“To stimulate, facilitate and preserve cultural and artistic expression generally, particularly the preservation and exploration of Caymanian performing, visual and literacy arts.”
What is CNCF?
Cayman National Cultural Foundation (CNCF) is a non-profit organization, managed by arts professionals and governed by a Board of Directors, which comprises individuals from the public and private sectors who bring a diverse range of business skills and experience, as well as a passionate interest in arts and culture, ensuring sound fiscal and cultural policy management. CNCF is funded, for the most part, by an annual government grant through the Ministry of Culture. Additional funding comes from corporate sponsorships, event ticket sales and rentals of the Harquail Theatre and Studio Theatre. CNCF also accepts charitable donations, which help to support its diverse programming.
Arts & Cultural Preservation
CNCF owns the Gladwyn K. Bush (Miss Lassie) Collection of art, which consists of more than 100 original paintings, and owns and manages the cultural heritage site that is ‘MIND’S EYE, The Visionary World of Gladwyn K. Bush’, also known as “Miss Lassie’s House”. CNCF presents the annual National Arts and Culture Awards, which recognise artistic and creative work that is of high-quality. These awards also recognise consistent and active, quality engagement in the preservation and/or celebration of Caymanian cultural heritage. CNCF maintains a reference library of books and electronic media from Cayman and elsewhere.
Cayfest, The Cayman Islands National Festival of the Arts, showcases local artists and artisans, including performances by the Cayman Islands Folk Singers, in the spring. Gimistory, The International Storytelling Festival of the Cayman Islands, features storytellers from Cayman, the Caribbean and beyond, and is the highly anticpated kick off to the holiday season in November and December.
The F.J. Harquail Cultural Centre, home to the 300 seat Harquail Theatre and the 80 seat Studio Theatre, is considered Cayman’s National Theatre. The Foundation presents most of its theatrical productions at these theatres, including Cayman’s longest running and most popular stage show, Rundown. This musical comedy revue, now written, directed and designed by Henry Muttoo (from an original concept by Dave Martins) has been staged annually since the 1990’s.
CNCF offers training and support to local artists in the performing, visual and literary arts. The development and support of artists is in the form of workshops, financial grants, competitions and symposia.
The Foundation provides programmes aimed at young people in the artistic disciplines of drama, dance, storytelling and music. Children as young as seven years old attend the CNCF Summer Arts Camps. Students aged twelve to seventeen can audition for Young at Arts Summer Intensive, an educational youth performing arts programme. There are also other opportunities for young people to explore creative outlets, such the Young Image Makers Short Film Competition, geared to young aspiring cinematographers and directors, aged ten to seventeen.
The Grants & Awards Committee – evaluates applications for financial grants. The Committee also assesses nominations for the National Arts & Culture Awards and names the recipients of the various awards.
Could you sum up what the Cultural Foundation does?
The work of the Cultural Foundation incorporates arts and cultural preservation, cultural festivals, producing and assisting others with shows at the National Theatre, artistic development, youth arts, and special projects. These are in fact the outputs that are funded in part by the Cayman Islands Government. CNCF’s activities cover the full scope of artistic disciplines: Theatre, Dance, Music, Visual, Literary and Traditional Arts.
Where is the Cultural Foundation’s Office? Where is the Harquail Theatre?
From downtown George Town, drive north of North Church Street, which becomes West Bay Road. Turn right onto Lawrence Thompson Boulevard, drive past the Marquee Centre, then go around the Camana Bay round-about back onto Lawrence Thompson Boulevard and make your first left onto Harquail Drive. Come through the gates into the F.J. Harquail Cultural Centre. The Harquail Theatre is the larger building and the Cultural Foundation’s Office is in the smaller building on the property, above the Studio Theatre.
What days and times is the Cultural Foundation Office Open?
The Cultural Foundation is normally open to the public Monday through Friday, from 8:30am to 5:00pm, except for public holidays.
Why is the Cultural Center named F.J. Harquail Cultural Centre?
Frank J. Harquail was a Canadian businessman and the husband of the late Helen Harquail, a benefactor for the arts who was a long time resident of the Cayman islands. Mrs. Harquail donated the land on which the Cultural Centre is located and funded the building of the Harquail Threatre as a gift to the people of Cayman. The Centre was named in memory of her late husband in appreciation of her philanthropic gift.
Did anyone else make a major contribution to the development of the Cultural Centre?
Many local residents supported the realisation of The Centre. In particular, the late Lawrence Thompson, a Caymanian businessman, donated land which enables access from Lawrence Thompson Boulevard to the site donated by Mrs. Harquail.
Is the Cultural Foundation the same thing as the National Trust, the National Gallery, the National Museum or the National Children’s Festival of the Arts?
No, these are all separate organizations, whose information about which can be found in our Resources pages.
Can we book a tour of the Harquail?
Tours of the Harquail Theatre and Studio Theatre are given to school groups, community groups and people interested in renting the theatre.
Who is eligible for a financial grant?
CNCF Grants for the Arts are available to creative artists and groups from all arts disciplines including craftspeople, art educators, cultural workers, arts organisations, youth groups and community groups.