Art students unveiled a mural of self-portraits at the Belair Beach Hotel in a ceremony on Monday afternoon. Pictured: Work on the mural under the watchful eye of Gustave Nouel Croes (in white hat). Story on the page.
BELAIR — Two groups of art students unveiled a self-portrait mural at the Belair Beach Hotel during a ceremony held at the property Monday afternoon where certificates were awarded.
Students have participated in workshops over the past few weeks given by renowned Aruba-born Dutch artist Gustave Nouel Croes. The workshops jointly sponsored by the National Institute of the Arts (NIA) and the Belair Hotel culminated in the painting of the mural at the hotel over the weekend under the theme “Caribbean Faces”.
An interesting aspect of the project is that the participating students had a wide range of skills; from the complete beginner to the passionate and talented amateur, to the art teacher in the process of being refreshed, to the oldest participant at 77 years old.
Two workshops were held, the first in early July for a six-hour week and the second in August. A total of nine students participated, learning the universal basics.
They are: Luvincia Majestine Gumbs, Sylvère Carty, Silvia Carty, Julie Alcid, Angelica Rae-Edilco, Isabel Lugo, Dhrishti Croes-Alwani, and from the Charlotte Brookson Academy Sade Sherriff and Suenique Buchanan.
The mural included a portrait of Arnold Harris, owner of the Belair Beach Hotel (but absent from the ceremony) and Beulah Jemmott, the hotel’s longest-serving employee. Jemmott, who retired but was replacing staff on vacation, received a gift basket from timeshare sales department manager Frances Brooks.
The mural was unveiled with the help of Funtopia’s Moko Jumbie stilt walkers, Shammy Edward and Shadina Bryan. Gustave Nouel presented the certificates to each of the students individually before they posed for photos under their own portraits.
Beginning art student Julie Alcin said she didn’t have a particular goal in mind when she started the workshops, but as a creative, arts-loving person, she wanted to learn something new.
“As I got into it and learned to draw, I started to develop a passion for it,” she explained. “It wasn’t something I wanted to do just for fun, but I fell in love with it. I kept practicing, practicing, showing my work to Gustave, asking him for advice on how to make this and that. I loved the progress I was making. I loved the experience.
And how did she find Gustave’s teaching? “He’s an excellent teacher. He breaks it down so it’s easy to understand and it’s very accessible and helps you grow with the skills you have.
Art teacher Silvia Carty joined the workshops because “sometimes it’s good to go back to basics and be a student”.
“Even when we have something in common, each artist has their own way of seeing things. It means you can always learn from other artists,” she said. “This process has been very beneficial to me.”
French Quarter’s Luvincia Gumbs (77) said the workshops piqued her interest after hearing Gustave speak on the radio during an interview.
“When I heard him speak, I thought that was fine with me. I love dabbling in arts and crafts. We had three drawing classes of eyes, nose, mouth and ears. Gustave told me about it and it was the best experience. I’m retired so it’s good to do these things.
Attending the ceremony were NIA Director Arlene Newhouse-Halley and NIA Board Members, Culture Department Head Clara Reyes and Isidore York along with some of her Ebony Steel Orchestra members.