Dozens of people sat rapt on Saturday at The Caribbean Museum Center for the Arts (CMCArts), as they listened to the smooth sounds of local musicians, Eddie Russell and Friends. It’s all part of the Jazz at the Museum concert series offered free every month by CMCArts, and according to the museum’s board chair president, Tralice Bracy, it’s been great for everyone involved. “It all started based on trying to create a healing space for the community,” said Bracy.
The idea for the concert series, actually started as an education program for students, and was birthed by CMCArts artists-in-residence, Jared and Christel Astin, who came to St. Croix in 2017 to provide an after school program for the islands’ children. That’s according to Ms. Bracy who added that the Astins were so overwhelmed by the devastation from Hurricanes Irma and Maria, that they wanted to offer Sunday concerts, in addition to the after-school programming, as a way for people to heal. They did the weekly concerts in December 2017 and January 2018, which was funded by the Shield of Fortune Foundation.
Additional funding to support the after-school program and monthly concerts during Summer 2018 was provided through a grant by the Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands (CFVI), and then a grant through the VI Council on the Arts (VICA), helped to continue the concert series through the rest of 2018, and that’s when the event series actually got the name Jazz at the Museum.
The concert series spotlights local talent, in addition to bringing awareness to the museum and its exhibits. Local musician, Mario Thomas, is the curator of the concert series, and he has been lining up local musicians like Eddie Russell and Friends, every month.
The museum just introduced a new exhibit called New Blood 3 which was conceived by local artist Lucien Downes, to showcase both established and emerging artists, the idea being to provide a platform whereby the newer artists could get an entirely new audience.
The jazz concerts are held monthly and are free to the public, and will be held for at least the next few months. “I’m excited to say that the Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands just funded the Westin Music Institute program at CMCArts, and they are funding Jazz at the Museum until May,” added Bracy. Next month’s concert will feature Jarad and Christel Astin on February 2, 2019.
For more information on the Jazz at the Museum concert series, or the museum’s exhibits, please visit https://www.cmcarts.org .