National Arts and Culture Awards celebrates contributors

Last week’s National Arts and Culture Awards, hosted by the Cayman National Cultural Foundation and held at the Harquail Theatre, recognized those who have attained a level of merit in their artistic discipline, and who have contributed to the arts, culture and heritage of the Cayman Islands.

The Heritage Cross, Star for Creativity in the Arts and other award categories were presented to more than a dozen artists, culture-makers, volunteers and supporters of the arts.

Among those honored were the Crighton family and sisters Maureen and Maxine Bodden, both of whom were awarded the Gold Heritage Cross for their vibrant Christmas displays that have become a part of Cayman’s tradition.

The CNCF Heritage Cross Medal is awarded to individuals and groups who have a consistent and active engagement in the preservation and celebration of Caymanian cultural heritage. The award has three levels: Gold for over 20 years of high-quality engagement, Silver (over 10 years) and Bronze (over five years).

Melvin Augustine (posthumous) was awarded a Gold Heritage Cross in recognition of his impact on Cayman’s musical scene. Born in Belize, Augustine moved to the Cayman Islands with his family in 1976 to join the Royal Cayman Islands Police as a police tailor and to develop a ceremonial police band. The band became an integral part of police and public functions, the highlight of which was playing for Queen Elizabeth II when she visited the Cayman Islands in 1994. Augustine and his band backed, and recorded with, local artists including Maxine McCoy, the late Ray McLaughlin and Eric Smith. His influence on the music of the Cayman Islands will be felt for many years to come.

Creativity in the arts was highlighted at the event with Gold Star for Creativity recipients including Rita Estevanovich, Earl La Pierre, Joanne Sibley and Janet Walker.

The Chairman’s Award was presented to Winston Salmon by Cayman National Cultural Foundation Chair Martyn Bould for his services to the Foundation and to the community. A trained science teacher, accountant and a passionate lover of all aspects of the arts, Salmon is a two-time recipient of the CNCF Volunteer of the Year Award.

“Winston never says ‘No’ and has volunteered consistently [for] Gimistory, Miss Lassie’s House, theater productions, the CNCF office and the Harquail Theatre costume room, to name just a few,” says CNCF Managing Director Marcia Muttoo.

Awards were also presented for Sponsor of the Year and to four outstanding volunteers in recognition of the dedicated support of the Foundation. The awards ceremony is a Foundation initiative that began in 1990. Each year, there is a call for nominations from cultural and heritage organizations, as well as from the general public.

This celebratory occasion was a great opportunity for the Foundation to shine a light on those who have blazed a trail in building, sustaining and revolutionizing Cayman’s arts scene and culture, while reminding islanders from where they have come.

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