September 23, 2017 12:18 pm Last modified: 7:54 am

St. Thomas Art Galleries

It must be the beautiful Caribbean weather and beaches that inspire the paintings and sculptures from dozens of local artists. Interesting downtown galleries include the Jonna White Gallery, Bernard K. Passman Gallery, Gallery St. Thomas, and several others. Out of the downtown area, check out Mango Tango near Tutu and the numerous sculpture, pottery, and painting galleries at Tillett Gardens.
Mango Tango
Mango Tango, without a doubt the island's largest and most artistically diverse gallery, has been one of the bright spots in Virgin Islands art for close to 20 years. Gallery co-owner Jane Coombes nurtures long and productive relationships with the artists she works with and said in an earlier interview with the Source, "The artists give us exclusivity and total commitment to creating great art, and in return we give them exhibition space, marketing power, and encouragement to take risks." The gallery features paintings in all mediums, sculpture, photography, woodturning, metal work, ceramics, collages, quilts and more. The gallery also hosts monthly "meet the artist" art exhibitions from November through May. Each show features work by a different artist, or artists, as these are often group shows. Mango Tango openings are fun island affairs and are always well attended. They're also an opportunity to hear the mellow, rock stylings of gallery co-owner, Smokey Pratt's, band 2 Blue Shoes. Click here to learn more about the Gallery!
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Gallery St. Thomas
Gallery St. Thomas proves that Caribbean art "doesn't have to be all beaches and palm tress," said owner Claire Ochoa. The large and well-lit gallery features original oil and watercolor paintings, wood sculpture, photography and prints and reproductions. Featured artists include David Millard, a member of the American Watercolor Society, Virgin Islands artist Eric Winter, St. John native William Stoehr, Kimberly Boulon, Teri Jones, and others. There are frequent art openings at the gallery, and Gallery St. Thomas sponsors "The Art Show" at Alexander's Bella Blu every other month. "I'm really proud of our collection," Ochoa said.
Gallery St. Thomas is located across Main Street from Cardow Jewelers, on the upper level above The Crystal Shoppe. The gallery will ship art, and does framing as well. Prices range from $20 for prints to more than $10,000 for original works. The Gallery St. Thomas Web site is at Check out the Gallery St. Thomas Web site!, and the phone number is 777-6363.
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Tillett Gardens
Tillett Gardens is a community of artists centered on a beautiful courtyard in the heart of Tutu. Sharing the soothing courtyard garden are the Tillett Gallery, several ceramics artisans, a candle-maker, an oil painter, a doll-maker and a Zen Center that offers a full menu of massage and other body/mind treatments, yoga classes and more. The Garden also plays host to the Arts Alive! series of classical performances, "Concerts in the Garden"of The garden also features a music school, the open-air Jack's Restaurant (famous for its wings), Pistarckle Theater, which produces several plays each year, and more. For more information on the gardens, go to The Tillett Gardens Web site!, or call 775-1929.
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Joanna White
Jonna White's art is a modernized approach to a technique that dates back to the 16th century – etching. Artists such as Rembrandt a simpler method of etching – also known as Intaglio – but in the past thirty years the art form has become more complex, as artists have learned to use several plates and different paints to create layered effects. White cuts and etches metal plates using nitric acid, brushes and scribes. She then layers the metal etching with several colors of ink, and presses it into cotton-fiber paper. White's pieces are unique paintings pressed into high-quality paper. White also has watercolor and oil paintings at her gallery. has lived on St. Thomas since the late 1970s. Johnna White Gallery will frame and ship art pieces. For more information, call 774-1201.
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Bernard K. Passman Gallery
Bernard K. Passman works primarily in the rare black coral from Caribbean waters. He creates small, unique sculptures from the medium, embellished with yellow gold as well as wearable art and some larger commissioned pieces. Passman started working in black coral while living on Grand Cayman in the 1970s, and he has focused his sculpture work in that medium since. He has created sculptures for royalty (including Prince Charles and Princess Diana) and modern celebrities. His love for animals and a safari to Africa in the 1990s inspired a number of his sculptures, including giraffes, leopards and elephants.
Bernard K. Passman will ship pieces and have a lifetime warranty. In addition to the gallery's Main Street location, Passman also has a small gallery in Havensight Mall. Other galleries are in Beverly Hills, Calif., Las Vegas, New Orleans and in other cities. Passman currently lives in Washington, D.C. Their toll-free phone number is 866-727-7672.
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Bambini Arts
Bambini Arts is "a little bit more on the contemporary side," said artist Vincent Roy Bambini. The colorful oil paitings light up his small space in Royal Dane Mall, off of Main Street downtown. "What we wanted was more of an alternative feeling," Bambini said. "Approaching the edge and pushing it a little bit brings me back to why I'm an artist." Bambini works mostly in acrylics, and his wife Ellen Swane works in acrylics, oils and pastels. Bambini's roots are on the North side of St. Thomas, where his mother grew up, but after Vincent Roy Bambini moved back to St. Thomas from New York, Bambini has lived downtown since 1999. He and his artist wife, Ellen Swane, opened Bambini Arts in 1999 and the space displays art by both artists. In addition, Vincent hosts drawing sessions in a historic building just north of downtown for a small fee. For more information on the drawing sessions and on Bambini Arts, call 775-4766.
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David Hill Gallery
David Hill is a St. Thomian whose art reflects his attraction to water. He works in both oils and etchings, and gallery visitors can see his etching press in the gallery. Hill is one of the youngest artists on the island to have his own gallery, though his pieces have also been show at Gallery St. Thomas and can be seen at Galleria Del Sol on St. John. The Like many of the other galleries, Hill's work ranges from $30 for prints to several thousand dollars for original oils.
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East Meets West Gallery
East Meets West is one of downtown's newest galleries. It opened in early 2006 just west of Hotel 1829. The space features art from India and China as well as the Caribbean. Sculptures, paintings in unique mediums (including artwork made from sailboat canvas) and more line the walls of the colorful space. In the future, energetic and friendly owner Ronita Mohanani and his wife hope to start monthly wine and cheese events in the gallery's courtyard. Mohanani, a St. Thomas native, is the original creator of Sandals for Your Neck. For more information on events and the gallery, call 775-6381.
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Native Arts and Crafts Cooperative
The Native Arts and Crafts Cooperative temporarily closed in early 2006 to move to a new, more spacious location. From locally painted tiles, jewelry, wood sculpture and more, it's a good place to find less expensive and very unique C
aribbean pieces. Close to 100 artisans, crafters and artists have pieces at the Co-op. Some of the more popular pieces are spice racks carved from native woods, dolls, hand-woven baskets and locally created postcards. Located downtown. For more information, call 340-777-1153.
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