Arts scholarship shapes career path

Students in the Cayman Islands who are considering pursuing a career in the visual arts can apply for a scholarship being offered by Deutsche Bank (Cayman) Limited and the National Gallery of the Cayman Islands. Jessica Willis is one recipient who is now qualified to begin her career in graphic design.

Worth up to US$20,000 per year for a programme of study of up to four years, the Deutsche Bank National Gallery of the Cayman Islands Visual Arts Scholarship will be awarded to assist a student with the funding of their undergraduate visual arts education overseas. The recipient of the scholarship will also aim to pursue a career in the arts in the Cayman Islands after graduation.

The scholarship will be awarded to either a Caymanian student or student resident in the Cayman Islands who has been accepted at a college or university approved by the Education Council of the Cayman Islands Government. Applicants must be between 17 and 25 years of age at the application deadline of 31st May, for either a September 2011 or January 2012 semester start.

The recipient of the first scholarship, Jessica Willis, recently graduated from a four-year degree in graphic design at the prestigious Savannah College of Arts and Design in the USA.

Janet Hislop, chief country officer of Deutsche Bank (Cayman) Limited, said:

“Globally, Deutsche Bank is a keen supporter of the arts. We believe that fostering creativity through art can help inspire people, which is why we support young aspiring artists. Even in our offices, we always try to cultivate an environment that encourages creativity, and we are particularly interested in inspiring creativity and artistic appreciation at an early age, encouraging young people to broaden their horizons.

“Deutsche Bank’s partnership with the National Gallery goes from strength to strength and I am delighted that the Visual Arts Scholarship continues to support the development of the local arts. Through supporting graduates in this way, the visual arts can continue to thrive and evolve in the islands. The bank is committed to the visual arts in Cayman and to ensuring that young local contemporary artists have the opportunity to develop their talents and reach their potential. The response to the scholarship since we launched it in 2007 has always been fantastic and I am looking forward to receiving an even larger number of applications this year.”

The National Gallery is primarily an educational non-profit organisation. 

Through its varied programme of workshops, lectures, local and international exhibitions and annual events, the Gallery is firmly focused on the development and success of artists in the Cayman Islands. 

The Journal speaks to Jessica about her scholarship and the opportunities it has afforded her now in the work place.

Please tell me something 
about your college course – where did you study, what 
did you study, etc. 

I studied graphic design at the Savannah College of Arts and Design in Savannah, GA.

What did you enjoy most 

I was given the opportunity to work with the latest software. I also enjoyed conversing with professors about my progress, as they were very helpful both on a one-to-one level and during in-class critiques. My friendships and relationships that I developed over the years that I was there were also key for me to enjoying my college career. 

The international student population at the school has grown substantially since I was accepted and every so often I would see someone from the Cayman Islands there. The events that the school put on, especially those that would encourage different cultures to come together helped all of us to come together and be sort of a little family.

The school itself helps people who would like to stay in America to find work. There is an amazing career services and development department. They hold a career fair every year, with employers like American Greetings, Target, Hallmark and NBC looking for everything from interns to full-time employees.

How important was the scholarship to enable you to undertake this study?

The scholarships that I received were very important in enabling me to undertake this study. Without them, I would not have been able to attend one of the top art and design universities in the United States. I will be forever grateful to the Cayman Islands Government as well as the Deustche Bank and National Gallery for the financial help that they provided.

What is your chosen 
career path?

First and foremost I am and will always be a graphic designer. However there is a part of me that wants to help people using art. I have been doing some research into art therapy counseling. I have decided that when I decide to go back to school, it will be to pursue my Master of Science degree in Art Therapy and Counseling.

Has the college course enabled you to undertake your career or do you need further study?

My studies at the Savannah College of Art and Design have helped me to undertake a professional career in graphic design. As for my career in counseling, I need to go back to school for it.

Would you encourage others 
to take up the course?

I certainly would encourage others to take up studies at SCAD. 

It is a great, state-of-the-art school, with amazing professors, amazing opportunities offered and some of the friendliest people I have ever come across in my life.

As for graphic design, I would tell people to take it up if it is their passion. SCAD is a lot of hard work but one of the key things that you see in all of the student work is that their chosen major is their passion; they live, eat and breathe whatever they are studying, be it painting, photography, film, or graphic design. I have seen students who figure they can fly through the course because they are familiar with the software that we use and it is those students who do not make it. 

So, while I certainly encourage others to take up the course, make sure that it is what you want to do professionally at some point in your life or else it will be all for naught.

Anything else you may 
wish to add.

I wish to acknowledge my appreciation and gratitude to God because without Him none of this would have been possible in my life. Thanks to those who prayed for me while I was studying and those who always called to check up on me. 

Thanks to the National Gallery of the Cayman Islands and the Deutsche Bank for the financial assistance that they provided. Also thanks to the Cayman Islands Government. 


Application forms and full details for the scholarship can be obtained from the Education Council on tel. 945-3114 or at, or the National Gallery on 
tel. 945-8111 or e-mail 
[email protected]  


Deutsche Bank/National Gallery Visual Arts Scholarship recipient and recent graduate Jessica Willis with, from left, Janet Hislop, chief country officer, Deutsche Bank (Cayman) Limited; David Dryer, director, Deutsche Bank (Cayman) Limited; and Natalie Urquhart, director, National Gallery of the Cayman Islands.