar strategy back home to breathe new life into San Nicolas’ dilapidated buildings.
[Many thanks to Peter Jordens for bringing these links to our attention. Photo above: Aruba’s Colorful New Face, JENNIFER KESTER. See more murals at https://arubaartfair.com/arubamurals/]