Bright lights, exotic beats and a magnitude of culture

Cayfest 2013 is just around the corner. Cayfest is the Cayman Islands National Festival of the Arts, in existence since 1995.

The festival showcases Cayman’s finest local talent, with an eclectic mix of visual arts, music, theatre, film, fashion design, photography and cultural discussions. Cayfest emphasizes local arts and culture. Simultaneously the festival sizzles and stimulates inspiring local artists by including a diverse range of participants.

Some highlights of the festival include films from the ever-popular Travelling Caribbean Film Showcase (TCFS), the National Arts Awards, a Historical Treasure Hunt and the work of countless local artisans and artistic organizations.

“Cayfest is a wonderful opportunity for artists to be exhibitionists,” says Managing Director of the Cayman National Cultural Foundation, Marcia Muttoo, “and for the public to experience the ‘best of the best’ that Cayman has to offer from the full spectrum of the arts in Cayman.”

Cayfest – With a Twist

CNCF has completely reworked Cayfest into a concentrated three-day programme in February to include the National Arts & Culture Awards, a Dress for Culture Day and an evening of art, craft and entertainment festival, billed Red Sky at Night. Programmes and Marketing officer, Kaitlyn Elphinstone explains,

“We’re excited to launch Cayfest 2013 and celebrate Cayman’s diverse arts scene. We aspire to produce great programmes and engaging activities, all the while supporting local artists and arts organsations in carrying out their work.”

National Arts & Culture Awards Announced • 21 February

On 21 February CNCF will reveal the winners of the 19th Annual National Arts & Culture Awards. The National Arts and Culture Awards recognises those who attain a level of merit in their artistic discipline, contribute to the arts, culture and heritage of the Cayman Islands, whilst supporting the work of the Cayman National Cultural Foundation. 

Awards are also presented for Volunteer of the Year, Sponsor of the Year and the Chairman’s Award for outstanding long-term support of CNCF’s work. The awards ceremony is a CNCF initiative that began in 1990. Each year there is a call for nominations from cultural and heritage organizations, in collaboration with the general public.

Dress for Culture Day • 22 February

On 22 February CNCF will celebrate Cayman’s cultural tapestry by inviting the public to wear their national dress or colours to work or school. This is an island-wide event and donations raised will go directly to CNCF youth and cultural programming.

“We must realise that we are more alike than different in our various cultural expressions and by working together we can have a more significant impact on our development as human beings . Setting aside one day specifically to showcase our national dress, food or other memorabilia, is a good start to the weaving of our cultural tapestry,” says Lorna Bush, CNCF programmes and public education officer.

‘Red Sky at Night’ festival • 23 February
On Saturday, 23 February from 4pm to 12 midnight, delicately tucked in the midst of colour-saturated trees and shining lakes, the F.J. Harquail Cultural Centre will be transformed for the Red Sky at Night Festival. This will be an enchanting evening, rich in arts and culture.

Walking through the garden, you’ll be escorted by the sounds of the steel pan, fiddle and drums and lured by a mouthwatering array of local culinary delicacies. You will be treated to live performances from dancers, actors and storytellers, as well as creative work by local visual artists and crafts people, including art installations and sculptures. Celebrated films from around the Caribbean and inspiring live performances will be featured within the festival theatres.

The nightfall arts festival will highlight Cayman’s diverse arts scene, in addition to Caymanian culture and heritage. CNCF has united with over ten sister organizations including the National Museum, National Gallery, Catboat Club, National Archives, Visual Arts Society, Cayman Drama Society and the Astrological Society. Programmes Manager Rita Estevanovich tell us,

“We are always happy to connect creatively with our sister organisations on events such as Cayfest. Cayfest is Cayman’s national festival of the arts, so it is fitting to have as many of our sister organisations involved as much as possible; the more each of us contributes to the overall festival, the more enjoyable the festival experience is for our residents and visitors alike. Our partnership will give the community a chance to learn about the many important cultural, environmental, historical and artistic programmes we each administer, with the convenience of having representatives from each organisation in one location. It’s a win-win for everyone.”