PHILIPSBURG–Some 110 visitors from Princess Cruise and Fathom Travel arrived in St. Maarten on Wednesday to participate in community outreach offering support to those affected by Hurricane Irma. The initiative was made possible through a collaboration with Art Saves Lives (ASL) Foundation and National Institute of Arts (NIA) as the hosting foundations for the guests to experience the Art Heals Programme.
After participating in an early morning clean-up at Guana Bay Beach, organised in collaboration with St. Maarten Nature Foundation, the visitors travelled to NIA where they spent three hours engaging in various creative and expressive art therapies.
The Princess Cruise passengers were treated to a performance by musicians Julien Seguret and Ernesto Arrindell, and dancers Naomi Warsop, Ray Angel Simon and Zaquel Phipps. They performed a percussion and drum dance story titled “Irma” depicting the ferociousness of the hurricane.
Guest speaker Armelle Six, herself a survivor of cataclysmic loss, presented a Movement for Life session in which she educated her audience how to access “coping tools” within themselves to deal with trauma in their lives.
NIA co-director Clara Reyes engaged the Fathom Travel guests in a movement and self-awareness session.
“We were extremely happy for this occasion to showcase our children’s talent, as well as the healing power of the arts,” stated NIA co-director Arlene Halley.
The guests concluded their day at NIA with an arts and crafts session during which they were able to design their own Art Heals T-shirt.
“It was important for us to have them leave St. Maarten with a tangible record of their visit here,” said Reyes. “This was a unique opportunity for them to delve beyond the sea-sand-and-sun experience and give them and ourselves the opportunity to engage in a deeper human exchange.”
The passengers indulged in some bush tea accompanied with johnny cakes courtesy of Amanda Vital-Bedminister, and a souvenir bag from ASL.
In addition to the experiential journey in the arts, the collaborating companies presented a donation cheque to NIA.
“We are grateful to Carib Resort Tours, Princess Cruises, and Fathom Travel, who donated the proceeds of this tour to Art Heals and for reaching out to NIA and ASL, for seeing a wider possibility for tourism products in St. Maarten.”