National Gallery breaks ground


The National Gallery Management
Board celebrated the ground breaking of the new National Gallery and Education
Centre building at a donor’s reception held at Martyn and Vivian Bould’s
residence Callaloo on Wednesday, 26 January.

Guests – including Governor Duncan
Taylor, Mrs. Taylor, and Minister of Community Affairs and Housing Mike Adam –
mingled over hors d’oeuvres and wine as the board thanked donors for their
generous contributions to the new building.

“In our present economic straits,
it is a considerable achievement to find funding for projects of this sort,”
Mr. Adam said. “The Cayman Islands government is well aware that the efforts of
private citizens have helped to compliment its own and believes that the new
National Gallery will be a permanent and fitting testament to how much the
public and private sectors can achieve when they work hand in hand for the good
of these Islands.”

National Gallery director Natalie
Urquhart gave a warm and sincere thank you to the donors.

“We’re really, finally at a stage
where we can start celebrating,” she said. “The idea of a permanent home for
the gallery and visual arts and arts educations in the Cayman Islands was
actually invisioned very shortly after we were established in 1997.”

The organisation that is the
National Gallery has developed so rapidly that it outgrew its temporary homes
at Alexandra Place and Harbour Place.

Then Helen Harquail gifted four
acres of land next to the Harquail complex.

“She actually envisioned really
this as a cultural centre, so we’re very pleased to be realizing that right
now,” she said.

The building was designed by
architect Danny Owens of OA&D Architects, who worked with landscape
designers Margaret Barwick and Sandy Urquhart, NGCI directors and the building
committee, which is chaired by Mr. Bould, the host of the donor’s reception.

“As the National Gallery has
continued to grow dramatically during the interim period, the new development
addresses urgent needs in the gallery’s infrastructure,” she said. “In
addition, as part of the National Gallery’s long-term strategic plan, a retail
shop, cafe and multi-purpose events space have also been incorporated into the
design to broaden the uses of the site and to help generate revenue.”

The design will be highly adaptable
to the Gallery’s changing requirements over time, she said.

“Upon completion, it is our hope
that the National Gallery and Education Centre that will be a state-of-the-art
civic resource, providing a home for school children, teachers, researchers,
artists, archivists, seniors and students of all age,” she said. “It will be a
creative hub that is accessible to, and frequented by, the entire community.”

The lead project donors were Helen
Harquail, Susan Anne Olde, The Dart Foundation and the Cayman Islands Government.

The major donors on the project
were John and Carol Owen, Andreas and Natalie Ugland, Atlantic Star Ltd,
Barbara Palmer, Butterfield, Desmond and Cathy Kinch, Deutsche Bank (Cayman)
Ltd, Greenlight Re, Henry and Eliza Harford, Linton Tibbetts and his family, Maples
and Calder, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and Walkers.

They also had several supporters:
RBS Coutts, Fred and Barbara Billes, Jonathan and Paula Tonge, John and Jenny
Dyke, Clive Calder, William and Janet Walker, and Ian and Carolyn Kirkham.


Governor Duncan Taylor and guests at the National Gallery donor’s reception.
Photo: Photo: Brian Wright

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