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AIRPORT MURAL - a Caribbean Collaboration's video poster

Giving young artists a chance work & play together, creating a beautiful, positive mural for our community in spite of hard times. Read more

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This project was successfully funded on May 25, 2012.

Giving young artists a chance work & play together, creating a beautiful, positive mural for our community in spite of hard times.

About this project

Last Summer

105 students on St. Croix had the opportunity to explore their creativity through free smART summer pilot programs that were fully funded through the Virgin Islands Council on the Arts. The results built self-confidence, technical skills and community pride. 

 the final results were visible to all!

KEEPING THE MOMENTUM, this summer...

…experienced, local artist-teachers will mentor and collaborate with high school students on a public mural to share their positive vision of the people, places and culture of St. Croix with every single person who enters the island.

Before Kickstarter, we didn't have adequate funding to offer this free program and now we do!  We are astonished by our community's generosity in these really hard economic times. THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH for believing in us! 

Now, as fund-raising continues, we're building a college fund for selected, college-bound teens who are participating in this summer's project. [See Update #3.]

What is the project?  A beautiful and meaningful 30 foot mural; conceived of and executed by artistic teens and youth. By painting in the Henry H. Rohlsen Airport we affirm to all who enter the island that we are unique people in a special time and place on the planet. We also place the benefits of supporting the visual arts in the forefront of people's minds, while giving the youth creative and valuable work to do.   

What is our purpose?  Using art to create unity by helping to fill our community's need for identity, beauty and positive action in spite of cultural, racial and economic differences.     

Our Team 

  • Suenita Banwaree - teaching artist, STX; BFA in Fashion-CCAD,Ohio
  • Stephen Chapman - teaching artist, STX; BFA in Design-CCAD, Ohio
  • Cynthia Hatfield - project director,UVI prof.; MAAEd, MICA,Maryland
  •  Sara Hayes - self-taught clay artist, STX; BA - Wheaton College,Ma.
  • Troy Roberts - portrait artist; Central High graduate, STX
  • Junshan Fang - President NAHS, CDS high school senior, StX
  • Troy Sextius - airbrush artist, Ed Complex, StX 
  • Alexzondra Wheeler - artist/ undergrad, Univ.Virgin Islands, StX 

HERE WE ARE (below) at our first airport-mural brainstorming session. Interested teens worked with us under the guidance of smART designer, Stephen Chapman.

WE CAME UP WITH A FRAMEWORK OF THE FOUR ELEMENTS as reflected in St. Croix's unique features & people...just wait 'til you see the final design! (Now pending approval of the Virgin Islands Port Authority.)

What we've already accomplished since last summer (impacting hundreds of children, teens, youth, families & friends) - 

  • Boosting confidence and empowering our creative young people across all economic brackets through FREE programming
  • opening some eyes about our commonalities, rather than our differences
  • Teaching a great visual art program for the Upward Bound students at the University of the Virgin Islands
  • Directing the smART summer institute for gifted and talented teens at the Caribbean Museum Center for the Arts during the summer of 2011
  • Starting a visual art program at the Mon Bijou Community Center that is sustaining itself throughout this school year and into this-coming summer
  • Getting an art program going in Woodson Junior HIgh after having no art professional for 5 years
  • Starting an art exhibition space at the St. Croix airport

What's your part in this?...

  • Support our team of 4 young, Caribbean teaching-artists to mentor and model for our kids in achieving a top-notch, unique and wonderful creation to make our island proud of its sparkling youth.
  • Purchase paint and brushes - Because St. Croix has just lost its major employer, some cash to actually purchase (rather than solicit) our materials would be a huge relief.
  • AS we exceed our goal - we are making a scholarship fund...with your help. We will give a college bound smART student a boost!
  • Help us get the word out - we want to tell everyone in the Virgin Islands about our project - buy some ads, print fliers, put up a plaque, make another video.  YEAH.

Check out these from last summer:

  •  video (above) about the smART summer plans, 
  • reviews from Vi Source online paper and director, 
  • Nora Howell's comments from Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore.


  • Yes - the 2-week summer program is free to the students and their families. Like last year, we will include team-building games, snacks,tips and lessons on techniques - then, unlike last year - spend the majority of our time working together on producing a public mural. WE NOW HAVE MET OUR INITIAL GOAL - ENOUGH TO PAY STAFF ON A MODERATE LEVEL (STILL REQUIRING SOME VOLUNTEER TIME), ENOUGH TO BUY PAINT AND MATERIALS. WE'DECIDED TO CONTINUE OUR FUND-RAISING CAMPAIGN IN ORDER TO GIVE ONE OF OUR DESERVING COLLEGE-BOUND TEENS FINANCIAL SUPPORT TOWARD COSTS. WE'D LOVE TO HELP SEVERAL, DEPENDING ON YOUR SUPPORT.

    Last updated:
  • 1. Brainstorming with interested teens. Sessions were advertised in the high schools and led by a local young art teacher who came from the design industry.
    2. group selection of sketch images & stylistic examples to narrow down design parameters.
    3. Scale renderings requested from all students and smART staff resulted in staff submissions by 5 of us, which were discussed and approved by the V.I. Port Authority.
    4. COMING UP THIS FRIDAY (May 18) FINAL CRITIQUE attended by interested teen artists & smART staff to establish final content. Our final detailed scale rendering will be the product of this meeting.
    5. Design will have built-in spaces for impromptu original vignettes by students, on site.

    Last updated:


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    ...and receive our gratitude and thanks on our Facebook page.

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    7 backers receive gratitude and thanks on Facebook and a surprise animated e-card.

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    15 backers

    ...and receive our gratitude and thanks on Facebook and an invitation to our gala opening celebration to meet the artists.

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    7 backers Limited (5 left of 12)

    ...and make a real difference in our project; receive thanks, an invitation to our opening and a limited-edition print of a highlight of the final mural will be mailed to you in July.

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    to receive all of the above as well as your name on the donor's plaque on the mural wall itself.

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    Wow! You are a rare and wonderful patron and we are so grateful, we'll send you all of the above and include a matted print of a highlight of the final mural signed by all of the artists.

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    Pledge $1,500 or more

    1 backer

    There are no words to express our thanks for this kind of support! Please accept all of the above and to show our un-dying gratitude, you will have your choice of a piece of original art by one of our staff or students.

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Funding period

- (30 days)