There are many venues in the Cayman Islands where locals and visitors alike can truly enjoy a wide range of cultural and artistic expressions in the visual, performing and literary arts. Cayman’s cultural scene has evolved into a rich and colourful representation of a diverse community through the contributions and essence of its people.
The work of local and other regional artists can be viewed at local galleries, while craft work is available in stores and gift shops. Local productions can also be seen annually, check the newspaper for details. The National Trust Visitor Centres and the local markets (daily in George Town and Saturdays in Savannah) are great places to find artisanal products and locally made gifts.
The Cayman Cultural Foundation has been instrumental in the development of the arts over the years and is responsible for a number of programmes and events to package and showcase the islands rich talents and culture.
Individuals who crave artistic stimulation and those with eclectic taste can enjoy a range of high quality productions from plays to a storytelling festival that the Cultural Foundation promotes annually throughout the islands. Many events are also held at the Harquail Theatre, a modern facility named after F.J. Harquail the husband of resident, Helen Harquail, who donated the venue to the people of the Cayman Islands.
This venue also stages various productions, including the National Children’s Festival of the Arts, beauty pageants, art and jewellery displays, and dance recitals, among others.
The annual arts festival, Cayfest, which features the work of the people from Grand Cayman, Little Cayman and Cayman Brac, is one of the most popular events where everyone can experience and learn about local culture and the arts. The Cultural Foundation also publishes books including one featuring the work of one of the islands most renowned and intuitive painters, Gladwyn K. Bush.
Batabano is also an annual four-day carnival that features singing, dancing and a diversity of Caribbean food. Another popular event is Pirates Week. A national festival that runs for 11 days every November. Pirates Week is a celebration across the island in various events.
The work of local and other Caribbean artists is also available for viewing at the National Gallery of the Cayman Islands, which provides a venue for local artists to display their work. In addition, there are programmes aimed at encouraging the development of contemporary Caymanian art.
The Cayman Drama Society, the Cayman National Choir, the Visual Arts Society and Cayman’s national dance company – Dance Unlimited, are organizations that promote the visual and performing arts. Other bodies that work to showcase, promote and maintain the local culture are the Cayman Islands National Museum, the Cayman Islands National Archive, and the National Trust for the Cayman Islands.