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The Arts Are Suffering

Dear Source:
As a result of the Legislature cutting the budget of the Virgin Islands Council on the Arts, they have lost ALL VI matching funds for the federal Endowment for the Arts grant money and can issue none of the annual grants to local arts organizations. This is drastically affecting the arts in the Virgin Islands. This Saturday night there is a fundraiser for the Pointe Dance Academy being held at the Caribbean Community Theatre in Orange Grove, St. Croix. There are only 192 tickets available per show and in typical island fashion, people have waited until the last minute to buy tickets. The late show has been cancelled because of no tickets being purchased for it. The original event was scheduled to have a pre-show cocktail party at 5:30 for the 7:00 PM show and at 8:30 for the 10:00 PM show. For anyone who has purchased or reserved their tickets as of noon today (Wednesday) for the early show, they will be entitled to attend the cocktail party (an Island Elegant event.) All others purchasing tickets after noon today will be paying the full price of the tickets ($75) for show only.
The show will feature world-renowned vocal impressionist extraordinaire Jimmy James – Live and will include performances by the students of Pointe Dance Academy in the opening and closing numbers. Mr. James does over 30 different vocal artists in his impressions, which is a real artistic endeavor for which he has been training his voice for over 20 years. If you want to catch a glimpse of his abilities, just visit www.jimmyjames.com. Yes, he is a slightly controversial entertainer in that he does partial "drag" in his numbers, but as he says in most of his shows, "this is NOT a drag show, this is about vocal impressions of famous DIVAS of the past 50 years."
I encourage everyone to call me in the next 3 days to reserve tickets for this event on November 24th. Tickets are also still available through Friday at Applause, Cruzan Creations, Education Central Books, Gems Direct, Pointe Dance Academy, and Turtles Deli. For tickets purchased from noon today through the opening of the show on Saturday, the portion of the ticket price that would have covered the cocktail party attendance will be donated to Heidi Wright, co-director of Pointe Dance Academy, to assist in the medical expenses of her husband who is a Stage 4 cancer victim. Supporting this fundraiser will benefit both Pointe Dance Academy and the Wrights. Please call and reserve your tickets now. And St. Thomians and St. Johnians, please consider coming to St. Croix for the weekend for this show, the CRRA Jump Up on Friday night, and the Whim Museum Plantation Starving Artists on Sunday. Once we have 192 tickets confirmed for the early show and more people want to catch Jimmy James in his "One Night Only" appearance in the Virgin Islands, we will add the 10:00 PM show back into the evening events. There must be enough demand of at least 75 people for the late show to justify the expenses of adding the second show though.
Lastly, please put pressure on both the Legislature and the Administration to re-institute the VICA budget so that grants can be awarded this year to the Virgin Islands Arts!!!!! What a sham when they line their own pockets with huge raises and then cut budgets of important agencies they created. And that includes the Department of Tourism, which has to promote our islands on a shoestring budget. The 2008 increase in the Legislature budget alone would more than cover supporting VICA and Tourism with proper budgets.
I hope to see you all at Caribbean Community Theatre this Saturday night for the exciting entertainment of Jimmy James – Live. Call 771-8498 or email me at events@stcroixhappenings.com to reserve your tickets. Thanks to Sonya, Ltd., Virgin Islands Rum Industries, Bohlke International Airways, HOVENSA, The Palms at Pelican Cove, Wild Orchid, and Pink Elephant Productions for their generous support of this event.
James A. Hoffman
St. Croix

Editor's note: We welcome and encourage readers to keep the dialogue going by responding to Source commentary. Letters should be e-mailed with name and place of residence to source@viaccess.net.

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