McCoy Prize leads the way in Cayman’s art world

Local Caymanian artists are being encouraged to mark their diaries as the popular visual arts event, the McCoy Prize exhibition, returns for its fifth year.

One of the most eagerly anticipated and popular arts events of the year, the McCoy Prize has kept true to its mandate to promote and reward excellence in Caymanian art.

The prize was set up by the North Side’s McCoy family in 2001 with the aim of encouraging, recognising and rewarding Caymanian art.

‘The pivotal role of the McCoy prize is to promote Cayman’s art. This is for Caymanian artists,’ prize creator Harris McCoy III stressed.

‘When I set up the prize what really bothered me was that Cayman’s artists were being exploited. I felt that Cayman’s art wasn’t being respected and I wanted an event that would rally people around in the community to recognise our nation’s artists,’ he explained.

The McCoy Prize regularly attracts up to 40 participants spanning three categories – fine art, fine photography and fine crafts – and has become a welcome addition to Cayman’s ever growing and developing arts scene.

This year a Best In Show prize has been added as well as an Artist’s Award, giving artist’s the opportunity to be awarded and recognised by their peers. The winner of the Best in Show will be offered the opportunity of a solo exhibition as well as an additional cash prize. Unlike previous years, there shall be no stipulation as to the use of the cash awards given.

The McCoy Prize, this year hosted by the National Museum, will for the first time be held at the National Museum’s Support Facility at Pasadora Place.

‘This alone gives this year’s McCoy Prize added excitement,’ Mr. McCoy explained.

‘The facility offers 8,000 square foot of exhibition space allowing us for the first time to do an industrial space exhibit. Previously we have always been limited in space and the art has had to be viewed in a confined space. Having this large floor area is very exciting and will enable people to look at the art in a whole new way. It will also mean artwork is not restricted in size,’ he said.

Each year the McCoy prize has continued to attract more entrants, which Mr. McCoy attributes to the unprecedented growth in Cayman’s visual arts scene over the past few years.

‘Art on Cayman has exploded and the McCoy Prize has undoubtedly helped in the development and encouragement of Cayman’s art,’ he commented.

While encouraging Cayman’s art, Mr. McCoy is also keen to keep the quality high. For the first time in the history of the prize all artwork will be pre-juried.

Jointly administered by the National Gallery, the National Museum and Mr. McCoy, the McCoy Prize has spurred many past winners to excel in art and while offering a frisson of excitement on the arts calendar, also serves as an organised means to establish a national collection of Caymanian art for future generations to enjoy. All winning pieces are added to The McCoy Collection, part of the National Collection and stored at the support facility for the nation.

‘I think art in Cayman is now on the right track,’ Mr. McCoy said. ‘The McCoy Prize has carved out the importance of Cayman’s art, and local artists, who can best depict the local community, are now respected and recognised.’


24 March – Application packets available from the National Museum and the National Gallery.

10 April – Application due

8 May – Entrants to deliver their work to the National Museum’s Support Facility, 9am to 5pm

9/10 May – Pre-jury and photographing of entries

11/12 May – Work not selected to be collected by entrants between 9am and 5pm

25 May – Exhibition opening and announcement of awards, individual categories and best in show.

15 June – People’s choice and artist’s award announced via media.

28 July – Exhibition ends

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