The newest mural in town: a behind-the-scenes look

Students stand in front of mural

When Gabrielle Scott and Keri Lawrence set out on a project to create a mural with a group of Cayman International School students, they couldn’t help but reflect on their own childhoods.

Now colleagues in Dart’s creative department, the cousins grew up in Cayman as naturally gifted artists, but recall a common refrain they’re hoping to change.

“Here, art is like, ‘You can't do that. That’s not a job,’” Lawrence said. “‘You can't just draw forever.’”

Fast-forward to today and the pair have parlayed their passion for fine art into related careers in design and animation. They want to let other children passionate about art know it is worth pursuing.

Scott and Lawrence got their chance in the fall of 2022 when they teamed up with the art club at Cayman International School to brainstorm a new mural for the Arts & Recreation Centre. They had already partnered on one project with the school, a mural in the walkway connecting Camana Bay to the National Gallery. This time, however, they changed things up. They presented the art club students with the theme — in this case, an above and below the water split view theme and a few ideas for inspiration. From there, the students chose their designs and got to work.

Women smile at cameraman
Keri Lawrence, left, and Gabrielle Scott, both visual designers with Dart's creative team, helped lead the project, which they say was an important one for the young artists involved. — Photo: Davion Cotterell

The process took several months from conception to execution. Once the students were done creating their designs, they sent them back to Scott and Lawrence, who were tasked with figuring out how to fit all the shapes together for a mural.

“We were drawing on an iPad and just figuring out what looks cool,” Lawrence said.

From there, they began sketching the final design out on the wall — much of it by freehand and eyeing up the measurements — before they began filling it out.

“I thought it was good,” Lawrence said. “It ended up working perfectly because it’s super colourful, super abstract. It's right across from the preschoolers, I think, and so they get to see that every day.”

Many of the students said the experience was beneficial from a creative perspective as well as a way to build life skills.

“The end result was worth it,” said eighth-grader David Madorran. “It was exciting to be working with many people from my grade. The prompt was intriguing and enjoyable because it made us come out of our comfort zone. The mixture of abstract and realism made a really impressive outcome.”

Eighth-grader Preston Mandish described it as a unique experience.

“Each person had an idea and all of those ideas were incorporated into the mural,” he said.

Want to see the mural for yourself? Head over to the Arts & Recreation Centre, where the mural adorns the entrance wall.

This article was originally featured in the March 2023 print edition of Camana Bay Times.

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