The Bermuda Isles have been a magnet for artists from all over the world for centuries. Shakespeare’s The Tempest was inspired by Bermuda’s mystique and allusive location; Mark Twain famously referred to Bermuda as “Heaven” and enjoyed various visits; and even John Lennon was immediately taken in by Bermuda’s beauty and culture, and creatively spent much time with his family writing music here. The attraction of these artistic giants to Bermuda can be attributed to a great many reasons, the most obvious being Bermuda’s beauty. However, the truly unique aspect of what makes Bermuda so beautiful cannot merely be found in one facet of the whole. For example, to say the turquoise and cobalt blue waters are the key source of Bermuda’s beauty is merely the tip on the iceberg. Bermuda is made up of many characteristics — its unique architecture, lush foliage, sparkling waterfront and the unique quality of its people. Bermudian culture is just as rich and diverse as the famous hues and tones found in its endemic flora. In the 17th and 18th centuries, the art that was made in Bermuda was primarily portraiture or topographies of the island made by British naval officers. This particular art was produced with the sole purpose of historic documentation. Fast-forwarding through history, Bermuda art became more of a local interest for Bermudians who were primarily females interested in landscapes and flora to re-create the beauty they were immersed in daily. With the advent of tourism and the visit of Princess Louise in 1889, international artists discovered the charms of Bermuda and began recording the island’s beauty in their paintings, sketches and other various mediums. When the renowned American artist Winslow Homer came to the island first in 1899 and again in 1901, he was so inspired that he proclaimed he “will be remembered by [his] Bermuda work.” He felt this so strongly that he entered these paintings in the Pan- American Exposition in Buffalo, New York, in 1901, which piqued the curiosity of the artists who attended the exhibition. Bermuda was given worldwide exposure to an entirely new array of people, opening its doors to them. And the trickle turned into a torrent. Many of these works returned home with artists and buyers alike. Thus, the notion of the “Bermuda muse” spread around the world! It is hard to imagine a more vibrant art scene than that which Bermuda is currently enjoying, running the gamut of “plein air” groups, which are growing in popularity due to the gentle climate and fair weather, to “pop-up” exhibitions in which one is immersed in Bermuda art whilst outdoors surrounded by inspiration to worldclass collections of the Masterworks Museum of Bermuda Art featuring the Bermuda-inspired pieces of such luminaries as Winslow Homer and Georgia O’Keeffe. Other national treasures such as the Bermuda National Gallery highlight its Watlington Collection, whilst the Bermuda Society of Arts and the Bermuda Art Centre at Dockyard are committed to the promotion of the local art community and always have varied and interesting exhibits for visitors and locals alike to enjoy. The Chewstick Foundation offers a platform for a wide spectrum of the creative community to present their talents varying from poetry readings to performing arts such as musical theatre and interpretive dance. There is something for every interest in the art community and plenty to see. The spirit of the arts is indeed alive and well with the common goal of showcasing the island and the Bermudian people in as many diverse mediums as possible to the widest audience possible. MUSEUMS, INSTITUTES AND GALLERIES The following is a selection of cultural venues and public art sites. Check with each venue for current exhibitions. Bermuda Arts Centre at Dockyard: Established in 1984, the Arts Centre is a nonprofit registered charity that reflects the diverse creativity of the art community in Bermuda. Five resident artists are happy to chat about their work, and regular exhibits of other local artists are staged every six weeks. The gift shop sells original works of art, and prints and workshops are held regularly. (234-2809; artbermuda.com) The Bermuda Craft Market: The Bermuda Craft Market in Dockyard has the largest collection of Bermuda-made crafts and products on the island. As you wander around the historic building, you will see craftsmen at work. All items are available for purchase and include Bermuda banana dolls; Bermuda pink sand; sterling and 14-karat gold-filled jewellery; pottery; candles; handmade soaps; sea glass pendants; cedar bowls; hand-rolled cigars; jams and jellies; and lots more. (234-3208; bermudacraftmarket.com) Bermuda Historical Society: Housed in the 1814 home of William B. Perot, Bermuda’s first postmaster, is a collection of Bermuda-made silver, furniture and paintings, fine china, maps and coins. Ask the curator to show you the letter sent from George Washington asking for Bermuda’s help during the American Revolution. (295-2487; email@example.com) Bermuda National Gallery (BNG): Bermuda National Gallery celebrates 25 years in 2017. Join them as they explore The Power of Art in an exhibition that challenges ways of seeing. Artwork is arranged to generate dialogue on current topics, such as environmental protection and artist as activist. Visitors may be surprised by the museum’s permanent collection, which spans several centuries and geographical regions. The exhibition is augmented with loans of artwork by Damien Hirst and Shepard Fairey. BNG is conveniently located in City Hall & Arts Centre in Hamilton, beside the main bus terminal and a short walk from the ferry. Admission is $5 for non-members; free for seniors, students of all ages and NARM members. (295-9428; bng.bm) Bermuda National Trust: The Bermuda National Trust is a charity established in 1970 to preserve natural, architectural and historic treasures, and to encourage public appreciation of them. There are 70 properties under the trust’s care. All programmes and activities are focused in the key areas of preservation, education and advocacy. Its purpose is to ensure that Bermuda’s unique heritage remains protected for future generations. (236-6483; bnt.bm) Bermuda Society of Arts: Often referred to as “The People’s Art Gallery,” the BSoA showcases local artists in four separate gallery spaces. They host a new show every three to four weeks, have a variety of workshops available and celebrate the diverse range of artistic talent that Bermuda has to offer. (292-3824; bsoa.bm) The Birdsey Studio: Jo Birdsey Linberg, daughter of Bermuda’s first modern artist, Alfred Birdsey, painted for many years with her father at The Birdsey Studio before his death in 1996. Today, she continues the family tradition. Created predominately in watercolour, her impressionistic landscapes, figurative paintings and whimsical animals reflect her mentor’s artistic legacy through simple lines and Orientalinspired brushwork; but they also establish Jo’s own artistic niche and creative stamp. Her watercolours have been exhibited in Bermuda and overseas, whilst collected and commissioned internationally. Jo’s paintings reflect her love of life and Bermuda. Her father’s spirit is alive and well in her humour, hospitality and creative energy. The Birdsey Studio can be found in the back garden of the family home, located at 5 Stowe Hill in Paget. It remains a special place for many, with its tranquil natural setting and rather unusual appearance. Studio hours are 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays. Appointments are recommended. (236-6658; firstname.lastname@example.org) Crisson & Hind Fine Art Gallery: Home to a fascinating collection of carved sculptures from Zimbabwe. (295-1117; crissonandhind.com) Desmond Fountain: An essential destination for art lovers, this gallery in the Elbow Beach Hotel showcases international and local artists’ works alongside the world-famous sculptor Desmond Fountain. Fountain creates collectable bronzes, etchings and paintings; and his larger works can be seen throughout the island. (292-3955; desmondfountain.co.uk) Dockyard Glassworks Glass Gallery & Working Studio: Come see hot molten glass, like light on the move, as creations happen. Relax in their comfy theatre as you experience the expertise and drama. Lampwork artists prepare small sculptural collectable creatures, many native to the island. Shop in the colourful Glass Gallery at One Maritime Lane in The Royal Naval Dockyard, open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and till 7 p.m. when ships are docked. Dockyard Glassworks Glass Gallery & Working Studio are recipients of TripAdvisor’s Excellent Awards. (234-4216; dockglass.com) Jon Faulkner Gallery: Exquisite handmade contemporary ceramics is the signature feature of the Jon Faulkner Gallery located at The Royal Naval Dockyard. The Gallery represents the work of local master potter, Jon, and other local and international ceramic artists/studio potters offering a diverse range of styles from collectables for the art connoisseur to functional, quality tableware. On-site resident artists, operational kilns, a paint-your-own-pottery café and a full palette of tactile and visual experiences make a visit to the gallery and studio a cultural highlight. (234-5116; jonfaulknergallery.com) Kaleidoscope Arts Foundation: Kaleidoscope Arts Foundation is the first collective guild in Bermuda for the creation and teaching of art in an environment that is inspiring and accessible to the entire community. Adult and children’s art classes offered. (542-9000; kaf.bm) Masterworks Museum of Bermuda Art: Masterworks is Bermuda’s only purpose-built museum and is home to more than 1,400 works of Bermuda-inspired art by such famous names as Winslow Homer, Albert Gleizes and Georgia O’Keeffe. Local artists are also on display throughout the year, and they also offer art courses in various mediums for all levels of experience. Children’s art classes are available, and on one Saturday of the month, Super Saturday offers free art activities to all. The museum shop sells prints and original local art, and Homer’s Café serves baked goods, glutenfree goods and lunch items. The museum is open Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., with Homer’s opening Monday through Saturday at 9 a.m., and Sundays at 11 a.m. Located in the Botanical Gardens, 183 South Shore Road, Paget. (299-4000; bermudamasterworks.com) National Museum of Bermuda: Immerse yourself in 500 years of history at the National Museum, housed within the island’s largest fort. The 15-acre property includes British military buildings of the Keep citadel and the awardwinning Commissioner’s House. Inside its historic limestone walls, learn about Bermuda’s cultural links with the West Indies and the Azores, trans-Atlantic slavery, and the island’s defence through two World Wars. Marvel at local artist Graham Foster’s 1,000-square-foot mural of Bermuda history and other maritime art. Explore the collection of small local watercraft and Shipwreck Island: Sunken Clues to Bermuda’s Past, an exhibit showcasing Spanish gold, colonial trade goods and other artefacts recovered from local shipwrecks. Open April through November from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (last admission at 4 p.m.); December through March from 10 a.m.to 5 p.m. (last admission at 4 p.m.). Adults, $15; seniors, $12; free for children under 16. (234-1418, 234-1333; nmb.bm) Nicholas Lusher Fine Antiques and Fine Art: By appointment only. Nicholas deals in Bermudian, European and American art; sculptures; maps; prints; books; coins and much more. (236-8193, 917-698-2090; nicholaslusher.com) The Picturesque Gallery: The Picturesque Gallery at A.S. Cooper & Sons Ltd. showcases Bermudian photographer Roland Skinner’s best work spanning a 50-year career. Include a piece of Bermuda in your home with archival colour prints in various sizes available from the gallery. (295-3961, ext. 407; picturesquebermuda.com) The Windjammer 2 Gallery: The gallery has been synonymous with fine art since its inception in 1985. Sheilagh Head, Danjou Anderson and Alexia Cooper have assembled the finest collection of original art by Bermuda’s professional artists. (295-1783) The World Heritage Centre: Discover why the historic Town of St. George and its related fortifications have been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in a range of interactive and family-friendly exhibits, including life-size dioramas, informative touch screens and a short orientation film entitled A Stroll Through St. George’s. There is the maritime exhibit of original artwork. The newest displays are the huge restored painted murals of old Bermuda done by Emile Verpilleux. (297-5791; sgf.bm/about/world-heritage-centre)
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