VIAC Launches Education and Awareness Page on Built Heritage – Urges Stakeholders to Take Survey

(Christiansted, St. Croix, USVI –March 24, 2022) – The Virgin Islands Architecture Center for Built Heritage and Crafts has launched a Built Heritage Awareness, Education and Resources page on its website – www.viacstx.com.  VIAC Board Chair Mary Dema today urged everyone who wants to learn more about the built heritage of Virgin Islands historic towns to visit the new page.  “As we continue to observe Virgin Islands history month, I urge everyone to learn more about why it is important to preserve our historic buildings and teach the next generation of our young people to use their legacy to build for the future.”  The page can be accessed here: https://viacstx.com/viac-built-heritage-awareness-education-resources/

Dema also urged high school students, parents of high school students and young people aged 17 to 21 to take the VIAC Stakeholder Opinion Survey that is in their emails or online at www.viacstx.com. “We need their input as we restore the Old Barracks on Hospital Street and build an educational institute that teaches the architecture, built heritage and crafts of the Virgin Islands and the Caribbean.”  VIAC is conducting the survey in March and April in advance of their Strategic Development Conference.  “Please take the time to take the survey. Your input is important to the success of this project.”

For more information contact the Virgin Islands Architecture Center for Built Heritage and Crafts at info@viacstx.com.

VIAC Receives TAP Grant from Interior Insular Affairs to Plan Architecture College

(Christiansted, St. Croix – July 9, 2021) – The Virgin Islands Architecture Center for Built Heritage and Crafts, Inc. (VIAC) is excited to announce that it has received funding for its Project Development Conference for Design, Construction and Curriculum from the U.S. Department of Interior’s Office of Insular Affairs.  VIAC received $286,310 for technical assistance to hire expertise to develop a feasibility study, convene the conference and produce a strategic development plan for design, construction, and curriculum.

“This funding is critical in helping us to meet our Phase One goals, and I would like to thank the Department of Interior’s Office of Insular Affairs,” said VIAC Board Chair Mary Dema. “We will be hiring a Project Development Consultant and others in the near future to assist us in laying the groundwork for raising the $10 million needed for completion of this project.”

Old Barracks Property, Hospital Street, Christiansted, St. Croix

VIAC is a St. Croix non-profit, 501(c)3, with a focus on community economic development. Its mission is to transform the Old Barracks property on Hospital Street, Christiansted, St. Croix into an urban campus and educational institute that will teach, train, and certify Virgin Islands young people in the building arts of stone, wood, iron, and other crafts prevalent in Virgin Islands and other historic U.S. and Caribbean towns. The school curriculum is envisioned as a two-year program that will provide a Certificate for students in Architecture. It will support students interested in achieving a Professional Architectural Degree through partnerships with architectural schools in Puerto Rico, US, Denmark, and Ghana. VIAC also intends to train its students to own and operate businesses connected to these crafts and be the catalyst for a cultural economic development corridor in the town of Christiansted.

VIAC’s vision is community driven as the idea for an architecture school that focuses on the African Danish built heritage of Virgin Islands towns came from town plan charettes sponsored by the Virgin Islands Economic Development Authority.  The community agreed that the development of a school that studied and recognized traditions while creating the opportunity for skills training, job creation, entrepreneurial activity and economic development could lead to the revitalization of Christiansted town.  Through collaboration in the centennial In Search of Identity Project, seed funding was provided by the Virgin Islands Legislature, the Historic Houses of Denmark, and the Danish government.

“We are grateful for the support of Governor Bryan, Delegate Plaskett, Senate President Frett-Gregory, Senators Vialet, Francis, Whitaker, VIEDA, the St. Croix Foundation, the National Park Service and many others in the community as we move forward to make this vision come alive,” Dema added.

For more information visit our website at http://www.viacstx.com or email us at info@viacstx.com.