NAGB Art Park

Park Development & Construction

NAGB Sculpture Garden Begins to Take Shape

As many locals and repeat visitors have noticed, West Hill Street has been undergoing a facelift.

As part of the Historic Charles Towne group, the NAGB has also been striving towards making changes to its property and in the surrounding vicinity assisting in the beautification of the district. By installing attractive garbage cans and maintaining them, repairing and painting broken masonry and installing artworks on its grounds, transformation is in motion.

The next vision to further this neighbourhood endeavour is the development of a Sculpture Garden on the adjacent property. As Director, Amanda Coulson notes; “While there were old plans to potentially expand the museum’s physical space onto the site, when considering the overall development of Downtown Nassau, it seemed a more natural move to preserve the indigenous flora and fauna and create a space where both art and the environment could be appreciated together.” A trip to the Bahamas National Trust’s (BNT) Eleuthera park—the Leon Levy Native Plant Preserve (LLNP)—instigated further inspiration to create a space where native plants were showcased along with local artists’ works. The space is envisioned to have benches; sculptural works and walkways showcasing various environs with choreographed species and to be a safe and warm respite for the wider community.

In association with BNT and with the particular hands-on involvement of BNT botanist Dr Ethan Freid, the hillside has been surveyed for how to best to intervene in the most non-invasive manner. BNT Executive Director, Mr. Eric Carey and Mrs. Shelby White, patron of the BNT’s Levy Preserve, who was recently honoured at the BNT’s annual meeting, has agreed to support the project with the donation of native species from the preserve’s nursery. Carey stated, “BNT is pleased to be partnering with NAGB on this project. Through our work at the Preserve we hope to inspire the use of our beautiful native plants in landscaping. We’re confident the Sculpture Garden is an excellent opportunity to advance this value”.

With funding always elusive, the challenge is as always to get enough momentum to get the project underway to the point that the artists and the public could share and participate in its manifestation and vision. Over the course of 4 days earlier this month and another intensive 2-days over this last weekend, with the assistance of volunteer and residents from the community, the plot’s shrubbery has been tamed and temporary walking paths have been laid out as a way to access the site from West Hill Street directly to the NAGB’s main entrance. Many shards of antique ceramics and pottery have been found and will be cleaned and identified by the Antiquities Monuments & Museums Corporation (AMMC), eventually to be put on display.

The first bench donated by Mr. Craig “Crab” Roberts of Native Sun Nursery has been installed, while mulch for paths will be donated by (Ginny’s business and quote)

Local resident, Ms. Rosemary Hanna, author of “Pictorial History and Memories of Nassau’s Over-The-Hill” (2013) came for a tour of the proposed site. An avid gardener, past president and active member of the Horticultural Society of The Bahamas she stated, “I enjoyed the tour of the proposed site and was impressed with the vision for the Sculpture Garden. The paths are well laid out and the well-established trees on the site are beautiful. I loved sitting on the newly installed bench at the top of the hill and enjoyed the beautiful view. I’m sure that, when finished, the Sculpture Garden will be one of the most beautiful spots for locals and visitors to enjoy for years to come.”

With such a cooperative spirit of neighbours and colleagues coming together to implement a community vision, the NAGB’s future Sculpture Garden is well on its way to becoming a reality.