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Seth Chwast's Inspiring Art

Seth Chwast's

Seth Chwast is an accomplished artist. He is also autistic. He cannot safely cross the street by himself. He rarely speaks. His art, however, speaks volumes. It is moving and powerful and instantly conveys his contagious sense of joy.

Diagnosed with autism as a very young child, Seth lived for years in a world of roller coasters, haunted houses, and classical music. A dramatic change came in 2003, when at age 20 he took an oil painting class at the Cleveland Museum of Art. Seth soon began describing his world in paint. It turned out that he has an innate ability to mix colors and create amazing works of art that reflect his vision of his world and the world around him.

In the years since he has exhibited internationally and his work resides in public and private collections. He has been twice documented on NBC's Today Show; recently completed two solo exhibitions in the Galapagos Islands, and paintings for the Charles Darwin 200th anniversary celebrations, among other projects.

Through art Seth conveys his contagious sense of joy, happiness, and beauty, and his story inspires.

Seth's mother Debra commented, "Seth's art and his journey serve as a reminder that through creativity we can overcome the most challenging odds."

The National Gallery has collaborated with RBS Coutts to host 'Icons of Cayman' an exhibition of new works by Seth Chwast inspired by a visit to Grand Cayman and the Sister Islands in 2008. Seth and his mother Debra will be on island on the 13th and 14th of November and are set to appear at several in public engagements to discuss Seth's art and life with autism. For more information on these events contact the National Gallery at 945-8111.

Extensive student educational programming has been developed around the exhibition in conjunction with the Department of Education Services (see additional information below); for more information or to book a tour, contact the National Gallery Outreach and Education Officer Kiran Denis via e-mail

Head of Student Services, Department of Education Services, Brent Holt explained, "The Ministry of Education and Department of Education Services are proud to support The National Gallery during the Seth Chwast 'Icons of Cayman' exhibition. He said, "Through coordinated activities both at the Gallery and within our schools throughout the time, we expect that this opportunity will lead to greater awareness and appreciation by teachers, students, and community members of the valuable contributions to Cayman society which come from our children and adults who may experience unique individual differences."

All works on display will be up for sale with a percentage being donated to the artists' charities and the outreach and education programmes of the National Gallery.

The Exhibition opening will be held this Saturday 25th October, 6 p.m. at the National Gallery, all are invited.

To RSVP e-mail Letitia at

This exhibition has been made possible by the proud sponsor of RBS Coutts.

Sidebar:Additional Information

  • Opening Date: 25th October 2008-February 2009. Location: The National Gallery of the Cayman Islands, Harbour Place.
  • Press preview: Friday 24th October, at noon.
  • Members opening: Saturday 25th October, 6-9 p.m.
  • Screening: Tuesdays 4th November and 13th January, 6 p.m. - a 30 minute documentary by filmmaker Marni Deutsch explores Seth's remarkable journey.


  • Thursday 13th November, 6 p.m. - Debra Chwast will join her son Seth to talk about his work and inspiration.
  • Friday 14th November, 7:30 a.m. - Debra and Seth will join other families in the Cayman Islands to share experiences of life with autism.
  • Wednesdays 26th November, 28th January, 25th February. National Gallery Curators will lead a lunchtime lecture discussing various aspects of the artist's work. Complimentary lunch served.

Educational Programmes:

The National Gallery of the Cayman Islands will be increasing the amount of Educational Resources and Workshops available to students and teachers across the islands for each new art exhibit starting with the upcoming Seth Chwast exhibit opening October 25th, 2008.

Teachers can sign up for informative and interactive school tours at the National Gallery, where the students will learn about the current exhibit. Educational worksheets and follow up class projects will be provided at the school tours. In addition, any teacher who registers for a school tour will receive an informative information teacher's package which contains valuable art and ICT lesson plans pertaining to the current exhibit. This teacher packs will provide hours of in class material including general information about the exhibit, lesson plans, rubrics, and answer sheets.

In addition family days are available for children and parents to attend on various Saturday's throughout the Seth Chwast exhibit (Saturdays 15th November, 10th January, 21st February).

The Gallery also has an extensive educational library which is available for teachers to use any time of the year.

There are many opportunities for learning with the National Gallery. We urge teachers to start using the National Gallery as a valuable tool for cross curricular learning.

Education Programme Schedule:

  • Saturdays 15th November, 10th January, 21st February, 10 a.m. - Family mornings at the National Gallery. Bring your family and enjoy of art activities related to the current exhibition.
  • Tuesday 10th February - Teacher's Workshop. Participants will have the opportunity to discuss and explore the role and function of creative and artistic experiences for young learners.
  • Ongoing: Learn about Seth and his work on a school tour. Interactive worksheets and class room follow-up activities provided. Book a space now! For information and bookings please e-mail

For additional information or to book any of these events please call the Gallery on 945-8111 or e-mail Natalie at