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Cuba: Meeting the Artists

At the Taller Gráfico workshop, Havana. Photograph by Phyllis Shmalo

Highlights of our memorable trip to Cuba were our many encounters with members of the country's visual-arts community. We toured the collections of Havana's National Museum of Contemporary Cuban Ceramics and National Museum of Fine Arts with their respective directors, and continued our conversations with these well-informed and gracious scholars over dinner. We spent a morning in students' workshops of the Instituto Superior de Arte (ISA), Cuba's leading art school; enjoyed a cocktail reception and a buffet dinner with a group of talented young artist-fellows at the Ludwig Foundation for the Arts; and visited painters, sculptors, ceramists, photographers, and graphic artists in their homes and studios in Havana and in Matanzas and Cárdenas, smaller cities northeast of the capital. We were always intrigued by the artists themselves and their accounts of their expressive intentions, technical methods, and professional lives, and often delighted and moved by their works.

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