Charlotte Amalie, St Thomas, USVI — The Enterprise Zone Commission (EZC), a subsidiary of the Virgin Islands Economic Development Authority (VIEDA), applied for and received a $500,000 grant from the US department of interior, office of insular affairs. The three-year grant ending September 2025 is for the rehabilitation of the J. Antonio Jarvis Building, a three-story building in St Thomas, which will house performing, visual and commercial arts in partnership with the Virgin Islands Museum, Civic and Cultural Center, Incorporated (VIMCCC).
The VIMCCC, a non-profit, will provide artists, artisans, tradition bearers, cultural practitioners, storytellers, musicians, dancers, folkloric groups, and the community with a space to express, share and cultivate traditions, wisdom, art, and talents. The J. Antonio Jarvis building will provide rooms for the restoration of an educational institution in the Upstreet neighborhood. This initiative is a partnership with the VIMCCC, VIEDA, government of the Virgin Islands, department of property and procurement, and EZC’s stakeholder, We From Upstreet.
The grant funding will be used for new floors, windows, doors, repointing of walls and interior painting.
Art has long been seen and used as an economic driver across the globe. Arts and culture-related industries, also known as “creative industries,” provide direct economic benefits to states and communities: They create jobs, attract investments, generate tax revenues, and stimulate local economies through tourism. As identified in Vision 2040, this project is an essential part of investing in the youth of the Virgin Islands leading them away from a life of crime and enhancing culture and arts towards growth in VI-style tourism.
“This community has been without an education institution for many years,” stated Nadine Marchena Kean, managing director, Enterprise Zone Commission. “With this revitalization project, VIEDA is moving closer to economic prosperity for the Upstreet community,” added director Kean.
Long-term plans for the museum, culture and civic center will entail a historic and modern chronology of the history and culture of the Territory, exhibition spaces for collections, art and cultural exhibitions, and public areas.
Charrettes have been held in the past for each enterprise zone across the Territory, where community members identify anchor projects that will spur economic development in their neighborhoods. Other anchors for the Garden Street-Upstreet Enterprise Zone are experiential tourism and sports-related investment projects.
VIEDA will continue to educate and inform the public as additional projects are implemented and encourage interested community members to visit www.usvieda.org to learn more about VIEDA’s programs and services.
“The Bryan-Roach administration is investing in the Territory’s people, infrastructure and future through transparency, stabilizing the economy, restoring trust in the government and ensuring that recovery projects are completed as quickly as possible.”