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Cafe Soleil and Caribbean Lifestyles merge at Frenches

Cafe Soleil and Caribbean Lifestyles merge at Frenches

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Art, interior design and delicious food and drinks have come together under one roof, to form one of St Vincent’s most exquisite hang-out spots.{{more}}

Café Soleil, a popular eatery in the heart of Kingstown, now has a new outlet in Frenches, where it has been merged with interior design store, Caribbean Lifestyles.

Eloise Gonsalves, proprietor of Café Soleil and wife of the prime minister, opened her interior design store Caribbean Lifestyles, at their personal home in Frenches, three years ago.

“The house at Frenches was deteriorating rapidly,” she explained.

“I decided to kill two birds with one stone; to preserve this old building by opening my store so that it could be alive again”.

Gonsalves, who has a deep seated love for interior designing, arts and crafts, said she originally planned for the café to be a small part of her business; however, she quickly learned that running both businesses at different locations was a mammoth task.

As a way of restoring balance in her life, Gonsalves has merged all of her passions into one, beautiful package.

“I have a real passion for interior design and arts and crafts, so it’s been a great pleasure for me to be able to express myself through that avenue,” she said about her store.

“Now, we want to encourage other artists and other creative people to do the same”.

Artists from all parts of the Caribbean now have another outlet to showcase their talents and build clientele, as their art will be available for purchase.

“We have from Haiti, we have from Mexico. Of course, we have Vincentian artists,” the art lover said. “It will be revolving. It will stay here; some of it will be sold. Some might exhibit for a period…”

Although exhibitions have been held at Caribbean Lifestyles in the past, more emphasis will be placed on the art form in this respect.

“I didn’t have time to concentrate and help the art world flourish in St Vincent, so this is a decision that I made to reemphasize the part of my work that lifts my spirits,” Gonsalves, an ardent craftsperson, declared.

“I think it is an area in St Vincent that needs some focus. There are very few places available for exhibiting art and craft, so I’m happy to be able to use this venue to add to that purpose”.

Though Caribbean Lifestyles is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. during the week, new opening hours are being considered for the after work crowd that they hope would patronize the café and art centre.

“We’re trying to shift the hours a bit to accommodate the working person…if you’re a busy working person, when do you get to buy art?” Gonsalves noted.

Furthermore, the café will cater to all aspects of art, as events will be held on site regularly.

“We plan to have poetry readings here, we plan to have musical events on the veranda…we are planning to have, twice a month, events here of that kind,” the proprietor revealed.

“I’m hoping that this venue will become a destination for people, a place where they feel welcome to come and have a drink with friends and engage with people who are like-minded and interested in culture and design”.

At the opening ceremony, which will be held this evening, 11 artists from Cuba, Mexico and St Vincent collectively will be featured.

From St Vincent, artists include Ayana Baisden, Margot Coombs, Jess Robert, Conroy Dyer, Robert A. Joyette, Nzimbu Browne and Calvert Jones.

Reynaldo Lopez, Jorge Zaldivar and Ricardo de Armas Rodriguez from Cuba will be showcasing their pieces as well.

The Embassy of Mexico to the OECS countries will present a selection of works from one of Mexico’s most important artists, Jose Guadalupe Posada.

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