By Lindsey Turnbull
Photographs by Amy Mobley (Young Caymanian talented photographer)
Art lovers may have heard that Avril Ward’s Awardart Gallery has moved to its new location within the Art Nest space on MacLendon Drive in 131 Centre (just behind Foster’s at the airport), but what they may not know is that this evolving space is quickly becoming a big draw for anyone who wants to spend time in a creative environment enjoying visual arts, crafts and the performing arts.
Art Nest is the brain child of Christina Pineda, who moved into the old Woods furniture space a couple of years ago and set about creating the perfect spot for creative people to enjoy the arts in a relaxed, friendly and stimulating environment. Spark! School of Performing Arts quickly followed, along with the imaginative Conscious Café, owned by Saucha Conscious Living’s Britta Bush. Avril Ward’s Awardart Gallery is the latest addition to the Cayman Creative Collective of art businesses all housed under one roof. It’s a light and airy space that sees every available space adorned with some kind of artistic expression. Clever decorative plants decorate one wall, showcasing the skills of Blair Ebanks from Plant Based Studio, who gives classes on her skills.
“The space has grown organically and very quickly,” Avril confirmed. “When I became involved, I helped to give the entire space a face lift. It’s now a fantastic place where like-minded entrepreneurs within the art field have joined together to create a wonderful destination for people to visit and enjoy everything that we offer.”
Jam-packed with creativity
As well as the art studio, music school, the café and gallery, there is a huge space at the back of the building which houses birthday parties and other celebrations with an art theme. Art Nest now also provides retail space for the many local artisans who used to sell their items at the Camana Bay Artisans Market, which has now closed, so visitors can browse and buy jewellery, pottery, soft furnishings and more, all locally made.
“Conscious café is a wonderful vegetarian café that does amazing smoothies, coffees, teas, and delicious food. It also has a liquor licence and they do a fantastic brunch menu as well,” Avril said. “This really adds to the experience coming to Art Nest. For example, when parents bring their children to the music school, they have a comfortable place in which to relax before pick-up time.”
There is lots to do at Art Nest. The Glaze café offers ceramic painting and there are lots of interesting classes that are advertised at the reception entrance to the studio. A great place for young and old to express their creativity, the art studio also holds holiday camps for students, sometimes combined with the music school as well.
Avril’s art gallery is packed full of brilliant local art, with the likes of Yonier Powery, Maureen Lazarus, Renate Seffer, Nasaria Suckoo Cholette, Cera-Tan Kennaird, Kerwin Ebanks, Teri Grimes, Scott Swing, Sabine Hofmeyer, Kim Cadenhead, Loude and her own artwork adorning the space. Avril also features work by international artists Janis Hopley (South Africa) and Gevord Tadevosyan (Armenia) as well as various Cuban artists.
“It’s all going very well,” Avril said. “It’s always very busy with people coming and going. Sometimes art galleries can be quite intimidating but often it’s a while before people even realise that they are in an art gallery here. I love being surrounded by this creative group of mainly female entrepreneurs. The talent here is unbelievable.”
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