The quality, quantity and diversity of artwork produced on island is huge and perhaps not as widely known as it should be, so, in a bid to get more people buying local art, a new art initiative is taking place in July, Cayman Art Week. Beginning with their website www.caymanartweek.com that went live last week, the event, which is scheduled to run from 7thto 10th July 2021, will be an annual, week-long programme of art exhibition tours, galleries events and open studios.
The project, a showcase of all things art, has been a labour of love for its founder, Natalie Urquhart, who is the Director of the National Gallery of the Cayman Islands.
She said the project was a personal project that she developed in response to what was a need for a collaborative hub to share information about Cayman’s commercial art sector.
“Cayman Art Week aims to shine a light on the vibrant gallery and studio sector through a comprehensive website, interactive art map and week-long celebration that encourages the sale of art," she advised.
In particular, Mrs Urquhart said the event was being held to assist those in the art field who are small business owners and who have seen their sales heavily impacted by Cayman’s closed borders.
"The small creative business owners, who are all heavily reliant on the hospitality sector, have seen their incomes severely impacted by the pandemic. Their venues and the artists that they represent contribute significantly to the unique cultural wealth of the Cayman Islands, and they remain at risk while the sector begins to rebound. CAW hopes to help sustain the local arts community while we wait for borders to reopen," she said.
Over the four days, the event will focus on a different geographical concentration of galleries and studios daily, starting with the Seven Mile Beach area on Thursday 8th July, George Town on Friday 9th July, and the Eastern districts on the morning of Saturday 10th July, followed by an Art Symposium at the National Gallery in the afternoon. In Cayman Brac, the Solomon Studio will host special events throughout the week, and Artist Talks will take place in Little Cayman in partnership with the Little Cayman Museum. There will also be a tri-island 'Open Studio Day' on Saturday, where artists across all three islands open their doors to the public.
A lead partner in the project, George Town Revitalisation, which manages the largest concentration of creative spaces in Cayman, will host their new 'Art in the City' initiative that celebrates creativity across the town centre. You can catch all the evolving schedules on the website at www.caymanartweek.com/events.
The push to get more art into people’s living rooms will not be stopping at the end of Cayman Art Week, as the website will continue to function as a 'one stop' place to access knowledge about how and where to buy Cayman art with featured local experts, blogs, and news about Caymanian art events. Mrs Urquhart confirmed that this online component was the first time that all of the venues have been available via a single website. Visit the website and get a glimpse into profiles and artwork samples from featured venues along with their contact and locations details and an easy to use google map.
Longer-term, Cayman Art Week hopes to help support the islands' creative economy and grow into an annual tourism attraction.
Cayman Art Week has already confirmed 25 venues, with more expressing interest. These range from long-running art galleries to cutting-edge spaces and start-ups. Confirmed galleries and studios include: The Gallery at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman, Kennedy Gallery, Sandon Feat Gallery, Parcel 110, Guy Harvey Gallery, Pure Art Gallery, Carlos V. Garcia Gallery, Artisan Metal Works Gallery, Gordon J. Solomon Fine Art, John Reno Jackson Studio, David Bridgeman, Al Ebanks, Kay Smith, Charles Long, White Dog Art (Ren Seffer) and Scott Swing. Several artists are also hosting pop-up exhibitions at venues like The Art Collective, Notable Island Gallery and Award Art Gallery at Monaco Towers, Shane 'dready' Aquart at Whitehall Chambers, Davin Ebanks at Palm Heights, along with pop-ups at design firm IDG Cayman and Calypso Grill.
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