Creative excellence from Cayman’s arts and culture community will be on display next month when Cayfest, the Cayman National Cultural Foundation’s (CNCF) annual arts and culture festival, gets underway in February. Organisers are looking forward to once again highlighting the cultural diversity and artistic talent that flourishes in Cayman. For those artisans, actors, comics, fashion designers, magicians, food vendors, singers, dancers, instrumentalists, musical groups, poets and storytellers who haven’t signed up yet to participate in this special event, there is still time to get involved.
Cayfest is Cayman’s finest showcase of talent with an emphasis on local arts and culture, and an eclectic mix of visual arts and crafts, music, theatre, dance, film, fashion design, and cultural discussions. This year’s celebrations will kick off on Thursday, 20 February with the 26th annual National Arts & Culture Awards, followed by the signature Red Sky at Night arts festival on 29 February from 4pm to midnight, and culminate with Dress for Culture Day on Friday 13 March, timed to coincide with the week of Commonwealth Day.
“For over 25 years, Cayfest has energised the participation of our artists, weaving several of the strands that make Cayman’s arts and culture so delightfully complex. Showcasing film and photography, theatre, comedy, dance, music, traditional Cayman and the next wave of talent, the festival supports the mission that CNCF undertook over 30 years ago, which is to signify Cayman’s heritage and culture, and to give it form, context and meaning. We invite you to not only enjoy what’s on offer but also take an active part in any way that you can,” said Henry Muttoo, CNCF Artistic Director.”
The National Arts & Culture Awards takes place at the Harquail Theatre and is an invitation-only affair. The ceremony recognises those who have contributed to the arts, culture and heritage of the Cayman Islands, attained a level of merit in their artistic discipline and/or supported the work of CNCF. The award categories are the Gold, Silver and Bronze Heritage Cross, the Gold, Silver and Bronze Stars for Creativity, the Chairman’s Award and the Outstanding Volunteer Award.
“This is an opportunity for us to shine a light on those who have blazed a trail in building, sustaining and revolutionising Cayman’s arts scene and culture, while reminding us from where we’ve come,” said Muttoo.
The festivities continue the following weekend with the very popular Red Sky at Night multicultural arts fair on the grounds of the Harquail Theatre. From steel pan, fiddles and drums to DJs, dance troupes, storytelling and theatre, there is no shortage of entertainment at Red Sky. Both established and up-and-coming artistes are welcomed and embraced on the various Red Sky stages.
There will also be dozens of booths with locally made art, crafts, jewellery, clothes and accessories on Thatch Walk, as well as local vendors in the Café Cayman area offering dishes such as Cayman style beef, fish rundown, stewed conch and lobster and desserts including pepper jelly, coconut treats, heavy cakes, ice cream and doughnuts. In addition, the Creative Kids area will provide supervised activities and specialty food for kids ages three to 12.
Friday, 13 March is Dress for Culture Day, now in its eighth year. This annual ‘dress up, dress down’ fundraiser celebrates Cayman’s multicultural community which is comprised of over 100 nationalities. Schools, businesses and individuals across the Cayman Islands are encouraged to creatively display their homeland pride and cultural attire on that day for a donation of $5 per adult and $3 per student. Monies raised go toward CNCF Young at Arts youth programmes.
“Being a part of Dress for Culture Day can be as elaborate or as simple as you like. Wear your country colours, a scarf or tie with a particular plaid or design, or a full-fledged costume if the spirit takes you, anything that expresses who you are culturally. You may even find connections with others that you didn’t know existed!” said CNCF Managing Director, Marcia Muttoo.
Vendor registration for Red Sky at Night closes on 31 January so there is still time for local artists and artisans to sign up to promote, sell or display their work. Food vendor spaces are available too.
Groups can also join the Parade of Nations during Red Sky At Night. It is a beautiful and colourful display of all the wonderful cultures we have right here in Cayman. Every nation is welcome. Anyone who registers a group will receive $5 off each adult Red Sky ticket for the group.
To register and for more information email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (345) 949-5477.
Tickets for Red Sky At Night are $15 for adults, $5 for children 12 and under and $10 for seniors (65+) and students ages 13 to 17, and are available for purchase online now at www.eventpro.ky.