Ira Harrington Smith
Have you heard of the artist, Ira Harrington Smith?
Ira was a very talented painter whose prized works were extremely popular in St. Thomas.
Originally from New Jersey, he moved to the islands and began painting colorful scenes of everyday life.
Ira resided in the territory for forty-five years sharing his artistic talents while helping others develop theirs.
Ira and his wife, Doris established one of the first local art and craft galleries on St. Thomas.
Many remember their popular guest house called, Smith’s Fancy.
It quickly became a focal point for art lovers.
Ira was a source of encouragement for many young, artistic Virgin Islanders who went on to achieve success in the field.
Honored in Congress ~ 1990
Speaking to the US Congress on Ira’s behalf, Honorable Ron deLugo told them of his devoted service to the island’s artistic community.
Many felt that his exquisite watercolors, acrylics, and other creative works enhanced the island’s charm enticing more tourists to visit.
These endeavors earned Ira the respect and praise of art lovers all over the world!
Honored By the Virgin Islands Legislature
The 18th Legislature of the Virgin Islands agreed along with the St. Thomas Arts Council and selected him for the 1990 Cultural Achievement Award, presenting him with a resolution and plaque.
“These honors were most fitting and well deserved for a lifetime of achievements, beginning in New York as a teenager and including study abroad.
Ira’s works have been chosen for gifts to former President, Lyndon Johnson.
The Governor’s Office regularly commissioned his paintings.
Two were presented to such dignitaries as the King of Denmark and the President of the Republic of Niger.”
Preserving Our Rich Culture
“As a founding member of the St. Thomas Historical Trust and an active member of the St. Thomas Orchid Society, Ira greatly contributed to preserving and enhancing the island’s rich heritage of graceful architecture and natural beauty.
I am proud to contribute to this tribute to Ira Smith by sharing my personal regard for Ira’s artistic abilities and community spirit and drawing national attention to his achievements by making this statement to the US Congress.” ~ Honorable Ron deLugo
The Resolution by the Virgin Islands Legislature follows:
To honor and commend Ira Harrington Smith for his contributions to the Arts and the people of the United States Virgin Islands:
- Whereas Ira Harrington Smith was born on November 8, 1915, in Maplewood, New Jersey, to Philip Smith and Vera Leonard Smith;
- Whereas Mr. Smith has painted since the age of fourteen, exhibiting with the New York Water Color Society and the American Water Color Society;
- Whereas having completed his public school education in New Jersey, Mr. Smith graduated from the prestigious Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York;
- Whereas he studied further with Van Deering Perrine, N.A., and at the Instituto Allende in San Miguel de Allende, Republic of Mexico;
- Whereas the artist began his professional career designing and executing displays for various national retailers, including Lord and Taylor, B. Altman, Marshall Fields and Neiman Marcus.
Ira passed away in 1992, in St. Thomas and since then, his paintings have become highly collectible.
To see more incredible paintings of the Virgin Islands, visit this link. 🎨
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