St. Thomas Pride organizers use art to embrace diversity

 “The best way to show the community how together we are is to bring art first,” Chunikwa George, an Artist and architect said.

George and artist Amy Gibbs are using their talents to bring a community conversation to the table.

Or easel. 

“It’s just a part of the self-expression. I think it’s, of course, this is what I do, I have this studio for people to come and create art. And I think it is important for people who don’t necessarily just consider themselves artists but also just everybody who wants to express themselves,” Amy Gibbs, Owner at Art Uncorked/ Art Explorium in Tillet Gardens, St. Thomas said.

That’s why they are leading the charge of this year’s PRIDE events in St. Thomas.

PRIDE Month, in the month of June, celebrates the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer community. 

George and Gibbs believe that art is a great first step into letting people be who they are.   

“The Caribbean community is kind of small and tight knit and we tend to be a little behind when it comes to some of the things that normal people think is like open and free so I think we’re really trying to slowly step into the community so that they can accept us easily without us pushing ourselves in their face. So, who doesn’t like beautiful things,” George added.

Art is the focus of the St. Thomas Pride weekend June 21-23. 

Events include a Pride Rally where people will be making a community art piece and an art exhibition at a the local 7 minus 7 Art Collective. 

“We’ve been around for 12 years in Virgin Islands supporting underground art and diversity in the community and I think that this is a pretty good example of a diversity event that supports people with very open avenues of lifestyle,” Clay Jones, Director of 7 Minus 7 Art Collective added.

Organizers hope that through the weekend events, the community will become more supportive of diversity through alternative ways of art. 

“Our tag line is you don’t’ have to be gay to play. It is really important for everyone to know it is all about support and love and acceptance,” said Gibbs.

A group of people hope that art can transform a community.