Cultural policy to protect local artists

| 26/04/2017 | 29 Comments
Cayman News Service

Local artist Randy Chollette at the National Gallery

(CNS): A new government policy document that has now been made public aims for the first time to formally protect local artists and give them the support they need to work. After much research and a lengthy public consultation period, the premier’s ministry has shaped a policy direction for heritage and culture, and artists are set to benefit. The policy calls for a national registry or database of artists working across all genres to provide access to education and training, marketing and promotional activities, and potential support for social services and healthcare.

The document aims to also safeguard intellectual property and copyright and protect and enhance the revenue accrued from services or goods produced by local artists. Hoping to encourage local people working in the arts to be innovative, imaginative, expressive and break new ground, the policy also calls for help to promote Caymanian artists.

“The protection of the rights of the artist to explore the imagination and ability to produce creative work requires a supportive and enabling environment, which has not been formalised in the Cayman Islands,” the new final draft of the policy document states.

While the goal to formally protect and support local artists is a first, the new policy document itself is also a first and has wide-reaching aims to protect the country’s cultural heritage. Officials said that many Caymanians often feel the rate and magnitude of development has detracted from the traditional Caymanian way of life. This is compounded by the fact that the islands have one of the highest rates of migration in the world, currently rated fourth when it comes to net migration from 222 countries.

“This has massive repercussions on the national identity, pride and unity of its people, and on its cultural content and expression,” the authors of the policy document stated, stressing the need for a national policy to preserve its 500 years of tangible and intangible cultural heritage as so little has been retained.

Cayman has “precious few… cultural assets” when compared to larger and older nations. Massive modern development over a short period and a lack of legislation for the protection of tangible heritage and the safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage is a cause for concern, officials stated.

With traditional industries and craft forms, such as boat and ship building, wattle and daub construction, weaving, sisal and thatch work, and seafaring, in danger of becoming obsolete, the policy aims to support existing crafters and future practitioners and organisations to preserve the disappearing knowledge and skill.

Premier Alden McLaughlin, who has responsibility for culture, said the policy emerged after “many discussions with a cross-section of individuals and  representatives  from  cultural  entities” and that it would fuel future decisions on resource allocation for educational and social programmes.

Speaking in the LA about it last month, McLaughlin said it was an expression of government’s belief that a set of coherent principles and aims to foster, nurture and support the cultural expression of the people of the Cayman Islands was needed to preserve the heritage and help grow the individual and collective knowledge of the arts and creative industries.

“Its achievements will contribute to the sustainable development of our Islands and the social well-being of our communities. This is very much also a social policy; the ramifications of its operationalisation will be felt in other areas across the country as social well-being interacts with crime reduction, health and wellness, and other benefits,” McLaughlin said.

“While it is important to remember our heritage and history, we must remember that our culture is a dynamic thing constantly evolving, reflecting the inclusion of new people and new influences. Cayman, over the past 50 years in particular, has seen massive amounts of people from all over the world come to live and work in our country,” he added.

With the increase in population and the presence of 130 nationalities, McLaughlin said it was  easy to see the fluidity of culture as it paves the way for the future.

“We must recognise the vibrancy of the Caymanian culture, realise how important it is to us as a people, and how significant it has always been to those who come here and truly want to understand what life is like in the Cayman Islands,” the premier said, adding that the policy was “long overdue”.

Work began on shaping the new policy in late 2015, and it outlines the vision, goals, and objectives of government.

See policy document in the CNS Library

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Category: Art & Entertainment, Local News, Policy, Politics

Comments (29)

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  1. batista says:

    I support this to an extent. Im an artist (Music producer) myself however I do have a regular job also, I make money from selling my compositions for commercial usage and I also make an income from youtube views (im a youtube partner) I do believe that before asking for hand outs as an artist in which ever industry you have to study your surroundings and look at your options and most of all learn to hustle. There are ways for you to make money as an artist however you have to be willing to work twice as hard to get yourself noticed. Too many people now days want to be successful instantly, if that is the case for you then your not a real artist but just a trend follower who want to jump on the band wagon…it tuck me over 10 years before I started making decent money from music, the first 7 where a real learning experience.

  2. Anonymous says:

    CIG subsidizing another lost cause like Cayman Airways, Turtle Farm. Competition is the driving force that encourages development of one’s craft as an artist, not free handouts. As a freelancer I’d feel more than embarrassed and insulted to receive a subsidy for propping up my business, but then this is Cayman.

  3. East End Resident says:

    This is great! Wonderful to see local arts and crafts being supported. It’s a very interesting policy document about what they intend to do, but nothing about how and when it will be enacted.
    How does one go about registering formally as an artist under this policy please?

  4. caymanEYE says:

    Bless up Randy…you a real one!!!!

  5. Anonymous says:

    You,cannot protect that which does not exist. Cayman culture. Please!

  6. Anonymous says:

    More government handouts. Maybe some wealthy Patron should support the arts. Not regular folks tax dollars.

  7. Anonymous says:

    The market place is where value is decided, not in the political arena. Just another entitlement to welfare to get votes. The good and valuable things of the Islands history, art, and culture will carry forward on its own merit. That which has no value in the present will become a thing maybe of interest but not of value.

  8. Anonymous says:

    What an idiotic scheme. Why should the government pay for what an artist is unable to sell?

    • Veritas says:

      Is it any worse than requiring local radio stations to air the “music” of some of our local talent no matter how awful it is.

  9. Anonymous says:

    But the PPM did nothing. Some people don’t want to accept that the PPM has been the best government these islands has seen in 30 years.

    I have studied their performance and can’t find one reason not to one for them.

    My cuc Bill is down I pay less for my small business license I have two Caymanians employed and my wife who is a civil servant got her first raise in pay in 7 years.

  10. Unison says:

    CNS, with all due respect, I think you shouldn’t post anything the PPM government has done – UNTIL AFTER THE ELECTION …

    Posting their accomplishments only helps them get re-elected :))) lol

  11. Anonymous says:

    Just because you love doing something and think you are good at it does not mean the Government (ie the rest of the population) should have to support you because you can’t earn a living doing what inspires you! Get a paying job that you may not enjoy and support yourself like the rest of us have to and ply your trade on the side like “starving artists” do in the rest of the world. Sick of this island pandering to people who won’t help themselves and expect everything to be handed to them.

    • Anonymous says:

      As someone who has just recently begun to get interested in Arts and attempting to produce some, I don’t expect the Government to help me financially, however, I am grateful that there is a way to “protect” my art from being “copied” and used by others. Whilst social media and internet is a great way to show and sell Art, unfortunately it lends itself to serious copy rights infringements.

      • Anonymous says:

        I have my doubts about the enforcement of any laws concerning intellectual property on the Island. Many laws but Enforcement is not a large part of the law here.

    • Anonymous says:

      I hope you feel that same about athletes……….cause I have not seen many “professional” athletes from Cayman being successful however it seems that they get serious financial support from Government.

    • Mokes-for-all says:

      Please give the government some credit. They are not going to promote and protect just any old layperson who calls themself an artist. For some artists it’s an interest; for others it’s a passion. Yes, every individual may like what they like, and may dislike a piece which is considered to be “good” art, but there are people who are qualified to judge what is actually good art worth preserving and promoting, and what is bad art. That’s not to say the purveyors of “bad” art should be discouraged by this, but rather they should be encouraged to work hard on their art in the hope of becoming good artists.

      • Anonymous says:

        Good or not I shouldn’t have to subsidise their bills because they can’t afford to pay them due to not having a consistent source of income or budgetary prowess. You do art, in whatever form, outside of your paid work time unless you can afford to have it as a primary source of income without relying on others to support you in any way other than by purchasing your wares.

  12. Anonymous says:

    If its crap, its crap. No policy will change that simple fact.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Van Gogh never sold a painting in his lifetime. These artists nowadays are selling them and getting government support. What a way the world has changed! Mind you, I haven’t seen any of these painters come up with anything remotely as good as Van Gogh and I wish we could quietly do away with the embarrassing stuff from the old lady in south sound who has been puffed up as a great artist by foreigners looking to cement their residency and place in the glitterati here.

    • Mokes-for-all says:

      Actually, Van Gogh sold one painting – to his brother – who was also his agent.

    • REB says:

      I don’t care for this either, but did you really see all the paintings that have been painted in Cayman? Or are you just discriminating because it’s your nature?

      • REB says:

        Why do I feel so jewish as a Caymanian in Cayman? I can so connect with how the jews felt in Germany in 1939! anything that has to do with our way of life is attacked without mercy! WOW!

        • Anonymous says:

          Stop being so melodramatic. You should be ashamed of comparing yourself to the Jews in Germany under the Third Reich. No one is going to burn your church, steal your home and your possessions and cram you into a cattle truck on a train heading for a concentration camp and eventual gassing and cremation.

          • REB says:

            Really! The hate that is here is in your face.

            • Anonymous says:

              Oh stop it! You are one of these that keep comparing every little set back, even in a backwater like Cayman, to the Holocaust. Next you will be comparing some Caymanian nincompoop politician to Hitler. And what does ” the hate that is here is in your face mean” for heavens sake!!!? Something out of Kung Fu, Grasshopper?

      • Anonymous says:

        I view all exhibitions and regularly go around the stores selling paintings. There are some good artists, no denying it, but nothing that screams out “genius”. And the south sound religious visionary stuff is terrible and those artists, including foreigners, who have decided that Bendel Hydes is their Master are painting trite abstract mediocrity.

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