"The Leisurely Native Tempo" with lobby setting
The historic Emancipation Gardens post office, a.k.a. Alvardo de Lugo Post Office, in Charlotte Amalie on St. Thomas houses the only two examples of New Deal federal building artwork in the U.S. Virgin Islands. The works were commissioned by the Treasury Section of Fine Arts.
The murals are displayed at opposite ends of the the lobby, and were both completed by Stevan Dohanos in 1941. They are respectively titled, “The Virgin Islands, U.S. – The Outer World Significance” and “The Virgin Islands, U.S. – The Leisurely Native Tempo.”
“The Outer World Significance,” located at the east end of the lobby, depicts “an anchor, cannon and pyramid of cannonballs surrounded by conch shells. In the background is the tower of Fort Christian” (waymarking). A banner around the anchor bears what appear to be an incomplete set of geographic coordinates: 18° 20′ [N] 64° 5[???] [W], which most likely places the location in St. Thomas.
“The Leisurely Native Tempo” is located at the west end of the lobby, and depicts a “dock scene with bananas, fish, pots and a full sack. Two persons with their backs turned and wearing straw hats stand in front of a sail boat” (waymarking).
A report by the Virgin Islands Daily News published January 26, 2019 detailed mural restoration work that occurred after damage inflicted by Hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017:
Both murals that hang in the post office’s lobby are being repaired … [USPS Communications official Maureen] Marion described restoration efforts for the murals as “cleaning and gesso-filling small seams, tears and holes.”
“The west mural was removed and cleaned off-site,” Marion said. “The east mural is being cleaned in-place. Both actions were scheduled for completion before the end of this month and we look to be right on target there.”
A personal visit by Evan Kalish in March 2019 confirmed that the murals are in place and in a state of good repair following the restoration work.
The Virgin Islands Daily News: "Murals included in Postal Service’s post-storm repairs," January 26, 2019.
Project originally submitted by Evan Kalish on May 31, 2019.
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