On April 8, over 140 lovers of art and culture attended the opening of the “Moko Jumbies: Icons of the Virgin Islands” art exhibition fundraiser at the Virgin Islands Children’s Museum. The Guardians of Culture Moko Jumbies traveled to St. Thomas to help bring Willard John’s ‘Mokolution’ presentation to life for event attendees. Utilizing entertainment to help educate, or “edutainment,” John and his students tell the story of the evolution of the Moko Jumbie from West Africa to the Virgin Islands.
After learning more about our Moko Jumbies, visitors witnessed the cutting of the ribbons to reveal a well-curated collection of paintings, sculptures and mixed media works from artists on St. Thomas, St. John and St. Croix.
“Thirteen of the 45 art pieces were made by students so we hope that during this last week, their friends and family come out to purchase art and encourage our young artists to continue to create,” said Chantel Hoheb, VI Children’s Museum executive director.
Amber McCammon, VICM director of programs and curator, and Tamara Michael, formerly of CMCArts on St. Croix, collected, organized and arranged the Moko Jumbie art pieces to maximize visibility while maintaining a safe space for visiting families in which to explore, play and discover. Modeled after the art exhibition on St. Croix, artists will receive 60% of the sales, while the remaining 40% of the proceeds will benefit the Virgin Islands Children’s Museum and the Guardians of Culture Moko Jumbies.
“While the VICM has hosted art exhibitions before, this is the first time hosting an art fundraiser. We thank the following artists for being a part of this fundraiser;
Janet Cook-Rutnik (St. John)
Edney Freeman (St. Thomas)
Christina Colletti (St. Thomas)
Rosalyn Rossignol (St. Thomas)
Waldemar Brodhurst (St. Croix)
Nidhi Harish (St. Thomas)
Elwin Joseph (St. Croix)
Joffre George (St. Croix)
Nick Heinemann (St. Thomas)
Augustin Holder (St. Thomas)
Mabel Maduro (St. Thomas)
Lucien Downes (St. Croix)
Tamara Michael (St. Croix)
Jasmine Lindquist (St. Thomas via California)
Dyonna Potter (St. Thomas)
The Moko Jumbies art exhibition will be on display at the children’s museum until Sunday, May 7. The art pieces are also on the VI Children’s Museum website for purchase, https://bit.ly/3Hr2iDU. A few pieces like Mr. Freeman’s Gem Series Mocko Jumbie Diamond Sculpture cannot ship due to their size and must be picked up at the museum; however, shipping is available for most items in the exhibition.
“Although we didn’t receive all the support we wanted for this event, we are grateful to the sponsors who stepped up. Thanks to Diageo USVI, the Guardians of Culture Moko Jumbies were able to travel to St. Thomas to help us perform our Mokolution presentation for the people of St. Thomas. We were determined to put on this show and exhibition during Carnival on St. Thomas to further highlight the need for creative cultural events and knowledge. Our team was excited to work with another non-profit organization that works to provide developmental opportunities for Virgin Islands youth.” Willard John, founder of Guardians of Culture Moko Jumbies.
Thanks to their dedication and sponsor support, the Guardians were able to travel to St. Thomas and the VI Children’s Museum could purchase a basic hanging system that would make future art exhibits such as their Youth Art Month events a little easier.
“It was an honor to be asked to host this fundraiser in collaboration with the Guardians of Culture Moko Jumbies. We have learned many lessons that we hope will better prepare us to gain even more support from the community in the future,” said Hoheb. “Thank you to Keswick Insurance, The Stephenson family (International Private Bank and International Capital & Management Company), and the Virgin Islands Council on the Arts for their support of this exhibition and the youth of the Virgin Islands.”
Although some pieces have sold, members of the community living in the Virgin Islands and off-island are encouraged to visit the children’s museum to see the art pieces in all their glory or to view the exhibition on the VI Children’s museum website. Creating art has been proven to result in better academic results for students and also assists in developing their problem-solving, behavioral and social skills.
Fundraisers help to ensure non-profits like the VICM and Guardians can stick around to provide valuable services for the community. The Virgin Islands Children’s Museum is located in Buccaneer Mall, right across the street from First Bank in Port of Sale Mall. Operating hours this week will be 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
If there are any questions or someone wishes to purchase art after hours, please contact the museum at [email protected].
Be sure to follow the VI Children’s Museum on Facebook and Instagram @vichildrensmuseum for information and updates. You can also follow the Guardians of Culture Moko Jumbies on Facebook @MokoJumbies.
This content was originally published here.