A delegation from SVA recently traveled to Cuba to meet with representatives from leading Cuban art schools and artist organizations. The trip was initiated SVA Board member Walter Rivera, who was joined by Executive Director of Admissions and Student Affairs Javier Vega and faculty member Gunars Prande in exploring new partnerships and strengthening ties dating back to the College’s first official visit to Havana in 2003.
Rivera explains, “The rich and vibrant cultural life, abundant natural beauty and the value placed there on artistic expression all make Cuba a wonderful place for artists to create and to be inspired.”
The SVA group was warmly received by Cuban artists and educators at several institutions who were eager to discuss future exchange programs, workshops or other collaborative partnerships. The itinerary included the esteemed fine arts college Instituto Superior de Arte (ISA), which excels in printmaking, sculpture and painting; the Fototeca de Cuba, which offers photography courses, maintains an extensive collection of Cuban photography and exhibits the work of international photographers; and the Escuela Internacional de Cine y TV (EICTV), the widely-respected international film school founded by Colombian writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Argentinean filmmaker Fernando Birri and Cuban filmmaker Julio Garcia Espinosa.
The trip also provided the chance to reconnect with artists of the Taller Experimental de Grafica de la Habana, Cuba’s foremost printmaking studio, with whom SVA collaborated in 2003 to mount “Date with the Angels.” This exhibition brought together work by 40 Cuban artists who worked directly on lithographs produced at SVA’s printmaking studio to comment on 9/11. Described by President of the National Assembly in Cuba Ricardo Alarcon as “a message of peace and friendship to New York and the United States,” “Date with the Angels” was first presented at the José Martí Memorial in Havana in July 2004, traveled to New York in 2009 for a presentation at SVA’s Westside Gallery, and went on to Miami, Cuba and South America.
Images, from top down: Instituto Superior de Arte; Taller Experimental de Grafica de la Habana.