Reasons to build an art center in The Bahamas

There are so many reasons to build an artist retreat, and so many to specifically build in The Bahamas. Here are a few of them as we count down our fundraising campaign.


Reason 1

Ripples in the water.

A. Impacting and empowering artists. We love artists and we love nurturing and empowering them.

B. Impacting the community (by creating a destination for arts to bolster an isolated community and give it one more purpose and a new way to flourish.)

C. Breaking new ground. Exnihilo will be one of the first of its kind in the Bahamas. That means the potential for something new in the world. Every artist residency brings something unique to the world depending on the location, art resources that they support, and artists that they award. Exnihilo is regionally new, offering artistic disciplines that are new, creating a unique catalyst for fine craft, art, and music in the region.

Reason 2

To change the world.

Art is the voice that inspires and often provokes. Some regions of the world hinder honest expression. An artist often sees through a lens that enlightens and uplifts others. We want to be a place that fosters that kind of creative freedom.

Reason 3

Save the environment with art.

The island has a trash problem and Exnihilo has a plan to help. Abandoned vehicles are left to rust and fall apart. Exnihilo will harvest this junky "resource" for a sculpture making program we call JUNK-A-NEW. It is truly trash to treasure.

Reason 4

May your senses go senseless.

Because everyone's Inner Artist savors a salty air and warming breeze to open their creative love. Here, in this paradise, might your senses go senseless?

Reason 5

Exposure to different cultures provokes new ideas.

Artists often need to get out of their existing patterns to discover a new style, or new medium. By partnering visiting artists with local Bahamian artist, both benefit by the experience.

Reason 6

Supporting Bahamian Art.

Art of the Bahamas is blossoming. Exnihilo is partnered with local art organizations as well as the NAGB to provide resources and facilities to ignite this emerging movement.

Reason 7

Preserve a dying art.

Bahamian straw craft is an art form that is normally passed on from one generation to the next. But as time passes and technology takes over, less and less of the art is being passed down. Exnihilo Art Center will help to support and encourage the continuation of this craft through workshops from the island’s first families.


Reason 8

Playground of artistic tools.

Not just a place to stay, an art center with a residency & studio allows total immersion in an environment of creativity. At its completion, Exnihilo’s studios will have the equipment to support Fine art, craft, and performing arts.


Reason 9

Silver Smiths are an endangered species.

Only 1% of artist residencies offer studio space and education to support this historic craft form. Unknown to us that this might be a need, educational cutbacks continue to eat away at the arts. In terms of artist residencies only 1% of locations worldwide actually offer the facilities required to pursue and continue this art form!

Reason 10

Shoveling snow versus shoveling sand.

You be the judge but studies show that "Warm weather boosts mood, broadens the mind". According to an article in Science Daily, that cited multiple studies researching the correlation of climate and mood, "participants who were randomly assigned to be outdoors during warm and sunny days showed improved mood and memory compared to participants who were outside when the weather was not pleasant and compared to participants who spent the time inside."

With the average temperature year round landing in the 70s and 80s Fahrenheit, Exnihilo will give you a head start on your creativity by putting you in a good mood.

Reason 11

Art meets chemistry.

The Exnihilo model of residency will take an approach that unlike many residencies will mix different types of artists together to see how they impact each other. Poets with painters, sculptors with dancers, musicians with fiber artists... imagine the results! This kind of chemistry can only happen when the stage is set. Exnihilo will intentionally mix artists of different disciplines together and watch the magic happen. Bryan and Blair talk about this idea.

Reason 12

Isolation + Concentration = Creation

Everyone who has gotten away from their normal day-to-day activities whether as a vacation, or just a break knows that feeling of shifting gears. This downshifting is an important component to allowing reflection, and then focus. Sometimes we do not realize, until we have to down-shift how hard it actually is to slow down. An isolated location forces you into this less than comfortable mode, which is healthy for the creative spirit, and sometimes is where the real magic happens for an artist.



Reason 13

The Beatles.

Can you imagine the world without the iconic lyrics of "Yesterday", or "I Want To Hold Your Hand"? Think about all the Beatles' songs that made a difference through the world, and actually made political and social change because of the Fab Four.

They began writing in what we would now call an artist residency.

Creating a safe space without distraction for art to be made, ideas to be thought, and lyrics to be written, that might just change the world... is pretty important stuff.

Reason 14

Location: Easy to get to.

It is obviously a beautiful place and therefore inspiring. But in spite of being remote, it is easy to get to. A flight to Nassau and then a smaller plane to Dead Man's Cay and you are there. See the location here.
In spite of it being easier to get to than you think, it is still not well travelled. You won't find the usual city trappings here. No movie theaters, no traffic lights! Long Island is a hidden gem.
Reason 15

Improving art education on the island.

There are good schools on the island, and great students, but art education is scarce due mostly to the cost of resources and lack of facilities. Both of these things are what Exnihilo plans to bring and make available to the island. Both school children and the local artists will benefit from visiting workshops as well as just having a place to do their art. Oramae Pinder talks about being a school teacher for 40 years on the island.


Reason 16

No noise.


Enough said.

Reason 17

A residency is often the turning point when an artist finds courage to take a creative leap.

We have all had a moment, some call it a mountain top experience, that ah Ha moment or the proverbial light bulb over your head. An artist residency sets the stage for these moments and act as a crucible for an artist's discovery of new potential and often greater work.

Reason 18

The sunsets.

Ok, this is one of those specifically "Bahamas location" reasons. But a great location that brings you close to the natural world and makes you stop and reflect on the beauty of nature is a great contributing factor to the creative process. A beautiful sunset is inspirational and can spark creativity with a glance.


Reason 19

To give an artist space and time is actually to take part in their creation.


The gift of an inspirational space, and time is the greatest gift an artist can receive to do their work. By doing so, you are contributing to the process of the creation of a work of art.


Reason 20

Save the trees.

The pirates stole the trees! No kidding. Due to over clearing for the purpose of shipbuilding, the island has a tree shortage. We are devoting a 1/4 acre of the Exnihilo Art Center grounds to growing indigenous plants and trees. Seedlings will then be shared across the island in an effort to bring back the original plant life and slow erosion.


Reason 21

Many famous artists got their creative start at a residency.

Quentin Tarantino created Reservoir Dogs at a residency. Some others include, Christo & Jean Claude, Marcel Duchamp, and Truman Capote.

Reason 22

You love the arts, you love artists, and you want to give them the gift of time and space.

Anyone who supports the arts understands that art can’t happen unless an artist is given the space, time and support to create new work.

Reason 23

Artist residencies advance human progress.

Different artist residencies focus on different things. Some engage community and offer education by partnering artists with students. Some focus on social justice, human rights or even the environment. Artists create works and inventions that impact society and residencies create the environment where creativity can flourish.

Reason 24

Because artists residencies provide $40 million in support to artists annually.

This kind of support creates space and time for works of art to be born that otherwise might never exist. And although there is an estimated 500 artists’ communities in the US and thousands more worldwide, there are none in this region of the world.

Reason 25

Art makes you smart

Numerous studies have been done that show how art effects individuals in positive ways. Art Centers, residency programs, museums and other institutions who interact with arts and community have a significant impact on learning development of elementary school age children. As expressed in a study written about in this NY Times article,  "most of the benefits we observed are significantly larger for minority students, low-income students and students from rural schools".


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