The National Gallery of the Cayman Islands (“NGCI”) has launched Art & Wellness at the Gallery, a free summer programme of community events that combine the arts and healthy habits to support country-wide wellness as part of the Cayman Islands’ recovery from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
A full calendar of free events, workshops, self-guided tours and exhibitions led by NGCI’s community of art and wellness experts have been designed to support community needs, encourage mental wellness, and provide a public space for healing. From now until July 2021, members of the community can take advantage of:
• Mindful Mondays: early gallery opening hours every Monday, where visitors can enjoy the gallery spaces from 9:00am, at no cost, before the hustle-and-bustle of general foot traffic and school tours arrive.
• Labyrinth Walks: a self-guided meditation that follows a single, non-branching path to the centre of the NGCI’s Siebens Labyrinth, and out again; open to the public throughout the day and designed to help calm and focus the mind.
• Nature Trail: a self-guided nature walk through the NGCI’s ‘living gallery’ spaces, open to the public and filled with native trees and sculptural works to discover.
• Yoga, Meditation and Mindfulness Classes: a free monthly schedule of yoga and meditation classes, and special nutrition workshops, to provide the community with wellness tools and knowledge to navigate their busy lives.
• Virtual Yoga and Meditation: free on-demand sessions for those in quarantine or unable to physically attend on-site happenings.
Globally, COVID-19 has seen the arts emerge as an essential contributor to overall wellbeing, and locally last year’s island-wide lockdown put a spotlight on the NGCI and local artists, who were quick to pivot their events, exhibitions and workshops online to offer free entertainment and education resources to the community, at a time when they needed it the most.
As we gear up for the world to return to a new normal, the healing power of art has never been more important. “The implications of COVID-19 have had a huge impact on our local community and will continue to do so long into the future. Fear about the disease, isolation caused by social distancing, economic pressures, and lack of ability to plan ahead have resulted in increased stress and anxiety across all areas of society,” says Natalie Urquhart, Director of the NGCI. “As we enter the new normal, the museum is continuing to be responsive to community needs and offer free programming that supports country-wide wellness.”
NGCI has a long-term commitment to helping at-risk groups in the community through the healing powers of art, with programmes ranging from seniors’ tours to regular programming at HM Northward and HM Fairbanks prisons, as well as specific projects that have addressed mental health issues such as PTSD, domestic violence and child welfare.
“Through these programmes, we have witnessed first-hand the healing power that a creative outlet can offer, and we’re thrilled to make these opportunities fully accessible to the community-at-large,” adds Urquhart.
Art & Wellness at the Gallery’s free programme of events runs from May through July 2021 and the full schedule is available online at www.nationalgallery.org.ky/wellness. All exhibitions, public spaces and gardens remain open and free to the public throughout the year from Monday through Saturday 10:00am to 5:00pm. Learn more about the NGCI and its current and upcoming exhibitions at www.nationalgallery.org.ky.