Belize Tourism Through Art Exhibition Opens on World Tourism Day

Belize City, Belize, September 28, 2023: As part of the activities leading up to World Tourism Day (September 27), the Belize Tourism Board (BTB) held the Belize Tourism Through Art Competition during the months of August to September, where local artists were invited to submit paintings highlighting the year’s theme, “Tourism and Green Investments.” The competition not only served as a canvas for artistic expression but also as a means to promote tourism in Belize.

Forty (40) artists from across the country participated in the competition. The submissions were evaluated by a panel of distinguished judges: Ms. Ilona Smiling (Artist, Curator, and Director of the Museum of Belize and Houses of Culture), Mr. Kirkland Smith (Prominent Art Educator and Artist), and Mr. Gilvano Swasey (Well-known Curator and Artist). The judges meticulously and individually reviewed each artwork to determine the submission that best satisfied the judging criteria – considering the interpretation of the theme, artistic technique and creativity, visual impact and composition, color harmony, originality and the ability of the piece to inspire and captivate audiences. The three judges unanimously chose Mr. Edwardo Alamilla’s, “Our People, Our Landscapes, Our Tourism” as the winning artwork. Mr. Alamilla’s piece captivated the judges with its incredible display of artistic skill, talent, and depiction of Belize’s tourism landscape.

The winner of the competition was announced and awarded at the opening of an exhibition on World Tourism Day, at the Belisle Art Gallery, Bliss Center for Performing Arts in Belize City. Of the forty submissions, nineteen artworks representing the top submissions are featured in the exhibition.

Special recognition was also given to San Pedro Artist, Kirt Cruz, who participated in the competition. Mr. Cruz was recognized for his dedication, inspiration, and artistic talent. Talented from a young age, Mr. Cruz, was injured in 2006 which left him paralyzed on the right side. Rather than place aside his love for art, he taught himself to paint with his left hand. His goal is to share and use art as an avenue for creative expression to help other disabled persons. Mr. Cruz received $1,000 cash as a part of this special recognition.

The exhibition will run through the month of October and features artwork by: Edwardo Alamilla, Julia Arzu, Abraham Tzib, Kirt Cruz, Anthony Usher Jr., Grayson Sierra, Shantel Carter, Manuel Daza, Maureen Navarete, Keion Griffith, Anton Leslie, Omar Sierra, Pablo Cambranes, Leandra Dobson, Paul the Painter, Shantay Torres, Yorleni Ricalde, Marvin Vernon, and Rony Jobel.

Several of the top artists, as scored by the judges, received staycation packages through the generous sponsorship of local hotel partners. These include: Chabil Mar Villas, Barefoot Caye Caulker Hotel, Hopkins Bay Resort, Blu Zen Resort, Sunset Caribe, The Lodge at Chaa Creek, San Ignacio Resort Hotel, Island Magic Resort, The Rainforest Lodge at Sleeping Giant, The Lodge at Jaguar Reef, and El Ben Cabañas. The BTB extends our gratitude to these properties for joining us in recognizing and awarding the display of Belizean talent and creativity. We also extend our gratitude to the Institute of Creative Arts for their technical assistance and hosting of the exhibit at the Bliss Centre.

Individuals or businesses interested in seeing and purchasing any of the forty captivating pieces can contact the BTB at 227- 2420 or [email protected] for further information. A digital booklet dedicated to highlighting the nineteen artworks featured in the Belize Tourism Through Art Exhibition will be released on the BTB’s social media platforms and website in the next few days. 

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