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New Art Haven Exhibition highlights art as therapy

Arts and Culture 22 Feb, 2024 Follow News

Artwork on display at the new Art Haven exhibition

By Lindsey Turnbull

The National Gallery’s Art Haven outreach programme offers people at HMP Northward, HMP Fairbanks and Caribbean Haven a vital outlet for emotional, as well as artistic development, and an exhibition of their works is being held at the National Gallery starting this month.

The programme, which has been in existence for almost two decades, is held at each establishment by instructor artist Joseph Betty and has helped many people to either discover or further artistic talents while helping them through tough times in their lives. 

Maia Muttoo, Education Manager at the National Gallery, said the programme, which is sponsored by Lori Monk and Kevin Butler, gives participants in correctional facilities the opportunity to learn skills development, learn new art techniques and gives them an outlet for emotional expression.

 “The Art Haven programme offers an outlet for healthy emotional release and creative expression to people facing challenging circumstances while also encouraging skill-development and cultural engagement” she advised.

Art allows people to communicate with others in a way that is not verbal, helping people with their emotional expression, she said.

“Art Haven helps people talk about their emotions in a healthy and supportive way,” she confirmed.

In addition, the programme helps participants think outside their current situation and focus on something beyond their incarceration, helping them to contemplate more positive thoughts.

Maia said that some participants already have a background in art while many have not. Some discover a natural talent through the programme that they never knew they had, she confirmed.

The programme offers a wide syllabus of study allowing participants to work on themes and find which artistic style appeals to them the most. They get lessons in perspective, still life drawing and collage and learn how to work with mixed media. Mr Betty usually visits Northward participants weekly and Fairbanks and Caribbean Haven participants monthly.

Once participants see the fruits of their artistic labours there is a sense of pride in their achievement, and having their work exhibited at the National Gallery helps to reinforce that sense of achievement.   

The exhibition, held annually, will be of selected works from the programme that will be installed in the National Gallery’s administrative building from 13 February 2024.

The exhibition, curated by National Gallery Annual Intern, Michael Rhoden with support from the NGCI Education and Exhibitions departments, aims to amplify the voices of art practitioners across diverse demographics in the Cayman Islands, and will also be made available on the National Gallery’s website to share these works even more widely.

‘The exhibition is a great opportunity to celebrate the skill development of participants in the programme,” Maia said.

The exhibition will be held in the hallway of the National Gallery’s administrative offices and will run for a number of months.


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