Home News Local news Starving Artists Day Treated to Tiny Calypsonians

Starving Artists Day Treated to Tiny Calypsonians


March 10, 2008 — The shady grounds of Whim Plantation were filled with people, art, crafts, music and food Sunday at the 20th Starving Artists Day.
The Starving Artists Day is one of the St. Croix Landmarks Society’s biggest and most anticipated fundraising events, showcasing over 70 Caribbean artists, jewelers, craftspeople and food vendors.
Local artists, authors and entrepreneurs smiled and chatted while selling locally-made and original crafts, jewelry, ceramics, mahogany works, mocko jumbie sculptures, madras crafts, photography, fabrics, silks, plants, books, leather goods, candles, perfume oils, lotions, music cds, paintings, stained glass, poetry and prose. Food and drink booths featured local delectables such as patés, johnny cakes, fritters, shish kebabs, fried fish, cakes, breads, fraco slushies, local fruit smoothies, sorrel, maubi, ginger beer and mixed drinks.
The Landmark Society's museum and research library were open for the public to peruse.
Under portable tents, dozens of stands sold all manner of arts and crafts, like Sea Keys II, manned by Carolyn Keys.
"This is our third year at Starving Artists, though not in a row," Keys said. Keys, a social worker at her day job, had original tempera paintings, hand-painted china and beaded jewelry made by herself and her daughter, Rebecca Keys Lu-Way.
St. Croix native and author Robert L. Merwin had a table with books by himself and one; "Where Welcome Waits," by his namesake grandfather, who moved to St. Croix from New York at the end of the 19th century.
"It's something of a driving tour of St. Croix," Merwin said of the 1924 work. "President Herbert Hoover came to St. Croix that year and the island got some bad press afterwards about poverty and the state of things here. So Harold Benedict and my grandfather wrote this short tour of the island as a response."
Author, poet and St. Croix cultural historian Richard Schrader was there with some of his books, including his latest tome: "A Calabash of Poem: If the Gobi Tree Could Talk." Shrader has 20 volumes of poetry, biography and history.
As an added treat this year, seven of King Derby’s (Camille Macedon) Junior Calypsonians, age 3 to 13, sang traditional songs reflecting St. Croix's Caribbean culture, backed by St. Croix's one and only Xpress Band.
First up was tiny five-year-old Gira Newton, a natural performer, dancing and singing "Think A Cute" as the Xpress Band, towering over her head, backed her with instrumentals.
"She's a real calypsonian," said Derby. "She's also this year's Calypso Queen in the three-to-seven year-old division," Derby said.
Savannah Gadd, Aliyah Allick, Glenn Thomas, Sophie Leklou, Kaylah Galloway and Demaris Belardo each took to the stage to sing their hearts out to the appreciative crowd.
The sun shone, the breeze rustled in the leaves and it was a perfect Sunday for music, art and conversation while strolling the grassy Whim grounds. About 5 p.m., the art fair wound down and the strolling patrons moved reluctantly on to other spots to lime away the rest of the day.
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