Artists gear up for McCoy Prize

The annual visual arts event, the McCoy Prize, opens its doors this Thursday, 6pn to 8pm, with an awards ceremony announcing winners of the coveted prize.

The exhibition and prize giving will be held at the National Museum’s Support Facility at Pasadora Place. Artwork will be on show through 28 February.

Now in its sixth year, the prize – set up by the North Side McCoy family in 2001 and jointly administered by the National Gallery, the National Museum and prize creator Harris McCoy III – aims to encourage and reward excellence in Caymanian art.

Like last year, awards will be given in the categories of Fine Art, Fine Craft and Fine Photography and Best in Show.

A People’s and Artist’s Choice will be announced at the close of the show.

This year 30 artists submitted work – a slight dip compared to last year, which attracted 37.

‘The McCoy Prize has been instrumental in allowing Caymanian artists the opportunity and support to pursue their chosen area of artistic expression,’ Harris McCoy said. ‘In addition, it has given Caymanian artists a spotlight outside of institutional red tape and personality to do their thing.’

Past winners include Randy Chollette and Nickola McCoy-Snell, who have used the prize as a stepping stone to further their career in the arts.

In addition, the prize serves as an organised means to establish a national collection of Caymanian art. All winning pieces are added to the McCoy Collection, part of the National Collection.

A pre-jury, introduced last year, ensures the standard of the prize is kept high.

Visitors to the exhibition can vote for their favourite piece in the People’s Choice award. Forms will be available to fill out, which can be posted in a designated box at the show. The winner will be announced on Thursday, 14 February.

Commenting on Cayman’s burgeoning art scene, Harris said: ‘It’s a healthy melting pot, as is evident in our diverse society. What is very evident is the strong identity Caymanian artists share in their heritage and a stubborn unwillingness to let it go.’