What is the Central Bank of The Bahamas?

After the Bahamas gained independence in 1973, a central bank was established in April 1974 to advance the pace of economic development in the country. Prior to 1974, there was the Bahamas Monetary Board (BMA) which acted as a preliminary to a central bank. However, an absent legal authority to engage in active monetary policy was a serious shortcoming of the BMA. This paved the way for the establishment of the Central Bank of The Bahamas. Moreover, the Central Bank of The Bahamas was seen as crucial for accelerating the pace of the country’s economic development in the post-independence era.

How did the Art Collection begin? 

Apart from its financial responsibilities, Central Bank of The Bahamas also has a longstanding commitment to art and culture. In 1985, Antonius Roberts, the Bank’s first curator, organized an art exhibition and competition in response to the emerging local arts community. The Bank’s art collection began with this competition, prompting a need for storage and exhibition space. In 1991, a new addition to the main building was constructed creating the Central Bank Art Gallery.

How does the Art Gallery support Visual Arts?

This centrally located art gallery invites both locals and tourists to explore the gallery and its diverse collection. The space forges new creative dialogue, bringing attention to local art, as well as creating new opportunities for artists. Throughout the year, the gallery hosts a variety of exhibitions featuring professional artists and artwork in an array of genres. All of the exhibitions, receptions, and activities are free and open to the public.

In addition, the annual Open Call exhibition (open to all artists who are 18 years old or older) and the High School Competition foster the development of young emerging talent. Funding for the arts is also offered s through workshops, scholarships, grants, and art supplies. The bank participates in more than just the gallery show, supporting murals in the “Over-the-Hill” areas, now considered the inner city, in addition to collaborating with Project I.C.E.

Who are some of the featured artists?The Central Bank’s collection of over 500 pieces includes artworks by famous Bahamian artists such as Jackson Burnside, Amos Ferguson, Stan Burnside, Brent Malone, and Max Taylor. The collection plays an important role in Bahamian cultural history and is an integral contribution to the cultural context that shapes the gallery. Through ongoing loans, as well as actively sharing the collection with employees and the public, Central Bank celebrates the evolving threads and narratives that explore and redefine Bahamian art. The current Curator of the Central Bank Art Gallery is Ulrich Voges.

Written by Nameiko Miller