Visual Arts Society back in business

The Visual Arts Society is planning it’s come-back with an art exhibition scheduled for October.

Formed in 1978, the society has taken somewhat of a backseat after it lost its premises and almost all of its equipment during Hurricane Ivan – a catastrophic storm that tore through Cayman in 2004.

‘The Visual Arts Society is making a comeback,’ said Pat Nicholson, committee member. ‘The point of organising this show is for the society to re-group and establish a pulse once more.’

At its height the society had more than 200 members, however after it lost its premises in September 2004 members have dropped significantly and without a permanent location the VAS have been unable to continue with its arts programme.

Although the eight committee members have continued to meet on a monthly basis since the storm, Ms Nicholson admits it has taken awhile to regain the motivation to get the society back up and running.

‘The problem is that many people think that we no longer exist. We hope that by holding this exhibition we can get the word back out there and start to re-group,’ Ms Nicholson explained.

The exhibition, Cayman’s Treasures, Lost and Found, is scheduled to be held at the Prospect Playhouse, Red Bay, thanks to the Cayman Drama Society kindly offering the VAS space.

‘Usually we would have held exhibitions at our former location at Eucalyptus Place in George Town,’ Ms Nicholson said.

‘This was also home to our studios, workshop areas, office and an adjacent shop.’

Commenting on the choice of the recovery theme for the exhibition, Ms Nicholson said: ‘People lost a lot during the storm, however people also re-claimed, re-furbished and found things. It seems a fitting theme as the VAS is also recovering.’

During its 27-year history, the VAS has played a vital part in the arts community, and, according to committee members, for many years it was the only art group in Cayman. The society regularly held a vast array of art classes running the gamut from photography, pottery to watercolour, holding a popular annual art exhibit.

‘Visual art is very prominent in Cayman at the moment with venues like the Westin, Full of Beans and the Ritz-Carlton frequently holding shows; however these only offer space for established artists,’ Ms Nicholson said. ‘What makes the Visual Arts Society different is that we are for all artists, both the well recognized as well as the new.’

She explained that there will be no pre-jury for the forthcoming show and that all artists who submit work will be guaranteed that at least one piece will be shown, unless it is overly graphic and deemed unsuitable for a family show.

The show is open to anyone who is a Cayman Islands resident. The only prerequisite is that it can’t have been exhibited before.

The society is hopeful the exhibition will kick-start the VAS back into life, however, Ms Nicholson said that at this moment in time she is unsure what the future holds in store for the society.

‘We shall just have to wait and see what interest the exhibition attracts. Without a permanent location we can’t really offer the full programme of classes like we used to.’

Asked whether the society was actively seeking new premises, Ms Nicholson said: ‘At the moment no. Our last premises we were very lucky as it was rent free. As we are self-sufficient, relying wholly on donations and funds raised from art shows we would ideally be looking for someone to donate space.’

Registration forms for the forthcoming show are available by emailing [email protected] or by sending details to POBOX 30160 SMB. Deadline for completed registration forms is 4 September. Deadline for the submission of artwork is 4 October. Work can be in any medium, however must be ready to be hung or displayed.

The show opens Friday, 6 October, 6pm to 9pm for members only. The exhibition will be open to the public on Saturday, 7 October, times to be announced. Membership for the next six month costs $10.