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A Wine and Art Festival was presented by Abaco Pathfinders on May 30 from noon to 8 PM at curly tails. This was a wine tasting event with a chance to purchase fine wine by the bottle or the case while enjoying an art and craft show featuring Abaco's top artists and artisans. A silent auction was also held and light classical music provided an enjoyable background to the event.

Pathfinders Wine & Art Festival Raises Scholarship Funds

Trio in Abaco.

A Wine and Art Festival was presented by Abaco Pathfinders on May 30 from noon to 8 PM at curly tails. This was a wine tasting event with a chance to purchase fine wine by the bottle or the case while enjoying an art and craft show featuring Abaco’s top artists and artisans. A silent auction was also held and light classical music provided an enjoyable background to the event.

During the first half of the afternoon keyboard music was provided by Garnell Stewart and two of her young students while during the latter half of the event the patrons were serenaded by a violin and cello trio of musicians from the Bahamas National Symphony Orchestra.

Due to a situation beyond the control of the organisers the sixteen artists/artisans had to be divided into two separate areas. Those in the Curly Tails area were Jo-ann Bradley, Justin Bejamin, Shirley Higgs (Art), Kimberley Sturrup, Vonda Bethel, Stephen Knowles, Laine Snow (Crafts), Melanie Rees, Celia Rogers and Peter Bradley (Jewellery). In the Moorings area were Ginny Warner and Mirella Santillo (Jewellery), Christine Sawyer-Burri, Every Child Counts School, Don Wood, Francoise Hedden (Crafts), Ritchie and Roshanne Eyma and Melissa Maura (Art).

The wide variety of work displayed provided for some interesting browsing and purchasing. Many of the artists/artisans are people whose work we have come to know and enjoy seeing over the years but there were a couple of newcomers to this event. The work of newcomer, Justin Benjamin, an 18-year-old who graduated last year from Long Bay School, really caught this reporter’s eye.

Although he has previously worked in several different mediums he is currently concentrating on scratch board work. For this technique a board is covered in a chalky substance and then painted over with India ink. This is then cut or scraped using pointed scribes of differing shapes. According to his teacher, Jo-ann Bradley, this technique is difficult to master and takes excellent hand and eye coordination to achieve the level which Justin has achieved. Two very fine examples of his work depicting animals were on display.

Justin plans to attend the College of the Bahamas in September to major in art.

Melissa Maura, who displayed paintings of sea and native wildlife, was a newcomer to the Abaco scene from Nassau. She is well known in Nassau for her beautiful photography and artwork. One of her large commissioned paintings is on display at the Nassau International Airport.

A new line of bracelets incorporating Bahamian coins by Melanie Rees and her assistant Celia Rogers has become very popular among both Bahamians and visitors and sold well at the event.

Something else new which caught the eye was a large painting by Jo-ann Bradley which she calls ‘A Tour Around Abaco’ and which depicts many of the famous sights one would see on a tour of the island and cays. This large, brightly painted picture is quite a contrast to the smaller paintings of seascapes in more subdued hues for which she has become known.

There were so many interesting items on display ranging from fish and seahorses made from small driftwood pieces, decoupage work using delicate paper napkins, large carved fish to colourful quilting, attractive jewellery and even air plant mobiles incorporating driftwood and sea urchins.

What could have been a disaster for the artists due to an unexpected cloudburst was averted by the foresight of the organizers who had placed each participant under a tent. Persons also enjoyed the tasting of a large variety of both red and white wines and some delicious hors d’ouevres.

The event was organized as a fundraiser by Pathfinders to provide scholarships for worthy students wishing to study abroad.

“Pathfinders not only gives money for partial scholarships, usually of a four-year duration, but also offers one on one support and guidance to students for the entire time the scholarship is in use. Many students cannot afford to attend a college or university in the United States, Europe or Canada without some sort of guarantee that full tuition for a year will be paid. Even highest achievers cannot go without a guarantee of funds which means that students of wealthier parents will go and those whose parents of lesser means will have to settle for less. When this happens, The Bahamas loses because a student of great potential cannot bring home skills, knowledge, learning and ability that would greatly benefit society,” stated Jo-ann Bradley, one of the organisers of the event.

She urges everyone to please attend future Pathfinder events to help make it possible for a young person from Abaco to take a giant step towards realizing his or her dreams.

Donations towards supporting students with scholarships are always gratefully received and anyone wishing to make a donation may make a cheque payable to Abaco Pathfinders and mail it to Abaco Pathfinders at P.O.Box AB 20213, Abaco, Bahamas.

Pathfinders is an IRS501(c)(3) Corporation and donations in US funds are tax deductible.

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