Artisan Village –Official Opening Ceremony

Charlestown, May 25, 2018- Yesterday Nevis officially opened a modern but authentic artisan village.

Present at the opening were: Her Honor, DGG Mrs Majorie Morton, Premier Mark Brantley, NIA Cabinet ministers – Hon Brand, Hon Evelyn, Hon Troy (absent but event sponsor), Permanent Secretaries, Representatives from the Federal Ministry of Tourism – Novelette Morton, Shalene Welcome, Heads of Department and other senior government officials, NTA Representative, Supervisor and Staff of the Nevis Craft House, Director of SEDU – Ms Catherine Forbes, Corporate Sponsors – TDC, Courts, Horsfords, Participants and teachers from schools in the Inter High Schools Culinary Competition, Other specially invited guests, Head of the Artisan Village Vendors Association, Mrs Mildred Williams, vendors and Ministry of Tourism staff.

A celebration of culmination of a project with a 10 year journey concluded yesterday with twin events – official opening ceremony to celebrate milestone of official opening of Artisan Village and inter high schools culinary competition, first of its kind on Nevis.

Objectives of Exposition Nevis – recognition of 2018 chair – bring focus to the role and function of the Ministry of Tourism, showcase the multi-dimensional tourism product of Nevis, recognize the contributions of stakeholders

The Artisan Village was the brainchild of late Hon Malcolm Guishard who saw the need for an interactive, authentic experience developed and brought to initial fruition by the PS Tyrone O’Flaherty and his team

Prototypes across the Caribbean were reviewed – Barbados, Bahamas and Craft Alive In Tortola – exploratory visit was done by Nicole Liburd from which a proposal was developed and presented to Cabinet

Objectives of the Artisan Village – central point for artisans, one stop shop for those looking for authentic souvenirs of Nevis, venue for showcasing of live artisan skills, a centre for tangible and intangible expressions of vibrant Nevisian culture

Origins at Old Hospital Road in 2008 – Phase 1 consisted of 6 units showcasing the products of the artisans, 2 gazebos and park benches- this site was chosen one of the few green spaces around town large enough to host a project of this nature

Inadequacies of old site – inconvenient location, concerns of NHCS

Decision to relocate the Artisan Village made in 2015 – current location chosen as new site with advantages of being more accessible to visitors and the distinct advantage of forging synergies with Nevis Craft House where visitors could experience artisans working live as they manufactured local furniture and souvenirs

Phase 2 – expansion work commenced in 2015 – location of original units, fencing, 4 additional units, cafeteria, bathroom, parking lot, walkways, landscaping

Phase 3 (2017) – expansion of snackette, gazebo area to sit and relax, and covered band stage to provide a focal point for performing arts expression and entertainment our visitors

Estimated overall cost to date for project – an investment by the Nevis Island Administration of approximately $EC 1.5 million

Phase 1 – approximately 400,000

Phase 2 – approx. 800,000

Phase 3 – approx. 300,000

Current offerings at the Artisan Village

  • 10 shop units – 19 craft vendors – featuring products from shell, coconut, leather, ceramics, stone, wood carvings, paintings, locally made soaps, hand made dolls, bamboo work, basket work, locally designed clothes, local jewelry
  • F & B – Cafeteria (Marcie’s Tasty Bites and the smoothie shop using only natural local ingredients)
  • Bathroom facility with 4 cubicles plus security room
  • Gazebo
  • Entertainment stage/band stand
  • Professionally landscaped grounds
  • Parking lot
  • Chain link fence
  • Walkways
  • Improved linkage to Nevis Craft House

Acknowledgement of persons instrumental in project

  • Late Hon Malcolm Guishard and PS Tyrone O’Flaherty for vision and being initial executors of the project
  • PS Carl Williams for continuing management of project up to the time of his passing
  • Premier Brantley for passionate support of the project
  • NHLDC and Public Works Department – phase 1 of project, repainting and repair of original units in 2017 (Public Works)
  • Camille Kelly – creative genius in layout, maximizing effective use of space, ensuring Caribbean authenticity in design of units, chattel house concept, choice of colours etc. Dual role as project manager. Attention to detail – worked until last minute to ensure everything was in place
  • Contractor – Jonathan ‘Sunda’ Liburd and his team – phases 2 and 3
  • Contractor Samuel Tyson and team
  • Earl Liburd & Team – expansion of cafeteria, construction of gazebo, work on two new units, maintenance
  • LEFCO – transporting original units from Old Hospital Road to Craft House grounds
    Physical Planning – assisted in selection of sites
  • NHCS – providing information and interpretation on original site on Old Hospital Road
  • Painters – Abdue Challenger, Cardinal ‘Johnny’ Williams, Michael Webbe and Christopher Ekeh – professional finish
  • Garfield Hanley, Kamoy ‘Tosh’ Hobson for
  • Neil Bridgeman and his survey crew – marking out sites for units on new site
  • Vaughan Anslyn – artwork on stage as well as national flag design on Artisan Village gate
  • Glenville Morton for erecting sign
  • Jimmy Simmonds for designing and fabricating sign
  • Franklyn Stapleton – landscaping inside grounds, immediate external perimeter – professional dedicated, transformative
  • MOT team workers – Amelia Chiverton, Nicole Liburd, Lydia Lawrence, Nyoka Bailey
  • MOT security
  • Cleaners – Shaolin Isles, Carmen Browne
  • Digicel – wifi
  • OAS – capacity building support –artisan training in shell, bamboo, leathercraft
  • Vendors esp those who have been there over past 10 years – Ms Ionie Rogers, Shelita James
  • Vendors Association headed by Mrs Mildred Williams for their willingness to collaborate among themselves and with the Ministry

Culinary Competition

  • First of its kind on Nevis
  • Charlestown Secondary, Gingerland Secondary, Nevis International Secondary
  • Fits into 2018 theme for Exposition Nevis – Eat Well, Live Well, Be Well
  • Best Appetiser, Best Entrée/Main Course, Best Dessert
  • Dessert  contained plantain, the key ingredient for St Kitts and Nevis Restaurant Week 2018 – July 20 – 29th
  • Prep for cook-off began at 9:30 am
  • Presentation to judges began at 12 noon
  • Ministry thanked cooking competition coordinator Tamica Lawrence and her MOT team
  • Ministry encourage all to support Marcella Isles Smithen – Marcy’s Tasty Bites – excellent local cuisine
  • NISS was declared overall winner of Culinary Competition

Observations – General Comments

  • Regular opening of shops is critical in the context of significant investment by NIA
  • The Ministry continues to persuading stakeholders (hotels, guesthouses, taxi drivers) to make optimal use of the facilities – the idea is gaining momentum and there is increased traffic compared with the previous location at Old Hospital Road
  • We anticipate increased synergy with the Nevis Crafthouse, our neighbour as they have been and will continue to provide an immersive experience which lends authenticity to the artisan experience for visitors who get a chance to see, touch, feel the real Nevis. We thank them for allowing us to share their space.
  • This site has enormous potential of site as entertainment and artistic venue – social and community initiatives, training, muti-faceted artistic expressions
  • Thanks to all who have joined us here in this celebration of the official opening of the Artisan Village.

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