Baha Mar Forms Major Art Alliance

By in News on February 23, 2013

View the in-progress photos of the paintings being created at Popopstudios

The mega resort Baha Mar has formed an alliance with the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas (NAGB) and the country’s major art collectors that will provide an exciting new space to showcase Bahamian art.

Baha Mar President Tom Dunlap announced on Thursday night at the resort’s topping off ceremony that Baha Mar is partnering with the NAGB, the D’Aguilar Art Foundation and the Dawn Davies Collection. Through the alliance, the NAGB will curate art works on loan from the D’Aguilar and Davies collections for the resort’s gallery at the Baha Mar Convention Center.

The NAGB will also provide consultative services to help Baha Mar acquire and commission a diverse collection of new Bahamian art for the property’s lobbies and guest rooms, Dunlap said.

NAGB Director Amanda Coulson described the alliance as a “galvanizing moment” for the culture industry in The Bahamas.

“It’s significant that a world-class resort feels the NAGB brand and the Bahamian artists we champion are of such high quality that a partnership should be entered into and that we can use this as a strong motivation for visitors to choose The Bahamas as a culture destination,” Coulson told Guardian Arts&Culture.

The partnership, she said, means that Bahamian art and culture are going to be at the forefront of the Baha Mar experience and will communicate the richness of the country’s heritage to visitors from around the world.

“The space and opportunity they are affording us is also extraordinary both in size and scope, allowing NAGB to develop projects that we could not house in our current historical building; creating an artist- in-residence studio where artists can interact with visitors; commissioning and purchasing large-scale artworks – all from local artists – as well as providing us with a broad international reach without even having to ship a single work or person off-island.”

The NAGB also worked closely with Baha Mar for the topping off ceremony.

NAGB chief curator John Cox curated the art segment of the ceremony, using a team of artists — Chardo Barrett, Allan Wallace, Tyler Johnston, Jace McKinney and Sue Katz — to illustrate the ‘Roots and Wings’ event concept.

During the formal segment of the ceremony, while speeches were being delivered, Barrett, Wallace, Johnston and McKinney created a painting on the stage. A replica of the painting was used as the official topping off ‘tree’. Katz’s piece “Roots & Wings”, inspired by her “Cycle” installation currently featured in the NE6 at NAGB, was also featured during the ceremony.

Cox said it was an honor to be able to create the visual arts vision for the ceremony.

“Visual arts are growing in relevance and significance in the broader Bahamian community and this is evidenced by how institutions like Baha Mar are willing to put art in the forefront of such a significant milestone for the project,” he said.

“It felt like the precursor to the collaboration that has already been solidified with (Baha Mar).”

In his ceremony speech, Baha Mar Chairman and CEO Sarkis Izmirlian said: “Roots and Wings. No other theme could better describe building Baha Mar. With our roots deeply grounded in authentic Bahamian culture and our wings made of a collection of extraordinary people and one of a kind world famous brands and alliances, the vision of Baha Mar is ready to take flight.”

Erica Wells
The Nassau Guardian
Published: Saturday, February 23, 2013

View the in-progress photos of the paintings being created at Popopstudios

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