Sunday, July 12, 2009

Art in Roseau and Customer Service

The office of EXPOSURE, a newspaper published for the visual artists of Dominica is housed in a pretty little white house on the main street in Roseau, the capital city. Volumn 1, Number 1 was issued in February 2009. It is an excellent newsletter, nicely laid out and well written, covering painting, sculpture, photography, a featured artist , Kelo Royer, various art classes and activities and a film review.

This is the only nice thing to say about it. The tiny front porch and small front room were clogged with young people lounging around, which is not so bad if they would take the trouble to move their long legs out of the way to let others pass into the building. The young woman at the counter was beyond surly. She was aggressively rude, did not have basic information and clearly was not going to take the trouble to get it. There was a wall rack with art cards and some paintings on the walls that looked interesting, but it was not worth the unpleasantness to have a look (and who knows, maybe purchase something).

Instead, I recommend going around the corner of the adjoining building, passing through a lunch stand, down a little short alley and visiting the small studio, of Ellingsworth Moses. There I found a soft spoken man (and his young son) quietly sitting at his easel, working on a mixed media landscape piece. We had a friendly chat, he directed me to some art supplies (this is another story), I returned to his studio and bought a little print of a flamboyant tree. You can see his work at

There are other artists’ galleries to visit, and I will find them without the questionable help of the people at Exposure.

Customer Service: Generally speaking, customer service is not Dominica's strong suit. Eye contact is not practiced, items are flung at the customer, clerks take their own sweet time and will keep a customer waiting while they finish their chat with a colleague, or on their cell phone. It is maddening beyond words. Only in the farmers' market or the fish market or the small convenience shops can one get a half way friendly response. I have taken on the challenge of developing a customer/vendor relationship with several locals to make things easier on me.

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