NG set to celebrate 10th anniversary

The National Gallery is celebrating its 10th anniversary with a sell-out gala dinner and art auction.

The Casablanca-themed 270-seat event is scheduled to be held Saturday, 3 November.

In addition to celebrating the gallery’s anniversary, the gala event will also double-up as its annual fundraiser.

Past fundraisers have been held at Pedro’s Castle. This year, the event will be held at the Island Air Hanger.

‘This year’s fundraiser is particularly special as it is also our 10th anniversary,’ Jennifer Woodford, NG manager of volunteer services and organiser of the event, said.

‘We wanted something really different and unique and came up with the idea of holding it in the Island Air Hanger. We contacted Marcus Cumber of Island Air and luckily he generously agreed to donate the use of the hanger for the night.’

In celebration of the anniversary the gallery has hand-picked six artists to auction their work; Joanne Sibley, David Bridgeman, Aston Ebanks, John Broad, Nasaria Suckoo-Chollette and Charles Long.

‘We invited six artists who best represent art in Cayman over the years and are representative of the different art forms and styles. All have been very involved with the gallery and are influenced by island life in the work that they do,’ Ms Woodford said.

In addition to the art auction, the event will also include a buffet provided by eight of Cayman’s top restaurants, while entertainment will be provided by belly dancer Soraya and DJ Alexi. Capturing the scene for prosperity on canvas will be local artist John Broad.

Organised by a team of some 30 volunteers the event will also include a black-jack style raffle, door prizes and the opportunity to win the grand prize of a trip to Morocco, courtesy of British Airways.

Last year’s event raised over $45,000. Like last year, proceeds will go towards the NG’s nine Art Outreach programmes – Art Sisters, Art Zone, Art Magnet, Inside Art H.M. Fairbanks, Inside Art H.M Northward, Inside Art Eagle House Juveniles and Young Offenders, Art Outreach Frances Bodden Girls Home, Art Outreach Bonaventure House and Art Outreach Caribbean Haven.

‘The fundraiser goes a long way to supporting the gallery’s outreach programmes,’ Ms Woodford said. ‘It enables us to hire more staff and hold more programmes, which benefits those who do not ordinarily have access to art.’

The National Gallery started life in 1997 at Alexander Place on Dorcy Drive. Quick to outgrow the 1,000 square foot space, the gallery moved to its present location at Harbour Place on South Church Street five years ago.

The first director was Leslie Bigelman and in 2004, the current director, Nancy Kirkaldy-Barnard, took over the reigns.

The NG serves to promote and encourage the appreciation and practice of the visual arts for everyone in the community and has grown considerably over the past 10 years.

The gallery hosts some six exhibitions per year, as well as a series of art outreach programmes, educational courses and art classes, lectures and art-film screenings.

Due to its increased growth, the NG has now outgrown its present premises and building is scheduled to start January 2008 on phase one of a purpose built facility off the Harquail By-pass.