Downtown Art Tours Relaunched Under Islandz

By in News on February 4, 2012

Jonathon Murray talking to a group about Maya Hayuk's bright and vibrant work "Our Junkanoo" on Frederick and Bay Street.

In an exciting move, Islandz – the company that provides Caribbean artists with innovative ways to market their work to locals and tourists – has taken over Downtown Art Tours and will launch the rebranded tour company on Saturday, February 11 with a special inaugural tour.

The move means Islandz will not only provide authentic and innovative Caribbean products like cellphone skins featuring Bahamian art but also provide authentic Caribbean art experiences in innovative tours, says the company’s founder, Jamie Lewis.

“We don’t see it as a change but more of an expansion – to give locals, visitors and artists alike a positive experience,” he says. “They can come in, engage with the tour and can walk out with one of our products, something useful they can use to remember their experience by.”

The move is an exciting one for spotlighting the rich cultural heritage preserved in the spaces of downtown Nassau – one which Islandz will continue to do in the spirit of Downtown Art Tours. Lewis says they will still offer Walk and Talk as well as Art and Dine tours, but will expand the tours to include cultural spotlights beyond visual art, such as tours of historical architecture downtown.

“A lot of new developments have been happening downtown – there’s a lot of new energy downtown,” says Lewis. “We want to spread it out to the whole art and cultural community and for a more complete experience. It’s good for what downtown is trying to accomplish.”

Downtown Art Tours, started in 2010 by Jon Murry, sought to bridge the divide between what art spaces had to offer and an audience looking for cultural activities.

“I saw the tours as offering products for both sides of the table – on the one side I saw it as creating traffic to and awareness of what the art community has to offer to the public and then the other side is the public’s desire to be aware of what is going on,” explains Murray.

“So the tours were an opportunity to connect the two together as an economically viable, fun and educational activity.”

For Murray – whose decision to minimalize his involvement in DAT means he can pursue his studies abroad – Islandz was the perfect fit to take on the tours and continue this valuable vision as their experience shows they would be able to coordinate the desires of artists, art spaces and the clientele.

“I didn’t want it to die,” he says. “It doesn’t matter who runs it – if it’s me or another person – but I think it’s a collaborative project and it’s something that needs energy.”

“I think there is a synergy that has to go on between the managing entity and all of the spaces on tour and I think that Islandz can offer a little more structure and a little more longevity,” he continues. “I think they can diversify what’s already there and create more avenues and possibilities for the people going on these tours and the artists and art spaces as well.”

Antonius Roberts Studio and Gallery at Hillside House

The new tours offered by Islandz will launch with a special inaugural day tour this Saturday, February 11 for $20 per person. It’s an auspicious beginning for the expanded company as they will launch on the same day as – and include on the tour – the Antonius Roberts Studio and Gallery at Hillside House on Cumberland Street. It will also cover the recently-opened tribute to Jackson Burnside at The National Art Gallery of The Bahamas, “As We Knew Him”, as well as other spaces.

To book tickets for this tour or to find out more, call 601-7592 or visit

Sonia Farmer
The Nassau Guardian
Arts & Culture
Published: Saturday, February 4, 2012

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