Early glimpse of Mind’s Eye

Cultural Foundation marks progress at Miss Lassie’s

The Royal Wedding holiday last Friday provided an opportunity to see things one ordinarily might not have the time for, and the Cayman National Cultural Foundation took advantage of the fact to hold a preview of Mind’s Eye, the South Sound property dedicated to the art of Gladwyn K. Bush, better known as Miss Lassie.

The site is where, from 1914 to 2003, she lived and moved and her need to paint came into being. The results are now hailed as world-class examples of intuitive or visionary art.

Efforts are under way to preserve and protect her family home, the surfaces of which were Miss Lassie’s first canvases. The cultural foundation has established a restoration committee, which is dedicated to conserving the artwork and expanding the functions of the property so that the public can not only experience its art and history but also enjoy the ambience and natural beauty.

The seaside duplex Miss Lassie built for rental income has already been converted for use as gallery/classroom/studio and the National Gallery currently holds a lease for its educational outreach programmes.

At the preview, restoration committee chairman Martyn Bould told the gathering of a three-year business plan to develop the site appropriately. He noted that $275,000 had been raised to date, partly in cash and partly in goods and services.

If such donations continue apace, Mind’s Eye could open fully early next year, foundation artistic director Henry Muttoo said later.

He confirmed that projection after consultation with Mr. Bould and managing director Marcia Muttoo. “While the three-year projection calls for $900,000, we feel that CI$500,000 would allow us to complete the project [finish the conservation work on all the paintings, stock and open the gift shop/tea room/, prepare the beach for visitors and ‘dress’ the house as it was in Miss Lassie’s time],” Mr. Muttoo said. “If such funding was available immediately or soon, it is quite possible that we could fast-track the full opening to April 2012. While our plan is, as far as possible to make Mind’s Eye viable – even profitable, it will be necessary in the beginning to receive an annual government grant – at least to cover staffing.”

Mr. Muttoo pointed out that the cultural foundation has the rights to all of Miss Lassie’s paintings, so the sale of prints could be a good source of revenue.

The scope of the overall project recalls Miss Lassie’s description of the way her own work progressed. “Dreams come into my mind’s eye and sometimes I feel almost timid to even speak about them. But they can leave you — dreams like that can leave you — exultant.”

She made that comment in an interview and it was subsequently quoted in the book of her art, titled My Markings. It also provided the name for the site and focus for its purpose.

Progress to date was celebrated with an afternoon tea and entertainment, a display of some of Miss Lassie’s work and tours of her home (Caymanian Compass, 2 May).