What started as a grassroots initiative has blossomed into an important fundraising tool for two local non-profits – Jasmine and the NCVO – while highlighting the talent of Cayman’s artists.
The new 2022 Cayman Watercolours Calendar was unveiled at Jasmine Villa on 26 May, when guests gathered for the annual live auction of the original artworks featured in the publication.
There were 14 pieces up for bids in total, and this year, for the first time, a raffle with gift certificate prizes was added to the proceedings, which included a one-night stay at the Kimpton Seafire.
The auction alone raised $35,800, with the additional calendar and raffle ticket sales on the night taking the grand total to over $38,000. It was a welcome return to normalcy for the organisers.
“After hosting the online auction last year due to COVID, we were thrilled to welcome back friends to Jasmine Villa,” said Alanna Thomas, fundraising and events coordinator for Jasmine. “This year’s auction raised a record $35,800 from the artwork, benefitting Jasmine and the NCVO, both of which are such important charities doing incredible work for those in need in our community.
“We are wholly reliant on the kindness of the [public] to support and fund our work and, once again, the very best of Cayman shone through.”
From concept to reality
For the first three years, the late Annette Zalewski was the sole artist for the calendar. It was her generosity and vision that launched it, and after she sadly passed away in 2015, local artists continued to carry the torch and produce works for it as a collective each year.
Every month features a different artwork, with a local recipe included. For example, April’s painting is simply titled ‘Rum Point’ by Robert McKendrick, and it is accompanied by a recipe for a rum omelette.
June’s painting is ‘Riding the Waves’ by Villence Buchanan – depicting a shy seahorse – with a recipe for coconut shrimp; and October’s ‘Underwater Garden’ by Sarah James will have you cooking up plantains wrapped in bacon in no time at all.
The cover of the calendar, ‘Yacht Club Sunset’ by Jerome Wilson, features an array of different vessels, happily docked in the light of the setting sun.
On the evening of the auction, every artwork sold for over $1,000, with Samantha Hardy’s ‘Fan-tastic’ painting of a blue sea fan raising an astonishing, record-breaking sum of $5,100.
What is even more extraordinary is that this was Hardy’s first contribution to the calendar, and she is not a trained artist – it was just a hobby she had enjoyed pursuing during lockdown.
According to her bio, “since coming to the Cayman Islands she has really reconnected with nature, and learned to appreciate its true beauty. The light shades of blue and the different textures of the sea fan represent the Caribbean Sea and its calming nature.”
The other artists who donated work to the calendar are Bernadette Devlin, Gabrielle Wheaton, Deborah Richie, Rhianna Ebanks (14 years old), Caroline Courtis, Shilpa Tagalpallewar, Dubadah Boldeau and renowned Native Son artist, Gordon Solomon.
This is the 11th year that the Cayman Watercolours Calendar has been produced and, just as in previous years, sponsors cover the costs so that all proceeds can be donated to Jasmine and the NCVO. This year, companies Grant Thornton and Conyers stepped up and agreed to underwrite the project.
In turn, the vendors that sell it do not add a markup, so the price paid by buyers is the full amount donated.
The calendars will soon be available at multiple outlets throughout Cayman: Jasmine, Red Sail Sports locations, Book Nook, Kennedy Gallery, Bedside Manor and Next Chapter.
| For more information, visit the CaymanWatercoloursCalendar Facebook page. For those who pre-ordered calendars on the auction evening, they are now awaiting collection at Jasmine. Payment is accepted at jasmine.ky/donate; through online banking; or by cash, cheque or a card payment at Jasmine. Calendars are priced at CI$15/US$20 each.