St. Maarten Arts and Crafts Foundation founder and president Esther Narcisco-Williams and Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs unveil a section of the large mural called a page from the “Culture Book of St. Maarten” at the official opening of Our Creations Arts and Craft Home at Titah Frock Park on Union Road, Cole Bay.
COLE BAY--Authentic island-made arts and crafts now have a permanent presence with the recent opening of Our Creations Arts and Craft Home at Titah Frock Park on Union Road, Cole Bay – the home of the Titah Frock figurine, created by the artistic minds of Our Creations, St. Maarten Arts and Crafts Foundation.
The foundation on the occasion of the opening paid tribute to the late Roberto Celesto Arrindell, a poet and cultural icon in his own right, along with Urmain Dormoy, a cultural all-rounder who is a giant on the island’s musical scene. The official ceremony was hosted by lady of culture Clara Reyes and was completed with performances by Generation New Status Drum Band and the Cole Bay Theatre Company.
Foundation founder and president Esther Narcisco-Williams shared at the opening: “We started out here in 2021 with just a trailer where I am standing.”
The foundation is very grateful that the home location offers an open-air space to complement its arts & crafts store, arts and craft studio where the Titah Frock sculptures are created and painted, and an office and kitchen.
Through a funding from Resources for Community Resilience R4CR, the foundation was able to renovate its kitchen; add air conditioners; buy sewing machines; put in a wheelchair-accessible gazebo and have a large cultural and heritage-inspired mural painted across the building façade. “Movie nights and storytelling will take place right here under the gazebo. Stay tuned,” said Narcisco-Williams.
The mural was painted by Elena and Loic Bryan “and portrays our S’Maatn cultural parade with the couple in their cultural attire. The lady’s impressive cultural outfit flows majestically and spans that area completely. She holds the book of St. Maarten culture in her hand,” explained Narcisco-Williams. As part of the official opening, a section of the mural, called a page from the “Culture Book of St. Maarten” was unveiled by Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs and Narcisco-Williams.
A larger-than-life statue of the Titah Frock adds to the atmosphere in front of the mural. This sculpture was made and painted by Lidy Sarmiento-Contreras in 2021. The Titah Frock project, which also started that year, helped the foundation to become financially self-resilient through sales of the mini sculptures. Aiding this resilience are seniors who spend time painting Titah Frock sculptures.
“We have started working with a group of ladies from the Helping Hands Foundation outreach group who come out on Wednesday mornings to paint Titah Frock sculptures. We have a wonderful time of jollification together. It is our hope that this can be expanded in the future,” Narcisco-Williams said.
The foundation invites anyone who wants a Titah Frock of their own to head to make an appointment to paint one for a small fee. “We have witnessed that it becomes a time of bonding and togetherness. Titah is then yours to take home. Come have a Titah Frock painting party here with us.”
The foundation will offer more classes in arts, crafts and sewing in the near future. In the renovated kitchen, lessons will be given in making johnny cakes, tarts and other goodies and typical island dishes.
The non-profit foundation was founded in 1990 and has been actively involved in arts, crafts and cultural events. Serving on the board together with Narcisco-Williams are Zunilda Monzon (secretary), Paulina Cairo (treasurer) and Mireya Martina and Felix Sarmento as board members.