Have you been trying to think of something unique and entertaining to do with your time on St. Thomas? Whether you are vacationing, or just enjoying a day off from work, why not spend a day taking in the sights and sounds of Tillett Gardens!
Tillett Gardens was designed by Jim Tillett in 1959 to be an “old world retreat from the stresses of life centered around arts and crafts.” The property used to be an old Danish cattle farm, but now you will find brightly colored semi-open buildings set among tropical plants and trees. The garden provides visitors an opportunity to visit artists in their studios while they create, and to experience the unique and colorful culture of the Caribbean. Today, Tillett Gardens is still an artistic oasis that boasts a thriving community of artists on the east side of the island. It now features the Arts Alive Foundation, a few restaurants, a guest house/hostel, physical/healing arts studio, live performance theater, and multiple crafts and jewelry shops. The mission of the Arts Alive Foundation, founded by Rhoda Tillett in 1981, is to “present the best in visual and performance art in the Virgin Islands, and to involve and encourage young people in the appreciation, study and performance of fine music and visual arts”.
Arts Alive annually presents ‘Art in the Garden’- a collection of arts and crafts festivals as well as concerts that continue to grow in popularity with the public. The arts and crafts festivals give artists a venue to sell their works, as well as giving the community an opportunity to meet and interact with them. Since its start in 1981, Art in the Garden has featured more than 2000 local artists, artisans and crafters, and hundreds of local musicians. The festivals have also featured many special performances such as tap dance, ballet, ballroom dance, martial arts, fashion shows, etc. Throughout the years, Tillett Gardens has been also been hosting performances by countless internationally acclaimed musicians of a multitude of genres.
Another great feature found at the Gardens is the Pistarkle Theater. Established in 1991, the Pistarkle Theater in St. Thomas, USVI, provides another unparalleled outlet for the arts among an island with a culturally diverse community and rich artistic heritage. Located at Tillett Gardens since 2000, the only professional theater on the island’s mission is to “provide quality theater, training, and educational programming that is designed to enlighten and entertain”. This modern, fully licensed venue presents 6 full-length plays each season, as well as additional annual programming that includes workshops for children and young adults, film screenings, summer programs, and various classes.
Many local businesses, such as Bolongo Bay Beach Resort, support local arts in any way they can. Bolongo often provides accommodations for performers, as well as promoting the various theatrical and musical performances. Tillett Gardens provides such a wonderfully creative and artistic outlet for our community, that we love to support and partake in everything they offer!
There’s always something exciting going on at Tillett Gardens! To find out more information on Pistarkle Theater’s productions, check out their website for a full schedule of events. The Arts Alive website always has information on upcoming concerts and festivals as well. If you’re planning your vacation to St. Thomas, check with our activities desk about securing tickets and transportation to take part in one of these fun events!
Thursday20 Mar 2014