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Sunday, January 29, 2023



Nov. 16, 2001 – Those with really long memories may still recall the heyday of the Grand Hotel in downtown St. Thomas, when folks in their fashionable finery would gather to see and be seen on the broad second-floor terrace facing the waterfront for cocktails and conversation.
Friday evening, that ambience may well return.
The Art Gallery at the Grand Hotel is Michael Paiewonsky's new venture in the historic downtown Charlotte Amalie structure that's lately been refurbished and is now known as Grand Galleria. The gallery is hosting a "wine on the terrace" reception Friday from 6 to 10 p.m. to open a group exhibition that builds on the solo show of works by St. John artist Tonia Zambrano unveiled a week ago.
The Zambrano show, "A Feast for the Eyes," comprises 19 paintings, three ceramic sculptures and two striking masks — one in steel, the other blue glass.
Featured in the expanded show, in addition to her work, will be:
From St. Thomas: oils by Pam Benedetto; oils by Cathy Carlson; oils, watercolors and crayon, pen and pencil drawings by Madeleine Meehan; oils by Tony Romano; oils and enamels on copper by Eunice Summer; and sculpture by Page Winter. There also may be paintings by Peter "Pita" Gonzalez and Shansi Miller, Paiewonsky said.
From St. John: photography by Carol Beekowitz; oils by Kimberly Boulon; life studies by Jay Goldman; oils and prints by Vikki "China" Goldman; oils and sensitive light studies by A. Radcliff; oils by Deborah St. Clair; and oils by Kat Sowa.
"This show is as close to a spontaneous event as can be had," Paiewonsky says, "and yet it is a selection that shows there is much more in the art mortar that just the pestle, as we used to say."
Beekowitz, Benedetto, the Goldmans, Radcliff, St. Clair, Sowa and Summer have said they'll be on hand Friday evening to discuss their work, and Paiewonsky says others may be, as well.
His game plan is to expand the offerings on an ongoing basis "as we get additional work from the artists now hanging." He adds, "It is my promise that each Friday, the show will be reborn, refreshed anew. Its depth will grow, and its focus will change."
Case in point: Next week, St. Croix artist Roy Lawaetz will travel to St. Thomas to assemble his installation pieces that will go on exhibit. "His assemblages are so complex that only he can do them," Paiewonsky says of Lawaetz's bright, bold and large-size works. "He claims anyone with a degree in nuclear engineering can do it!"
Regular gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week, extended to 10 p.m. on Fridays. To entice those on St. John to come over for a visit on Friday nights — or to stay late on St. Thomas before heading home — the gallery and Beni Iguana's Sushi Bar in the Grand Galleria courtyard are co-sponsoring a free ferry that departs Cruz Bay at 7 p.m. and leaves the St. Thomas waterfront at 10 p.m.
Beni Iguana's also is staying open until 10 p.m. on Fridays.
Paiewonsky says he'll gladly arrange free gallery tours and lectures for school groups and community organizations. To make such arrangements, e-mail a request to MAPes MONDe or telephone 771-4908 or 776-2160.
Through the end of February, he said, 10 percent of the gross profits from the Zambrano and group shows will be donated to a not-for-profit service organization to be identified later.

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