Artists from at home and abroad, art lovers and well-wishers gathered at the newly restored Hummingbird Cottage in the heart of Hope Town on January 5 for the grand opening of the Hummingbird Cottage Art Centre. Hummingbird Cottage, located in the centre of town behind the post office, is one of the most charming historic Loyalist cottages in Hope Town. It has been lovingly restored by owners Jim and Christy Young who, for many years, had a vision of opening it as an art centre. Christy, who hails from Maryland, is herself an artist who is experienced in all mediums but recently discovered a passion for oils under the tutelage of Walt Bartman who has been instrumental in assisting her with her dream of beginning this art centre. She is excited for this centre to become an educational centre for workshops and is hoping that it will be a vibrant entity which will bring people from all over the world.
The original building houses a small art gallery, while an exact replica has been built adjoining it to house another gallery and which is also large enough to accommodate art classes. This is the first destination arts centre of its kind in the Abacos. This high end art centre will offer adult painting workshops and children’s art classes. Works by both instructors and participants of their painting workshops will be on display as well as work by other local artists.
On display were paintings by three professional painters, Walter Bartman of Maryland, Arnie Casavant of Massachusetts and Brigitte Boyer-Carey of Tilloo Cay, Abaco. While all three have their own individual styles with Mr. Bartman and Mr. Casavant working in oils and Ms. Bowyer-Carey working in watercolours, their paintings all display their love of the beauties of nature. Many depicted views of Hope Town Harbour and the Lighthouse, underwater scenes and old Bahamian architecture. All three of the artists were very excited about the establishment of this new arts centre. “It is wonderful; just what Hope Town has always needed – an Art Centre with art gallery and workshops,” enthused Ms. Bowyer-Carey.
Brigitte Bowyer-Carey a works in a special ‘wet on wet’ technique. The vibrant colours in her paintings reflect the joy she feels in creating. “Watercolour is my passion,” she states. Arnie Casavant, a retired art teacher, expresses a devotion to Impressionism with his work reflecting a strong emphasis on the interplay of light, shape and colour. He is another former student of Walt Bartman and discovered Hope Town when he came here for one Walt’s workshops. He feels that Mr. Bartman planted the seed on the island and that word will spread and people will come for the social experience as well as the joy of painting the island’s beauty.
Walter Bartman is a world renowned artist and teacher and is director of the Yellow Barn Gallery in Maryland. He conducts workshops throughout the world, working with all levels of students challenging them to “see more.” Mr. Bartman has been conducting workshops in Hope Town for the past 11 years and describes Hope Town as very special to him. “It gives me everything I need in range of emotion and nature,” he states.
Manager of the new Hummingbird Cottage, Robbie Bethel, was delighted at the response to this new entity. He stated that eventually it will encompass many other arts such as pottery and wood carving and he looks forward to the many opportunities this centre will open up.
The guests at the opening were treated to hors d’oeuvres and cocktails while socializing, but their main focus was to enjoy the wonderful ambiance and artwork provided. All artwork was on sale and there were many enthusiastic purchasers.
Walt Bartman’s 2013 Art Workshop ran from January 3-13 and once again this year he sponsored an Abaco student who was selected by artist Marlee Mason. This year’s recipient is Sebastian Andrews of St. Francis de Sales School who spent the week under the tutelage of this world renowned artist, his ferry fares being sponsored by Albury’s Ferry. Furniture Plus have just announced that they will supply all of the art supplies, such as canvas, paints and easel, every year for the scholarship recipient. Lectures during the week took place in the new Hummingbird Cottage art Centre. His current workshop runs from January 3-13 as a total of 28 students, 18 from the United States, one from England, one from Australia and the rest from Abaco.