Save during the “September Sale”
The exotic beauty and vibrant spirit of the tropics is reflected within every fascinating facet of Mango Tango Art Gallery. What an ideal place to select pieces of paradise to call your own!
Since opening in 1988, proprietor, Jane Coombes, has earned an unparalleled reputation for discovering some of the most talented artists in the Caribbean.
Proof of a keen eye and deep devotion to her life’s work is on display from the entryway adorned by authentic Haitian art, to tables filled with pottery and stoneware by Jessica Rosenberg of St. Thomas, to celebrated canvases offering iconic ‘tropical window’ perspectives from Don Dahlke — and so much more.
The works of Mandy Thody are featured at Mango Tango and it’s well worth mentioning the selfless artist also serves as Administrative Director for Good Samaritan Foundation of Haiti, a non-profit organization based in Frederiksted, St. Croix. More information is available in the ‘Helping Flamboyan’s Haitian Community‘ article in this month’s Coconut Post.
St. Thomas has greatly benefitted from W.B. Thompson calling the island his home base. In 2004, the artist created and donated an 80-inch by 80-foot mural, “Carnival: An Island’s Collective Imagination,” to the Schneider Regional Medical Center.
In addition to noble-minded artists, a vital member of the team at Mango Tango is Melvin Carty. Said Jane, “Melvin has handled all our picture framing since 1990.” With heartfelt tenderness in her voice, she added, “He’s been here almost since the beginning.”
Looking back, as a child, Jane vividly recalled both parents introducing her to the joys of taking art classes, visiting art galleries, and exploring museums. Because her father was in military service, the family traveled extensively. Her world vision extended from New York to Texas and Germany to Japan.
When Jane and her husband, Smokey Pratt, settled on St. Thomas in 1980, she taught English at the College of the Virgin Islands while Smokey established his reputation as a multi-talented chef and musician.
Amazingly, an early prelude to the founding of Mango Tango took place on the grounds of Flamboyan Resort (Magens Point) in the mid ’80s when Green Parrot Restaurant was in operation.
“Smokey was the Sunday brunch chef and I put on art shows for the restaurant guests,” said Jane. The once-a-week event helped inspire the couple to open Mango Tango.
For decades, Jane and Smokey worked tirelessly, making Mango Tango an ongoing success story. Monthly art shows included hors d’oeuvres prepared by Smokey — and the tuneful stylings of “Two Blue Shoes” featuring Smokey and local guitarist John Brittain.
Small world that it is, the musical duo also regularly entertained guests here at resort.
Unfortunately, Smokey passed away in 2013 but his upbeat spirit lives on in his music and whimsical artwork.
Jane advised that right now, Mango Tango is holding a “September Sale” on prints. Buy one and get a second print at 50-percent off. Selection includes posters, unmatted prints and maps.
Also, while supplies last, patrons are invited to pick up a complimentary 2020 Census Poster featuring the artwork of Shari Erickson. The giveaway is courtesy of the University of the Virgin Islands Census Bureau division.
Mango Tango is located on Route 38 at Raphune Hill, above the Paint Depot. Hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
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For more information, follow on Facebook or visit mangotangoart.com or call
A BIT ABOUT HAITIAN METAL ART
To create these timeless treasures, the artist first removes both ends of a recycled 55-gallon drum. Dried banana or sugar cane leaves are placed inside the cylinder and set on fire to burn off reside. Once cooled, the drum is cut, top to bottom. The flattening process includes physically climbing inside. Using the full weight of both legs, feet, arms and shoulders, the artist opens up the cylinder. Once flattened into a metal canvas, a design is drawn with chalk. Then, using a hammer, a chisel, and other basic tools, the artist cuts the metal, pounding out various designs to produce one-of-a-kind pieces of primitive art.