Miss Lassie’s house becomes world monument

| 13/10/2011

(CNS): Cayman’s site of historical interest, Miss Lassie’s house on South Sound, has been officially recognised by the New York-based World Monument Fund and placed on its prestigious Watch List 2012, but Cayman National Cultural Foundation Artistic Director Henry Muttoo says there should be more recognition for the project at a local level as well. Mark Scotland, the minister for culture, announced Wednesday, that the government would be pledging $500,000 to assist in the site’s restoration, to be paid over a period of four years.  Miss Lassie, otherwise known as Gladwyn K Bush died in 2003 and was a prolific ‘intuitive’ painter whose visions from God inspired her to paint not only on canvas but on the walls, doors and floors of her South Sound home, now known as Mind’s Eye.

To preserve her legacy, which is believed to be an important part of Cayman’s heritage, the CNCF and in particular Muttoo has fought to have the property and its surroundings preserved.

Muttoo applied to the WMF, which calls international attention to threatened cultural-heritage sites around the world, for recognition of Miss Lassie’s house, and said the application process was tough with lots of competition. The WMF has 67 sites in 41 countries.

At a press conference announcing the recognition Muttoo said that it was a pity that the islands had to wait for recognition of the importance of the site by an overseas body before local recognition was properly given. “It’s a shame an organisation in New York City can make the house into something we couldn’t do ourselves,” he said.

Calling on government to give greater powers to entities such as the National Trust to allow for better recognition of important cultural and historical sites, Muttoo said the law needed to be changed to give the Trust and others the chance to declare the country’s own national monuments.

Although the WMF’s recognition will not bring cash directly to the project, Muttoo said that the project will benefit from the leverage that such recognition can bring. As a start, he said the CNCF would be requesting funding from the WMF to bring expertise to the site in the field of wattle and daub, in order to preserve the house’s fragile state.

Muttoo addedthat the $500,000 pledged by the government should assist the CNCF with its three year restoration and preservation scheme, which includes plans to open up the site to the public, a shop and full time staff. “But it depends on how quickly the funds are received,” he noted, saying some aspects of the project were in urgent need of a cash injection. “We’d like to fast track these funds.”

The cultural director also called on other artistic and cultural organisations to work with the CNCF on this project and seize the opportunity to all work together with the same aim for the betterment of the island.  “I don’t believe in talk; I believe in action,” he stated.


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  1. tygr says:

    People need to keep in mind and hearts, that once the art and or artist is gone it will never come back except bad copies. I’m an artist too. And I lost the use of my hands, but not my mind’s eye for art itself. I still can see art in everything around me.

  2. cooya says:

    Yep…I remember the broken glass on the fence also!! She didn't care for anyone to be near her domain!!

    • Just Me says:

      I guess Miss Lassie knew the worth of what she had there and was protecting it. Folks, we have a national cultural heritage treasure here – let's appreciate it for what it is. Let's stop tearing down everything that is good and positive in our country.

      Thanks to the Government for purchasing the property; thanks to CNCF for carefully and lovingly conserving and restoring as appropriate.

      Generations to come will benefit and appreciate this even, if the myopic vision of the current inhibitants of this rock fail to recognise what is now obvious to the rest of the world.

      A prophet is generally not recognized in their own land.

      RIP Miss Lassie. Thank you for the legacy.

  3. Anonymous says:

    What a waste of money.  People in this country are starving and we are spending $500,000 on an old broken down house from the Government purse?  This could feed a hundred hungry people for over a year – 3 meals a day!

    This needs to come from private citizen donations…people who care about this kind of stuff.  The general population doesn't so it certainly shouldn't come from our Government's central coffers.


    • Anonymous says:

      I agree that it is a waste of money in view of the other problems the country is currently facing, but from what I see around me, starvation is not one of those problem.  Far from it.

    • Just Me says:

      "The general population doesn't"……

      ………and what a pity that is! Kudos to our Government for recognizing the important of arts and culture in this society.

  4. Anonymous says:

    cayman kind…….

  5. Great news says:

    Cruise passengers dont go on cruises so they can look at pretty berthing facilities. It's things like Miss Lassie's house that they are coming to see.

    • anonymous says:

      its the Duty Free shopping!

    • Anonymous says:

      I drive by there all the time and never see tourists…. I remember when she was alive and had broken glass bottles stuck in the fence to keep people out!….doubt she was looking for visitors then either.

  6. F.A. Cetious says:

    What a waste of what would be a great place to but a cruise berthing facility.

    • Caymanian says:

      What made Ms. Lassie so renown, was what people said about her.

      What they experienced from being in close contact with her.

      There was something very uplifting, strange, and special about Ms. Lassie.

      I had an astro-travel experience, seeing myself fly to her home, greeted by a gray longhaired old lady, dressed in white by Ms. Lassie's doorstep. I don't remember the words, but the lady was prophesying, predicting, and praising God. I felt so uplifted in her presence. This was when I was about 10 – 11 years old. At that time, I never met her.

      All I know, Ms. Lassie's place was no ordinary spot. Her home site is the last bit of culture we have left in George Town, Grand Cayman.

      I say, it would be a shame and a sin to disregard the old landmark and replace the home site for another mere site like a berthing facility.

      People need to donate and support the Cultural Foundation to prevent this from happening. The beach as well as the land adjacent to hers could be use for a park.

      Just my observation,

      • Anonymous says:


      • Anonymous says:

        I thought I had an astro-travel experience once, but I was really just riding in an airplane. I was off my meds too. Next thing, I was in a hospital and they were sticking a needle in me, and soon the astro-travel ended. Now I’m fine. Except for the hallucinations. And the voices. Someone please make them stop touching me…

      • Judean People's Front says:

        It may be worth putting the door back on the microwave before using it again.