What is CNCF?
“To stimulate, facilitate and preserve cultural and artistic expression generally, particularly the preservation and exploration of Caymanian performing, visual and literary arts.”
Cayman National Cultural Foundation (CNCF) is a non-profit organisation created by the Cayman National Cultural Foundation Law, 1984. It is governed by a Board of Directors, which comprises individuals from the public and private sector 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 sponsorship, ticket sales to events and rentals of the Harquail Theatre and Studio Theatre. CNCF also accepts charitable donations, which help to support its diverse programming.
The management structure is headed by an Artistic Director, Henry Muttoo and a Managing Director, Marcia Muttoo, who are supported by a Programmes Manager, two Programmes Officers, a part-time Technical Assistant, a part-time Volunteer Co-ordinator and a Caretaker of the Cultural Centre. Further support comes from volunteers.
CNCF owns the Gladwyn K. Bush (Miss Lassie) Collection of art, which consists of 125 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 work that is of high-quality creativity. These awards also recognise consistent and active, quality engagement in the preservation and/or celebration of Caymanian cultural heritage. CNCF also 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 heritage, including performances by the Cayman Islands Folk Singers, during the month of April. Each year, in late November to early December, Gimistory, The International Storytelling Festival of the Cayman Islands, features storytellers from Cayman, the Caribbean and beyond.
The F. J. Harquail Cultural Centre, namely the 300 seat Harquail Theatre, along with the 52 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 1990.
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 involving the artistic disciplines of drama, dance, storytelling and music. Children as young as seven years old attend the CNCF Summer Arts Camp. Students aged twelve to seventeen can audition at the beginning of each term to become members of Young at Arts, an educational youth performing arts programme of CNCF, which includes after-school instruction. 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.
These include such activities as organising the Cayman delegation attending the regional arts festival, Carifesta, and the Aberdeen International Youth Festival in Scotland, among others.
The Grants & Awards Committee – evaluates and approves applications for financial grants and determines the amount of money granted. The Committee also evaluates nominations for the National Arts & Culture Awards and names the recipients of the various awards. The Committee members are CNCF Board Members Morgan DaCosta (Committee Chairman) and Lorna Reid, and visual artist Horacio Esteban. Kaitlyn Elphinstone serves as Committee Secretary.
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 on North Church Street, which becomes West Bay Road. Turn right onto Lawrence Thompson Boulevard, drive past the Marquee Centre, then turn right on 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 Centre named F. J. Harquail Cultural Centre?
F. J. Harquail was a Canadian businessman and the husband of Helen Harquail. Mrs. Harquail, who resides in the Cayman Islands, donated the land on which the Cultural Centre is located and funded the building of the Harquail Theatre 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 any Caymanians contribute to the building of the Cultural Centre?
The late Lawrence Thompson, a Caymanian businessman, donated land which enables access from Lawrence Thompson Boulevard to the site donated by Mrs. Harquail.
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. Book a tour today.
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 organisations, whose information about which can be found in our Resources page.
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, arts educators, cultural workers, arts organizations, youth groups and community groups. Please click here to go to the Grants for the Arts page.
F.J. Harquail Cultural Centre 17 Harquail Drive
P.O. Box 30201 Grand Cayman KY1-1201 Cayman Islands
Phone: 345 949 5477 Fax 345 949 4519