Leo S. Carty was born on April 17th, 1931 in Harlem, New York. His artistic talent was recognized at an early age, as the result of a sports mural he painted while attending a summer recreational program, he received a scholarship to the Museum of Modern art for Children at the age of ten.
In 1976 Leo moved his talents to St. Croix and began to expand his style and mediums. He taught at the Golden Grove correctional Facility, University of the Virgin Islands, and was the coordinator of the Adult Education Senior Art Program. He also created an editorial cartoon for the Avis newspaper, which appeared weekly during the late 70’s and throughout the 1980's. The cartoons which were created over thirty years ago still ring true today. He also taught Art to grades K-12 at St. Dunstan's Episcopal School for 10 years before devoting his full time to painting in 1989. He served on many boards; V.I. Council on the Arts, St. Croix Arts Council, St. George Village Botanical Gardens and the St. Croix Jazz Society.
Carty's impressionistic paintings adorn the walls of numerous public buildings throughout the U.S.V.I. He completed a Federal Commission for the Alric L. Christian Federal Building and CourtHouse in Orange Grove, St. Croix. It is a three paneled mural 9 ft. by 14 ft. that depicts the history of St. Croix, St. John and St. Thomas. Leo became only the third African American artist to receive and complete a General Services Administration Commission, joining Romare Beardon and Jacob Lawrence.
In 1996 he received his highest honor, selection as one of twelve recipients of the Governors' First Awards for Excellence in the Arts, "in recognition of your accomplishments and exceptional contribution toward the advancement of the Visual Arts in the Virgin Islands." He had the distinction of being the only non-native born honoree.
In 2020, Stefan Carty, Leo’s youngest son, founded the Carty Fine Arts Studios in commemoration of the 10th anniversary of his father’s passing. The mission is to continue the legacy of illustrating life through vivid images that capture the imagination. The studio features an exclusive collection of Leo’s work.
LEO CARTY FINE ART SCHOLARSHIP
The Carty Fine Art Studio is pleased to offer four $500 Leo Carty Fine Art Scholarships for graduating seniors who attend high school in the USVI. Scholarships will be awarded to students who will pursue the visual arts following their high school graduation, and who have demonstrated their commitment to any of the visual arts. This includes, but is not limited to: drawing, painting, sculpture, and photography.
To support this initiative, visit Cane Roots Art Gallery, located at 24 Company Street, in Christiansted during the Leo Carty Remembrance exhibit from July 30th through September 10th. There will be exclusive artwork for sale during the exhibition. Proceeds from the sale of the exclusive collection will fund the scholarship.