photo: Ralph Cantave

PHILIPSBURG – Be The Change Foundation launched the viewing of its “Color Me SXM” project to highlight the less popular areas of the island’s capital. Various murals can be found on different walls and alleys in Frontstreet and Backstreet.

At present many businesses in Philipsburg are currently closed due to the shutdown of the airport and harbor to American tourists. Empty streets and empty stores currently paint a gloomy future of our economy. This initiative hopes to transform that present circumstance and encourage an increase promotion of Sint Maarten.

Map of murals on an app
The project takes off before the reopening of the airport to American tourists but also at a moment where Sint Maarten is promoting staycations and supporting local shopping to stimulate the economy. Nine of the 12 murals are currently completed and the foundation will soon launch a mobile app where people can find a map of murals around the island.

According to the foundation’s president, Melanie Choisy, this project was also done to promote local artists and motivate residents and visitors to explore the island. Over 20 submissions were received, several from high school students.

Finalizing despite lockdown
This project was in the pipeline for over a year and the organization worked through the lockdown in March to finalize agreements with property owners who allowed their walls to be painted.

This project will also be continued into different districts on Sint Maarten and encourage travelers to go to the untraversed areas of the island. “I want part of our tourism product to reflect the gifts and talent that we have here” said Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunications, Ludmila de Weever. The minister also stated that the paintings are also a reflection of Caribbean life.