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Inaugural Cayman Art Week Will Launch in July

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Cayman Art Week (CAW) went live with their website ( www.caymanartweek.com) this week in advance of the inaugural event scheduled for 07 – 10 July 2021, an annual, week-long program of art exhibition tours, galleries events and open studios. The project seeks to raise visibility for the arts sector through a joined-up platform connecting collectors directly with creators. 

Project founder and creative director Natalie Urquhart is already well-known in the Caymanian creative sector, leading the National Gallery of the Cayman Islands for over a decade. CAW is a personal project developed in response to what Urquhart sees as a need for a central collaborative ‘hub’ to share information about Cayman’s commercial art sector. Urquhart says, “Cayman Art Week (CAW) 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.”

Urquhart chose to bring the launch date forward in response to conversations with colleagues and creatives. “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 says. The long-term idea for art week is to develop a cultural tourism product that can attract international collectors; however, this first edition will function exclusively on a local scale because of ongoing travel restrictions.

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.

CAW has received support from several individuals and organisations, including CAW’s Patron Mrs Susan A. Olde, OBE, lead partners Provenance Properties Cayman Islands, the National Gallery of the Cayman Islands and George Town Revitalisation, as well as the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism, Monaco Towers and Real Life Magazine. Thanks to these project partners, as well as the CAW team working in a voluntary capacity, CAW has been able to offset costs for participating partners in 2021 to ensure all proceeds from the sale of artwork goes directly to the organisations and artists to offset losses caused by the pandemic. It also ensures that CAW registration is free for all visitors and guests.

Says CAW Patron Susan A. Olde, OBE, “It is my pleasure to support the inaugural edition of Cayman Art Week, a landmark initiative that provides the first joined-up platform through which to showcase Cayman’s vibrant gallery and studio scene. Commercial galleries play a crucial role in our thriving art community by supporting emerging and established artists and facilitating the sale of their work. Cayman Art Week seeks to champion these efforts and to help ensure Cayman’s cultural landscape continues to thrive in these challenging times.”

Provenance Properties Cayman Islands was also delighted to come on board as a Lead Sponsor of the first annual Cayman Art Week. “As the official Christie’s International Real Estate affiliate in the Cayman Islands, we are privileged to help this event move forward and raise the profile of Cayman’s thriving arts community. Much like the industry leading art and luxury goods specialists at Christie’s – the world’s oldest auction house – we embrace opportunities to connect buyers and sellers of bespoke products,” said Vice President, Marketing and Sales, Sue Nickason.  

The four-day schedule will focus on a different geographical concentration of galleries and studios daily, starting with the Seven Mile Beach area on Thursday 08 July, George Town on Friday 09 July, and the Eastern districts on the morning of Saturday 10 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. Lead CAW partner, 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. The evolving schedule can be accessed via the CAW website at www.caymanartweek.com/events.

Following the annual event, the CAW 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. This online component is the first time that all of these venues have been available via a single website. Content includes profiles and artwork samples from featured venues along with their contact and locations details and an easy to use google map. 

Longer-term, CAW hopes to help support the islands’ creative economy and grow into an annual tourism attraction. Scheduled during the off-peak season, it allows another marketable product to attract cultural visitors to the island. Urquhart hopes that the event will become part of the Cayman cultural calendar and becomes a yearly draw for international visitors. For now, however, the focus is on the local audience in Cayman.

For more information about Cayman Art Week, to register an event or to sign up for the schedule, please email info@caymanartweek or visit www.caymanartweek.com . 

 

Submitted by: Natalie Urquhart (Cayman Art Week)