Crown Mountain Road will soon have a colorful new look thanks to the Kaleidoscope Mural Project. In an effort to revitalize an unkempt and unpainted retaining wall between the Crown and Hawk Botanical Gardens and the Shangri La B&B with an inspirational mural, the project will support seven artists struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The wall is part of a property that has been abandoned since Hurricane Marilyn in 1995 and includes seven partitions. Catherine Wilson, owner of Shangri La B&B and organizer of this grass roots community project, acquired the title to the derelict property adjacent to hers in September 2020. Since then, she has coordinated extensive masonry repairs on the wall and has primed it in anticipation of the painting event.
“There was a lot of stagnant negative energy in there that I was trying to clear. Wilson said. “I feel like this transition will turn a very abandoned, dark place into a place that we can all share.”
The design of the mural will feature the seven chakras of ancient Buddhist and Hindu traditions. Each of the seven chakras has a unique symbol, location, name and role, and each is associated with a specific color of the rainbow, musical note and flower with a certain number of petals.
Iréne Debrice, a public health scientist, will paint a representation of the root chakra, symbolizing physical identity, stability and grounding. Marcel Ferreyra will paint the sacral chakra of sexuality, pleasure and creativity. Nathan Visel of St. John will envision the solar plexus chakra of self-esteem and confidence. Love and compassion will be embodied by Antilles art teacher Diane Holmberg’s heart chakra. Amy Gibbs, who owns Art Explorium and conducts the Art Uncorked events, will create an image of the throat chakra, which centers on communication. The eye chakra, symbolizing intuition and imagination, will be painted by local St. Thomas artist Sarah-Ann Mitchell. The final crown chakra of awareness and intelligence will be painted by Water Island’s Sylvie Reis.
The painting event will take place the weekend of April 24-25, featuring all seven artists, DJ Soul Candy and goodie bags for the artists.
The project received a $1,000 Virgin Islands Council on the Arts mini grant to start, but Wilson and her team are looking for additional donations to pay the artists and buy supplies. They have started a GoFundMe Chakra Mural page and have entered into a fiscal sponsorship agreement with the Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands. To donate through CFVI, visit http://www.cfvi.net/donate/donate-fund.php.