Clara Reyes newly appointed head of Culture

Minister Wuite, Clara Reyes, Acting Secretary General Shermina Powell-Richardson and Daphne Thomas


PHILIPSBURG – Minister of Education, Culture, Youth & Sport Jorien Wuite announces the appointment of Clara Reyes as new Head of the Department of Culture.  Clara fills the vacancy left by the sudden passing of former department head, St. Maarten icon, Neville York in May 2017.

Clara Reyes has a distinguished background in the Arts.  She holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in Dance and Choreography with specialization in dance education ages K through 12 grades.  Her career includes being head of Department of Creative Artistic Formation at the St. Maarten Academy Vocational Section, teacher at St. Maarten Academy Academic Section, part-time lecturer of Humanities at the University of St. Martin, Performing Arts /Dance Instructor at the Learning Unlimited Preparatory School, and Teacher at The Charlotte Brookson Academy for the Performing Arts. Ms. Reyes is also co-founder and co-director of the National Institute of Arts.  Ms. Reyes considers arts her calling and she has many years of training in dance, visual arts, photography, film, musicals, drama and storytelling.

“We are delighted that we were able to fill the position with another St. Maarten great.  Clara has big shoes to fill as Neville was a man truly dedicated to advancing culture not just in St. Maarten but he took St. Maarten culture to the world.  I am confident that she will bring her own creative style and ingenuity to the department and build on the work done by Neville while taking the department into a new era”.  Minister Wuite says.

The Minister emphasizes that now more than ever the Ministry needs all hands on deck to ensure a quick recovery process.  An inventory after the passing of hurricanes Irma and Maria last September revealed that several cultural monuments were damaged as well as critical cultural institutions including the Philipsburg Jubilee Library, St. Maarten Museum and the St. Maarten Archeological Center.  These and other damages are clearly outlined in the Ministry’s Resilience Plan along with timelines for restoration and repair. The team at the Department of Culture under Clara’s leadership will tackle these projects in addition to their regular duties.

The Minister would like to take this opportunity to publicly thank the staff and acting head of the Department of Culture, Daphne Thomas, for their hard work and resilience in these past months.