Some of the leading artists in the Cayman Islands were invited to tour the new facility for the National Gallery of the Cayman Islands on Wednesday, 26 October. Construction of the new facility is nearing completion and plans remain on schedule for the gallery to open its doors to the public on 28 January.
In a final push to raise the remaining funds, the National Gallery is organising a number of fundraising initiatives, one of which is the Big Art Auction. The National Gallery approached a number of local artists to donate works of art to the Big Art Auction, which takes place on 24 November. Twenty-one artists’ donated works will be on display at the National Gallery in its current Harbour Place location for the three weeks preceding the auction. One hundred per cent of the funds raised through the auction will go to the NGCI Capital Fund.
Artists who donated work for this fundraising initiative were invited for the first official tour of the new National Gallery facility.
The new National Gallery and Education Centre is located on four acres of land adjacent to the Esterly Tibbetts Highway and will comprise two freestanding buildings connected by a covered walkways and extensive multipurpose outdoor recreational areas.
The gallery building, which is on two levels, will provide a permanent exhibition space for the National Art Collection on the upper level. A large gallery space will be located on the lower level for temporary exhibitions.
The second building will house a state-of-the-art education centre. This will include an auditorium, where regular events such as Art Flix and Cine Club can be held. The space also can hold lecture series, visiting speakers and school groups; an Arts and Culture Library with a collection of more than 2,500 books and journals relating to the arts; and a Fine Art Studio for all of the National Gallery’s hands on programmes and classes.
In addition to the gallery and educational facilities, the new National Gallery has been designed to incorporate a multipurpose area for events and outdoors exhibitions that will be available for community activities and can also double as a rental area for corporate events and private parties, thus helping generate funds for the gallery.
Three acres of landscaped community gardens also are planned, which will provide a venue for family outings, picnics and outdoor fairs, along with a sculpture garden. A Heritage Nature Trail will run across the entire site, providing information on native flora and their uses.
A National Gallery shop and cafe will further increase the National Gallery’s sources of revenue, with the cafe potentially doubling as a kitchen for special events.
“The new National Gallery and Education Centre will be a wonderful resource for the entire community,” said NGCI Director Natalie Urquhart. “The accessible location and increased space will enable us to host a vibrant and diverse exhibition schedule that foucses on contemporary visual culture from the Cayman Islands and beyond.”
The entire development has been designed to be sufficiently flexible to accommodate the wide range of activities undertaken by the gallery and includes the potential for additional phases in the future.