A Nostalgic Look Back 4

Nice to know you are appreciated.

It was an honor to be featured by the Anguilla Department of Youth and Culture, in their 1918-9 calendar. My wife and I and the gallery were featured on one and a half pages in the calendar, including the month of February, my birth month.

Needless to say it was a surprise, but we were thankful for the tribute. We love Anguilla and call it home. My wife is from the USA and myself a Bajan. I can recall traveling to Barbados for a reunion and a well-known Anguillan Lady on the plane asked me a pertinent question: “Courtney are you going home or are you going to Barbados?” Without any hesitation I replied, “I am going to Barbados.”

The year 2018 was a very difficult year, probably one of the most difficult ones in my career as an artist. The island was devastated by hurricane Irma during September 2017 and business was almost nonexistent for the entire 2018 as the island was rebuilding and waiting to welcome tourists again to our shores. Lack of electricity was my major headache. As a potter with electric wheels and a sculptor with electrical tools, life was more than challenging. Luckily, a close friend of ours from NY sent us a generator and a set of battery powered tools. I am eternally grateful for the gift, as they saved my sanity.

As a full time artist and gallery owner, our revenue stream dried up and survival became the watch word. It was not until the month of December 2018 that we began to see a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. The gallery lost over 85% of its annual revenue stream. Tourist are back, many of them new. Many of our repeat customers have gotten too old to travel and some are no longer with us. But we are seeing changes in shopping habits of the new tourists, a substantial number are not leaving the hotels except for dinners in the evenings and the hotels are doing their best to keep them on the premises. Some come as corporate groups, with scheduled activities for every day of their stay. I once witnessed a group playing bingo all day by the pool bar. A sight for sore eyes.

Planning a trip to a tourist destination?

If you are visiting a tourist destination, get out and around and support the local arts and crafts establishments, the galleries and gift shops. Know where they are from the time you are planning your trip. Take a peek at Trip Adviser or similar websites.

I apologize for the quality of the images, they were taken from a copy of the calender with my cell phone.

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20 comments on “A Nostalgic Look Back 4

Are you and your wife still in Barbados? I have always wanted to go and the creativity must be amazing over there. Any time I travel, even to just go to a next-door state, I always try to find any art galleries in my area or gift shops or trade markets. Support the local artists!

Thanks Jessica for being a patron of the arts, we need people like you. If you can enlarge the images enough to read them, you will see we are in Anguilla, a beautiful little Island visible from St Maarten/ St Martin. Best wishes.

Hi, I read your post.

I do agree with you that getting to know or making plans to check out local galleries and various attraction centers while going on a tourist destination would really help immerse the experience garnered from the tour. I’m sorry you had to go through a tough time as included in the post but its a phase that everyone needs to pass through at a point in time. Glad you finally saw through and you are back up and running. 

Thanks, 2018 was a rough year, we are trying to get back to normal, but politics has a way of raising its ugly head. Have a great day.

Thank you for the personal experience and ideas you shared here. I fully agree with you that before travelling to any places we should prepare a lot so that our travels could be as useful as possible. I’m mainly interested in architecture (I love visiting cathedrals and churches), museums, photo and painting exhibitions. At the moment I’m planning to visit Paris full of fantastic possibilities! You are right nowadays we have the possibility of finding a lot of excellent info online, that’s what I’m doing to be well-informed. Any pages recommended for more info? Wishing you further success with your work!

Thank you, learning as much as possible about a new destination before you travel allows to make maximum use of your trip.I am not sure what further info you are referring to, can you be a little more specific?

Hi! I am so sorry your gallery lost over 85% of its annual revenue. It must have been a really tough period. 

When visiting a tourist destination, I always try to support the local artists. More and more people should do so – thanks for spreading awareness! 

Wishing you you the best of luck with your gallery!

Thank you, Hurricanes can be very destructive to an economy, Irma did that to some Caribbean countries, but we are bouncing back, some better than others. Have you ever experienced a hurricane?

I enjoyed your story very much as I have been to pretty much every island in the Caribbean that welcomed cruise ships. That includes St. Martin, St.Thomas, St.Barts, St. Lucia, the ABC islands of Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao, Barbados, Puerto Rico, Guadalupe, Martinique, and Grenada to name a few.

I can also sympathize with what you went through with Hurrican Irma. I was stranded in Cuba when Michelle hit and was caught in Hurricane Sandy when I was in New York. Heck, I’m a hurricane magnet. I remember being on the first cruise ship to enter St. Thomas after it was devastated by a Hurricane. I’m pretty sure it was Hurricane Irma. Incredible what destruction a hurricane can cause.

I always try to support the local economy wherever I  travel. I could tell the local merchants were struggling when I was in St. Thomas. Even though I wasn’t in the market for a ring at the time, I purchased a $500 men’s diamond ring at a small local jewelry shop. It made their day, and I still wear that ring every time I do a book signing. It has special meaning to me even after all these years.

I also know what it’s like to have your home devastated by Mother Nature. I was out of my home for 110 days because of a major flood. It is indeed a helpless feeling. If my next cruise is in your area, I will come by for a visit and check out your artwork.

I sincerely hope you can fully recover your business. As an author of eight books, I realize how much our creativity in the arts means to each of us regardless of what path we choose to express ourselves. It’s even more important that we get to share it with the world.

Ray you are a man of many travels; next time you are in St.Martin take the ferry over for the day, it’s a 20 minute ride and the ferries run every 30 to 45 minutes.Can you list some of your books? If you were in Barbados between 1971 and 87 you may have visited one of my outlets, one was in Pelican Village, a stones throw from the Deep water harbour and a -must pass- to go anywhere from the ship. Happy travels.

I am an art lover who lives in Jamaica. A valuable trip for me is to observe and purchase the art in a new destination. The art reflects the people. I am an artist myself and I know what it is like to be shown appreciation for the art that comes from your soul. Congratulations for the calendar feature. That is a big deal. I hope I get to buy some of your work sometime in the future.

Showing appreciation is very important, only yesterday I had a conversation of a wood worker from Texas, who also bought one of my creations; It was interesting to share experiences.Have a look at my Thank you. Best wishes.

Hi Courtney,

Im glad the tourists are back in your Town. I would surley take your advise when travelling again and be sure to visit the local art galleries.

May your business be blessed with many more!


Thank you for your support

So glad you and your family are safe! Never been in a hurricane but sure it is a life changing experience. Please provide more information about what to expect when you arrive. I would like to know more about the history of the place and types of people who live there! From what I see you have very beautiful pots! How did you get started making them and who inspired you or taught you how?

I am from a family of potters, but I did not take it up until my teaching days as a student teacher in England, then went onto study art at teachers College. Anguilla is 35 square miles with 35 beautiful beaches and great food.Google -The mouse that roared- and learn a little of history.

Wow, my goodness! I’ve never been through a hurricane (yet) and I never really thought about the struggles of businesses and people in the aftermath. Nor have I thought that tourism is changing. Who would go somewhere else and stay in the hotel? It’s given me a different perspective for the next time I travel. It’s amazing to see the articles and calendars celebrating you and your wife! Are you guys still in Barbados? I am hoping 2019 is a much better year for you and your gallery! Thanks for sharing your stories!

Thanks for visiting, We are now in Anguilla and I have been for the last 31 years and my wife for 21 years, although she goes back to the USA at least 4 times a year, as for me I  stay put on this little rock.Tourism is changing, and presenting some challenges for local businesses. We are seeing a lot of incentive groups, whose holidays are paid for by their companies, but the people are not free, their are planned activities for each day, and if you are not included in those activities; you are a dead duck, luckily sometimes the groups are given local gifts and my creations have been selected on 5 occasions in the last 3 years. One shopping tour per trip would be nice.Thanks for supporting the arts.

Who wouldn’t want their face on a calendar, especially by a reputable organization?

The hurricane disaster was a sad one, I’m glad many people have picked up the pieces and moved on. 

I agree with you, supporting artists is the way to go as they are always part of tourist attraction. I always love to experience a festival in whatever country or town I am visiting. There is always a fresh perspective to life after such experiences.

Thank you for your inspiring us with your journey.

Thank you, More and more people are joining the creative arts by necessity; Thanks for the support.

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