The Library celebrates its 100th anniversary!

Legacy Reads featuring Clara Reyes

— February 23, 2024

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Ms. Reyes is a lifelong learner who holds in great value the experiences and life lessons acquired at the University of Life.
In her life journey, Ms. Reyes received her training through the life stories,
Legacy Reads featuring Clara Reyes
lectures mentoring, and simply being with her grandfather, Arthur Nias Wyatt, a very stoic hard-working St. Martin man born from Ms. Victoria Vernice,

From “daddy”, Ms. Reyes’ term of endearment for her grandfather, was birthed Ms. Reyes thirst for travel with stories of his life as a merchant sailor, In the family living room, through the space created for her and her siblings by her mother Regina Evelyn Millet Wyatt,
Ms. Reyes was exposed to the magic of the visual and performing arts. Her mother’s love for the arts became the catalyst of Ms. Reyes’ pursuit of a life of artistry.

Ms. Reyes’ early studies of music began in the living room of the legendary Anastacia Larmonie, she herself a conservatory-trained musician in the Netherlands, as well as at Berklee College of Music.
Through the St. Martin Council on the Arts, under direction of the revered scholar and historian Camille Baly, were trainings in multiple culture creative experiences, with teachers.
• Josianne Artsen Fleming
• Mavis Brooks Solomon to list a few
Ms. Reyes would spend numerous evenings serenaded by crickets and other musical accompaniments from the nighttime creatures as she listened to the low gravelly voice of Zacharias Meyers better known as “Uncle” telling stories of yesteryear.
From “Paren”, known as Mr. Emilio Wilson, she would jump over ancient stone wall interlocked together with blood and sweat of enslaved hands that connect family land and sit on his porch at and listen to stories of old with the occasional juicy mele thrown in.
Ms. Reyes religious upbringing began with Ms. Florene under the tamarind trees that grew in a cusp by the big gate on “Paren” land. Other great S’Maatin luminaries under which Ms. Reyes received inspiration included Roland Richardson with whom Ms. Reyes would spend many a Thursday morning in his atelier and listen to him share his artistic wisdom on the artistry and philosophies of life.
Through the voices of “OLDER HEADS”, Ms. Milo on Shamba Hill, Ms. Den Den in Sandy Ground, Mr. Carty from Cole Bay, Ms. Millie, and Ms. Elise Hyman from French Quarter, she would receive the invaluable stories of the enslavement period, of heroic tales of resistance, rebellion, and triumph, of the Ponum Dance, the dance of liberation to which Ms. Noeline would sing wistfully the song of liberation in her elegant but ethereal voice.

Ms. Reyes holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in Dance from SUNY BROCKPORT, is Co-Founder and former Co-Director of National Institute of Arts director, founder of Imbali Center for Creative Movement, and is the Head of the Department of Culture within the Ministry of Education, Culture Youth, and Sport.

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