Today new and former generations of Aruba's local artists, writers, musicians, performers are all joining forces to enrich the artistic community. There is the Art Rules education program, a children’s art museum (MUMA) in development and Caribbean Queen’s female artisan of the month feature.
Foundation ArUBA (Artisans Recognized & United by Aruba) drops yet another pebble into this pond, sending out ripples of great talent with their Aruba’s Crafty Hands fair.
Glasswork by Aruba artist Gabriela R. Gonzalez — Photo courtesy of Foundation ArUBA
That Aruba has changed over the course of time is undeniable. Hotels, shopping malls, restaurants and events keep the tourists coming, the economy rolling and the population growing and diverse, due to the integration of all these different cultures.
But to presume that because of this the island is losing its own cultural identity has never been further from the truth than today.
With that same fierce determination the Caribbean sun and trade-winds are known for, Arubans (native and foreign-born) embrace their cultural heritage and diverse traditions. Apart from the national festivities and holidays, traditional values and customs, there's a fresh breeze sweeping through Aruba’s creative soul.
And Aruba's Crafty Hands is part of that breeze.
Step out of the ordinary and experience this authentic holiday shopping event, where only the finest "Made in Aruba" arts and crafts will be displayed. Shop for exclusive driftwood art, fun mosaic creations, impressive fused glass jewelry and upcycled designs. There are plenty of qualified artisans with a nationally recognized trade certificate to choose from.
The Department of Culture introduced the Seyo Nacional pa Artesania Aruba in 2013. It's awarded to authentic, originally designed art and crafts that are 100% handmade in Aruba by local craftsmen, among other criteria.
Providing opportunities for local artists and artisans to improve, showcase and sell their work is not only going to improve the island’s economy. Creating awareness and appreciation of the Aruban culture among the local community and tourists is equally – if not more – important in order to safeguard any country’s authenticity and survival.
Get acquainted with Aruba’s holiday music, food and ambiance while shopping for that very special someone or something. Handcrafted gifts made with love on the happiest place and by the friendliest, most creative local artists and artisans may be limited, but they are definitely available.
Everyone’s invited to Foundation ArUBA’s second Crafty Hands Holiday Shopping Spree at Fort Zoutman Historical Museum on the Saturday, Dec. 6, and Sunday, Dec. 7, from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.
There's no admission fee, only the public’s generosity to support and ensure the continuance of Aruba’s local artistry.