The Ultimate Cayman Bucket List, Part Three: Arts & Culture
by Maia Muttoo Jan 6, 2020
Are you visiting the Cayman Islands for the first time?
Maybe you’re a resident looking for a new weekend adventure?
Look no further than our Yello series of bucket list experiences in Cayman.
From outdoor activities to culinary events and cultural sites, we’ve got you covered.
This time: Arts and Culture.
The Cayman Islands’ arts scene has a lot to offer for those who appreciate the cultural and creative industries.
From galleries and museums to workshops, festivals and historic homes, Cayman offers a range of inspirational experiences for culture-lovers.
Walk Back in Time at Historical Homes
Though development of the islands has been rapid, a handful of historic homes remain to tell the story of the past.
Pedro St. James: Pedro St. James is a three-storey colonial-style building located in the historic district of Bodden Town. It was the venue for an 1831 meeting that led to the islands’ first elected parliament, and as such, is known as Cayman’s birthplace of democracy. The current building is a reconstruction of William Eden’s original 1800s construction, which was built as a private plantation.
The Mission House: The Mission House is a traditional two-storey Caymanian house located in Bodden Town. The site was utilised by early settlers for its water supply, and later became a base for missionaries and teachers during the 1800s. Tours of the Mission House offer a look back at domestic Caymanian life and cultural heritage.
Mind’s Eye: The Visionary World of Miss Lassie: Dating to 1881, this authentic Caymanian-style wattle and daub house was the home of Caymanian intuitive artist Gladwyn K. Bush (Miss Lassie) and is now a cultural heritage site. Visitors to the site can view professional reproductions and originals of her artwork, while learning about local traditions and the artist’s personal history and influences.
Cayman Brac Heritage House: This property at Cayman Brac’s North East Bay is a modern version of an old Caymanian home. Showcasing the islands’ cultural heritage, tours highlight typical features of a Caymanian home, as well as native flora and fauna.
Explore Art Galleries
Browse fine art at galleries across Grand Cayman.
The Cayman Islands National Gallery: The leading art institution in the Cayman Islands. The permanent collection includes work by celebrated Caymanian artists like Bendel Hydes, Gladwyn K. Bush and Yonier Powery. The gallery also offers a range of programmes and events for children and adults alike.
Kennedy Gallery: This shop-meets-gallery on Seven Mile Beach displays artwork by over 60 local and regional artists. Browse and buy artwork or have your own pieces printed and framed.
Sandon Feat Gallery: Sandon Feat showcases work by local artist, CE Whitney. Located in the heart of George Town, you’ll find pieces inspired by the sea and sun at this colourful and casual gallery.
White Dog Art Studio: This small art gallery and studio in Bodden Town is run by Ren Seffer, an Australian-born self-taught artist. You’ll mostly find paintings here, but Seffer is also accomplished at ceramics, woodwork and textiles.
Award Gallery: This boutique-style gallery is housed in the larger creative space of Art Nest. Award Gallery is operated by well-respected multi-disciplinary artist Avril Ward, and showcases her work alongside a selection of other local artists. Ward or another representative are usually on site to answer questions about the works on display.
Journey Through the Past at History Museums
If you prefer narrative history, you can explore museums on each of the three islands.
The Cayman Islands National Museum is located on Harbour Drive in central George Town. The historic building features a video room, natural and cultural history galleries, a children’s gallery and rotating exhibits.
Enjoy Live Theatre
Enjoy live performances at one or both of the leading theatres on the island, the Harquail Theatre or Prospect Playhouse.
Shows at Prospect Playhouse are largely mounted by the Cayman Drama Society, who produce a range of family-friendly comedies and musicals.
Most theatre productions at the Harquail Theatre are produced by the Cayman National Cultural Foundation; this is the best place to catch plays by Caymanian and Caribbean playwrights.
Take Part in Annual Cultural Festivals
Join the party at one (or all) of Cayman’s cultural festivals.
–Cayfest: Though there are many events to look forward to during this national arts festival, the main event is Red Sky at Night, a one-evening outdoor festival on the Harquail Theatre’s grounds. The night features an exciting lineup of musical and dance performances, visual arts displays, craft vendors and film screenings.
–Batabano: Carnival season means vibrant costumes, good food and lots of rum-fueled dancing. Jump up in your feathers and sequins to the sweet sounds of soca at Batabano, Cayman carnival.
–Pirates Week: Celebrate the islands’ storied past as a pirate hangout. Don your pirate gear and head to the George Town harbour for fireworks, a landing pageant and lots of other buccaneer-themed activities.
Take A Guided Creative Workshop
Embrace your creative side by taking a guided art workshop.
Art Nest: This multi-purpose creative space hosts a monthly calendar of popular events like Canvas & Cocktails, Wheel & Wine and Sewing Sundays. Gather your friends or coworkers and sign up for a group activity or tackle the creative challenge on your own.
3 Girls & A Kiln: The three girls host a variety of craft classes, including ceramic and woodwork classes. Learn silkscreen printing, create a wood sign for your home or glaze ceramics with your favourite colours and designs.
National Trust for the Cayman Islands: For traditional craft and cooking classes, sign up for one of the National Trust’s workshops. Learn how to weave baskets from the silver thatch palm, how to bake delicious custard-top cornbread, or how to identify traditional medicinal plants.
There’s plenty to do in Cayman if you’re interested in arts and culture. Start ticking these fun and educational cultural activities off your bucket list!
Sources: Visit Cayman Islands, Cayman Resident, White Dog Art Studio, Culture Trip, Art Nest, 3 Girls & A Kiln, Cayman Drama Society, Cayman National Cultural Foundation, National Trust for the Cayman Islands, and Art Nest.