An Outdoor Art Gallery

In the penultimate article about the new National Gallery of the Cayman Islands, we explore the Deutsche Bank Sculpture Garden 

The Deutsche Bank Sculpture Garden is the National Gallery’s ‘outdoor art gallery’, the first in the Cayman Islands, and it will provide a distinctive setting for permanent sculptural displays along with rotating works by local artists.  

“The Deutsche Bank Sculpture Garden is essentially a gallery inside a park,” said Mona Watler, the National Gallery’s communications manager.

“Welcoming residents and tourists alike, it will be a valuable economic and educational asset for the NGCI and cultural asset for the community. Here, families can picnic on the flat grassy area or visit the developing outdoor permanent collection, and learn about contemporary sculpture through a variety of educational programmes.” 

The Deutsche Bank Sculpture Garden runs through the centre of the lower terrace at the back of the Education Centre and standing at building level, visitors can enjoy an overview of the entire garden.

This design provides an open flexible stage surrounded by several smaller individual gardens and the multi-purpose area. It has, within its forms and arrangement, the ability to grow and convert itself to the demands of the community. 

The Gallery was fortunate to have secured the volunteer design expertise of Margaret Barwick in the early land planning stages and Alexander ‘Sandy’ Urquhart, who has subsequently designed the Deutsche Bank Sculpture Garden and surrounding garden areas.

Landscaping at present is primarily grass, crushed stone, gravel, shade trees, and low water-tolerant plantings, all in early stages of growth. As Urquhart is long-time advocate for the use native plants in design, it is not surprising that the gardens use predominantly native, indigenous and endemic flora, allowing the building to rise up from the ground surrounded in its native habitat. 

The Gallery’s sculpture collection is in its infancy, but it has already secured donations by important local artists Karoly Szucs and John Bird, along with several additional works on loan from Al Ebanks, Horacio Esteban and Scott Swing. Complementing these works will be a series of temporary outdoor exhibitions, art festivals and educational programming starting in summer 2012. 

A global supporter of the arts, Deutsche Bank has built up its own collection of more than 55,000 works of art, one of the biggest corporate art collections in the world.  

“It is absolutely fantastic that this major initiative, which has been in the pipeline for some time, is now coming to fruition,” said Janet Hislop, chief country officer for Deutsche Bank Cayman Islands.

“Deutsche Bank believes passionately in art as a source of inspiration and enlightenment, and I am sure that the Sculpture Garden will give locals and visitors alike the opportunity to engage with sculptural work by Caymanian artists.

“I’m also delighted to be able to strengthen our partnership with the National Gallery of the Cayman Islands and build on the success of the internship and the scholarship schemes already in place. I am looking forward to seeing how our contribution will help as this unique space develops and makes visiting the new National Gallery a really rich experience.” 

With the help of many individual and corporate donors like Deutsche Bank Cayman Islands, the new National Gallery and Education Centre will open its doors to the public in January 2012.  

An Outdoor Art Gallery

Pictured inside the soon–to–be Deutsche Bank Sculpture Garden are, from left, NGCI Communications Manager Mona Watler; Fred Williams of F&M Landscaping; sculptors Al Ebanks and Karoly Szucs; and Janet Hislop, chief country officer Deutsche Bank (Cayman) Limited.