March 22, 2023

heritage Arts programme benefits Cayman Islands community

Girl Guides 2Not only does the Heritage Arts programme play a central role in helping year six primary school students learn to appreciate Caymanian art and heritage, it has now begun extending its reach, moving further into the general community, thereby ensuring that even more people get to understand all the important elements that go into making up Cayman’s heritage.

Chris Christian, Director of Cayman Traditional Arts, the entity which created and runs the Heritage Arts programme embedded in the year six curriculum, says that it has always been the programme’s mission to widen its exposure.

“We began offering the programme to school children and, when the schools and Government realised the importance of what we were trying to achieve, it quickly became enshrined into the year six curriculum of all government schools on Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac (the latter is coordinated by Ms Simone Scott). Since then we have widened the programme’s scope further to include students at John Gray High School, taught by Ms Donna Bryan, members of the Sunrise Adult Learning Centre and students at The Lighthouse School,” Mr Christian explained. “We have a brilliant team of instructors at Cayman Traditional Arts and I want to thank them for all their help in making the programme such a success.”

“Now we are taking the programme one step further, by including students at private schools such as Cayman International School, who enjoyed many aspects of our programme at their International Day event, along with showcasing art produced by students at an incredibly exciting art exhibition at The Ritz-Carlton, which gave tremendous exposure to the creativity of our students. Not only that, we are taking the programme to young people outside the school environment, to groups such as the Girl Guides Association,” he added.

Mona Meade’s son Blake (11) was a student at Prospect Primary School when he took the Heritage Arts programme classes.

“Almost every week, after having gone through the lesson on heritage arts, Blake came home excited to tell me what had taken place,” Mrs Meade confirms. “I recall earlier this year he was most impressed with the storytelling aspect; in particular the story of the Rolling Calf. He also really enjoyed learning how to make swanky and fried fritters. He was anticipating the fritters mostly as he likes to cook and he and his classmates viewed it as a treat.”

Mrs Meade says that Blake seemed to be really satisfied with the instructors and what he learned over the course of the year.

“As a parent I am very pleased that the schools have taken on the Traditional Arts courses, however I do believe the teachings should be extended to all year groups across all schools including high school and private schools. Every child should have the opportunity at all stages of education to learn the history and culture of the place in which they live,” she states. “As someone who values and respects my heritage, it pleased me to see my son so interested and excited about learning our traditions and about where he comes from. I thank Chris for passing on his passion for the arts and for fine tuning it in such a way that not only teaches our children about Caymanian traditions but truly engages the students.”

The Heritage Arts programme is funded by three highly supportive government ministries, each of which recognise the importance of such a programme imparting such important information to Cayman’s youth and also to the wider community, which might otherwise be lost forever. Mr Christian thanks the Ministry of District Admin, Tourism and Transport, the Ministry of Education, Employment and Gender Affairs and the Ministry of Health and Culture for their continued support in this venture.

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