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Not your traditional Cayman Islands school fundraiser

IMG_4157 IMG_4210Montessori By The Sea 3rd Annual Art Gala celebrates the school’s spirit of creativity, innovation and imagination

It’s no surprise that parents who choose Montessori By The Sea for its passion for educating the whole child take a different approach to fundraising. The MBTS Parent’s Guild 3rd annual Art Gala not only honoured the importance of the arts in the school curriculum but also promotes the Cayman community’s thriving visual arts scene.

On Friday 22 May, parents, teachers, caregivers and friends gathered at Pedro St. James, along with members of Cayman’s creative community for a “CHAIR-ity” auction event. The stars of the evening: up-cycled chairs which were designed, painted and decorated in the style of a famous artist. Each masterpiece was created by a MBTS class led by a Montessori parent or guest artist. The event, which was produced in partnership with the Visual Arts Society, featured music by Toca Nova and a display of art work that was auctioned on the night from Dawn McTaggart, Gordon Solomon, Guy Harvey and Janice Brown. Along with raising funds for the enrichment of the education of the children at MBTS, these artists have chosen to donate a portion of their auctioned pieces to the following organisations: Cayman Hospice Care, NCVO, Ocean Foundation, ARK and National Trust of Cayman.

The chair project in class was a tremendous success.

“We chose to use old chairs as the theme of our Art Gala project because they are imbued with history and character,” said MBTS parent artist and Art Gala organiser Chloe Goodfellow. “By using the works of a famous artist as a theme and choosing a chair which fitted the style of artwork, the students and their artistic mentors created one of a kind works of art while energizing the Montessori philosophy of encouraging students to be creative, independent thinkers while embracing collaboration with the community at school and beyond.”

IMG_4084• MBTS, which offers Toddler through Middle Years Programs, has a creative parent body, boasting artists and artisans from every field. Ms. Goodfellow and the Casa 2 class were inspired by Mark Rothko. Karoly Szucs of Artisan Metal Works chose metal artist Albert Paley to work with the Casa 1 class to create a sculptural piece in the style of this artists’ work. On the heels of her show at the National Gallery, artist Heidi Bassett Blair introduced the Lower Elementary Upstairs class to Keith Herring, while Martinne Mills explored the ideas of the beloved Walt Disney with the Lower Elementary Downstairs class. Interior designer Marie-Joelle Larocque of Crimson Teal worked with the Upper Elementary class on a Salvador Dali influenced chair. The Middle Years class, led by Mary Yates, drew on the work of Peter Max. The Toddler class may had the most fun of all, discovering their inner Jackson Pollack with guest artist Nathalie Marineau.

Most of the chairs for the “CHAIR-ity” Auction were donated by Jennifer Newton and Lisa Motta, owners of The Nook who themselves are an artist and photographer respectively.

“We are so grateful to all the artists who have contributed to our Art Gala,” said Ms. Goodfellow. “Their appreciation of the importance MBTS places on the arts has inspired extraordinary generosity which will in turn help nurture a new generation of artists in our community.”

For more information on Montessori By The Sea, please visit
IMAGES: mbts website


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