Written by Chantel DaCosta

My St Kitts and Nevis: Donna Leonhardt

donna-leonhart

New York born artist and jewellery designer, Donna Leonhardt fell in love with St. Kitts and Nevis in 2006.  The owner of the brand Soleon, this wife and mother, spends her time between Wheaton, Illinois in the USA and St. Kitts.  Donna’s artwork is inspired by her two living environments. Today Donna shares her passion for St. Kitts and Nevis and the development Kittitian art.

Describe St. Kitts and Nevis in three words.

 Living the dream.

On what other islands/other places have you lived?

I am New York City girl, I was born on Staten Island, and  it is a far cry from this island paradise.

What is your favourite time of year?

I love spring.   It’s a rebirth, and, everything is new and green.

donna-leonhardt-painting-small

 

Describe your typical day.

In St. Kitts an ideal day for me is laid-back, I enjoy complete solitude. I awaken and head downstairs for a cup of coffee, and then I will read my emails and start painting or designing jewellery.  On Wednesdays, the day I most look forward to, I offer art classes at the beach.    There’s an abundance of untapped talent on St Kitts that needs attention, and my goal is to offer anyone with the desire to learn, the opportunity to learn. The most satisfactory thing one can do in life is to share one’s talent with others.     I’ve had some amazing teachers and mentors in my life and it is time to pass it on.   I require nothing from students but interest in learning, desire to create and their presence weekly to develop their skills.  It’s that simple.  Art is not something that is inbred, it is learned and shared.  I have met dozens of promising artists in St Kitts who, with encouragement and guidance have produced amazing work.   This delights and fulfils me.

What is your favourite music?

Oh that’s an easy one, electric music.  No words, but great beat.

Where is your favourite restaurant?

I have a special place in my heart for Bananas in Nevis.   It is not just a great restaurant.  It’s an experience, fine dining, and an art gallery, and it is an amazing atmosphere.  Gillian, the owner, gave my first ‘break’ as an artist on the island, offering me many years of exhibits at this lovely venue.   It gave me a foot in the door and for this I am forever grateful.

Where would you recommend as a ‘must go’ to a first time visitor to St. Kitts and Nevis?

Definitely do a Catamaran sail over to Nevis, and it will be the highlight of your trip.

Where in St. Kitts and Nevis do you like to kick back and relax with family and friends?

Majors Bay, a quiet, secluded beach with pristine sand and amazing water.  Pack a lunch or run to Spice Mill nearby for a great pizza to bring to the beach with you.

What major developments would you like to see happen in the St. Kitts and Nevis in the next 20 years?

I would like to see St Kitts develop its medical facilities and to someday become a medical hub for the Leeward Islands.  We have the facilities, the physicians, and the central location to make this happen. Right now, many persons have to travel to Barbados or Trinidad for major medical healthcare issues.   Moreover, many already established buildings that can be transformed into amazing medical facilities for both the Leeward and the Windward islands to use.

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