Explore

Here’s What You Should Know About The Street Art Capital Of The Caribbean

By Kelsey Marie

Share

When you think of Aruba, what comes to mind? Most people think of crisp, blue waters and white sands, while others may think of watching the sunset with a cocktail in hand.

While Aruba does have all of the above, it is also home to an art district that attracts artists and travelers globally.

San Nicolas, located 20 miles south of Palm Beach is a vibrant arts district which boasts an outdoor gallery of 44 murals.

Aruba Mural Tours has walking tours, taking travelers through the downtown streets and there is a workshop with local artists, allowing you to create your own painting.

San Nicolas is the second-largest city in Aruba but its downtown area has been lackluster for many years. It was first deserted in 1985 when Exxon closed its oil refinery. Residents and businesses left San Nicholas which resulted in many empty storefronts.

Locals and tourists started flocking to the capital, Oranjestad and Palm Beach, making these areas popular destination. That is, until 2015 when Aruban Tito Bolivar visited Bogota, Colombia and was intrigued by the power street art had in changing various neighborhoods.

Bolivar decided he would take this strategy back home to Aruba and resurrect the once dead San Nicolas. It was a risky decision, considering Aruba was mostly known for its beaches.

Bolivar created ArtisA (meaning “Art Is Aruba”), a group which organizes the mural tours and the Aruba Art Fair. The art fair is a three-day fair which helped to build the art scene on the island. It has a turnout of about 10,000 people annually.

The art fair first began in 2016 and Bolivar invited 100 Aruban an international to participate at the launch.

“During the art fair we always leave murals behind as a present,” says Bolivar to Forbes.

A lot of the art featured pays homage to the culture of Aruba. For example, one of the murals features a green-feathered prikichi, which is the national bird of Aruba.

“It [the murals] has revived a forgotten city and now people from all over the world are visiting San Nicolas. San Nicolas is the new place to be now,” says Bolivar.

Share
Travel Noire

Kelsey Marie

Kelsey-Marie is an NYC girl who currently lives in Johannesburg, South Africa. You can keep up with her on Instagram at @kelseydashmarie

Want more?

Get exclusive, unpublished tips from Travel Noire's CEO to help you get off the beaten path, into the hearts of locals and onto a better, more cultured life.

From Africa To The World: Three Artists Share How Their Latest Exhibits In Paris Are Inspired By Their African Identity

From Africa To The World: Three Artists Share How Their Latest Exhibits In Paris Are Inspired By Their African Identity

The world’s largest photography fair, Paris Photo and AKAA (Also Known As Africa) Art & Design Fair are highlighting African artists whose work tells compelling stories of the continent. These young African artists are telling their truths with identity and heritage at the core of what they do. CN Traveler recently spoke to the artists […]

Kelsey Marie / Paris, France

Nigerian-American Artist Kehinde Wiley Unveils New Sculpture in New York’s Times Square

Nigerian-American Artist Kehinde Wiley Unveils New Sculpture in New York’s Times Square

Known for his floral portrait of our President Barack Obama, Nigerian-American artist Kehinde Wiley unveiled a sculpture of a black soldier in the middle of New York City’s Times Square last Friday.  Pedestrians couldn’t the newest attraction in one of the most popular neighborhoods in Manhattan, or the sound of Newark’s Malcolm X Shabazz High […]

Rachel George

50 In 50: Where To View Black And African Art Across The Country

50 In 50: Where To View Black And African Art Across The Country

Art is important because it documents time, history, people, and places through the eye of the artists. Black and African art has been hidden from us for years but it is now finally being put to the forefront. Artists from the diaspora are getting recognition for their contributions to the art world now more than […]

Kelsey Marie