By Emma Castleberry
When Hurricane Dorian slammed into the Bahamas, it spared no one and nothing—including the thriving arts community that resides there. Kim Rody, a former resident of Fairview and Cover Artist for The Laurel in August, 2012, lives with her husband in the Abacos, a group of islands in the northern Bahamas. When the storm arrived, she was in Florida, but her husband was at home. “It was just a little tropical storm and then, boom,” she says. “It hit Hope Town, Treasure Cay; Marsh Harbor was just flattened—it was just awful.” Rody’s husband was able to move some of her original works from their home before it was destroyed. Her studio survived and Rody was reunited with her husband shortly after the hurricane. “We’re going to build that little place back,” she says. “That’s where our souls live. Every artist has geography.”
Brigitte Bowyer met her husband, a Bahamian, in Hope Town in 1981. She moved to Tilloo Cay on the Abacos in 1986. She and her husband were both home when 220 mile-per-hour winds blew off their roof on September 1. Dorian destroyed Bowyer’s home and studio and everything in them, as well as her boat, car and golf cart. “We are both dealing with being homeless and dependent again,” says the artist, who is currently living in Nassau with her son and daughter-in-law. “I had to leave all my paintings there, as well as all of my supplies. That part is the most painful and difficult. Until we are able to get painting supplies, I can’t make a living.”
Kimberly Sturrup-Roberts has lived in the Abacos for 26 years as a full-time artist and art teacher. She and her husband and their pets evacuated to Stuart, FL, three weeks after Dorian. “Sea surge and rain coming through the roof of our home and my teaching studios soaked everything,” she says. “It is devasting. My work was my life.”
Watercolorist Pam Webb lived in the Abacos for two decades and has many friends in the area. “Hope Town and the Abaco Islands are very special and magical places,” she says. “The white sandy beaches are beautiful and the crystal clear ocean water that surrounds the islands is so inviting.” Webb is selling her original watercolor paintings and donating 100 percent of the proceeds to Hope Town Fire and Rescue to help with the rebuilding of the islands. “Already the TV coverage has moved on to other stories, but the people in the Abacos are still struggling to clean up and repair,” she says. “That process will take years and they will need a lot of help from all of us in the United States and other countries.”
For more information, visit rody.com/elbow-cay-matchmaker, KimRody.com, Watercolours.Faso.com, PamWebbArt.com, and BahamaDawn.com. Kim Rody’s artwork can be found at EcoDepot Marketplace in Asheville.