The local art community, private benefactors, and government officials joined forces on Wednesday, 17 September, in an effort to preserve the home and property of the late intuitive artist, Gladwyn K. Bush – better known as Miss Lassie.
More than $31,000 in cash and in-kind pledges were received during an auction of art work donated by many local artists. The evening included a showing of many ‘Miss Lassie’s National Collection’ items, purchased by the CNCF in 1998 for $298,000.
This initial fundraising initiative follows government’s decision to purchase the seaside property. Restoration and development of the site has been entrusted to the Cayman National Cultural Foundation, also caretaker of 125 pieces of Miss Lassie’s work.
Other national institutions, namely the National Gallery; the National Museum; and the National Trust, are also involved in the project.
Opening the auction, Leader of Government Business Kurt Tibbetts, said, ‘Miss Bush was surely a renaissance woman in her own time, even though most of those around her – and she herself – did not readily realise it. I am delighted by tonight’s organised effort, but I am even happier that recognition was actually bestowed upon Miss Lassie while she was able to bask in it, however briefly.’
Culture Minister Alden McLaughlin also paid tribute to Miss Lassie and offered his continuing support for this cultural undertaking. Noting his own involvement and commitment, he encouraged the active support, recognition, and pride in Cayman’s indigenous culture.
Urging public and corporate generosity, Mr Tibbetts added, ‘Much has already been accomplished, but more must still be done. Government willingly supported this cause, because we needed no encouragement to recognise this property as a national treasure.’
He concluded, ‘With only a finite amount of public funds at our disposal, it is now up the community-at-large to assist with financial support to restore and maintain the house. I Perhaps others will be inspired to follow their dreams, as Miss Lassie wished. I hope this will be so, and that her home will become a living memorial to her, and to her divine inspiration.’
Thanking all who participated, CNCF Director Henry Muttoo noted that there will be further fundraising events, during which the wider population will have the opportunity to help transform Miss Lassie’s home into an artistic refuge for the enjoyment of all.
The completed site will include an artists’ gallery, gift shop and a traditional Caymanian garden.