Somewhere, far from a world in turmoil, on a small Caribbean island, Grand Cayman, a new performing arts festival has arisen relatively recently – the Cayman Arts Festival (CAF). Only 17 years since its inception, Cayman Arts Festival has fast become one of the largest performing arts event of its type in the Caribbean.
The Cayman Arts Festival (CAF) concept was born when the internationally acclaimed Jennifer Micallef-Glen Inanga piano duo was invited to perform in Grand Cayman. Following their performance in 2001, the duo decided that the most appropriate response to the overwhelming feedback they received was to create a unique festival primarily for the benefit of the Cayman Islands community. The Festival is committed to bringing world class offerings ranging from classical music, to opera and jazz while ensuring music education was among its core purposes. All visiting artists conduct workshops, master classes and/or concert demonstrations for the educational benefit of Cayman’s youth.
Over the years, CAF has been able to present to its devoted audience a significant number of great performers such as pianists Isata Kanneh – Mason, Wayne Marshall, John McLaughlin Williams, and Matei Varga, cellists Sheku Kanneh – Mason and Andrei Ionita, the Juilliard Jazz Ensemble, Cambridge Ensemble, Canadian Brass, saxophonist Amy Dickson and many, many more.
The combination between piano recitals and fundraising, along with the growing interest in the piano from students and patrons alike, has led to more focused support. In 2018, CAF received sponsorship that enabled the purchase of a brand-new concert piano and also commenced an island-wide piano program called “Piano in the classroom”, aimed at all schools and kindergartens.
Today, still following the vision of the founders, and with a lot of hard work and support from sponsors and dedicated volunteers, CAF has grown from a biennial event to an annual 10 day festival, with piano camps and other events during the year, an afterschool program, and many different projects serving more than 200 gifted and talented students.
CAF’s continuity and consistency for the past 17 years has led it to become a unique entity in the Caribbean region, as it continues to go from strength to strength. It is our hope that CAF’s activities will lead it to be the catalyst of a cultural transformation in the Cayman Islands.