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Authentic Cuba Expert's Corner
Yane Marquez, Authentic Cuba Travel Expert Travel Agent Hola! My name is Yane Marquez and I was born and raised in Cuba. After graduating from the University of Havana and the Tourism School of Cuba, I worked for over 10 years as a tour guide, translator and event organizer for Cuba's travel companies and organizations. I guided many groups attending Cuba's main international festivals, fairs and events. A few years ago, I moved to Canada where I have continued promoting Cuba’s tourism industry. I would be more than happy to answer any question you have about festival Cuba travel. Do not miss out!
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Havana Hotel Packages for the Havana Jazz Festival Tour
Hotels:
This Cuba tour offers the following Cuban hotels:

4-Star Hotel
Habana Riviera

by Iberostar Hotels

5-Star Hotel
Melia Cohiba

by Melia Hotels
Destinations:
This Cuba tour travels to the following Cuban destinations:

Old Havana
UNESCO World Heritage Site in Havana City

Vinales Valley
UNESCO World Heritage Site in Western Cuba

Matanzas City
Cultural Heritage Site in Western Cuba

Varadero Beach
Biggest Beach Resort in Cuba
How to go to the Art Festival of Cuba from USA
About the Cuba Art Festival
The Havana Art Biennial takes place in Havana every two years, and aims at promoting the "Third World" contemporary art. The Havana Art Biennial is considered as an important forum for Latin American and Caribbean artists though art work by artist from all over the world are accepted.

The Havana Art Biennial is one of the most anticipated events for Cuba artists anxious to make their work known to the world. The entire Havana city becomes an expansive gallery in which different genres, themes and points of views converge.

How to go to the Art Festival of Cuba from USA

It attracts foreign artists, while Cuba’s masters take advantage of the event to make their works better known. Exhibitions, installations and performances take place at numerous museums, galleries, streets and other institutions.
How to Go?
Cuba Study Tours & Travel to Cuba from USA
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Official 13th Havana Art Biennial 2019

The long awaited 13th Havana Art Biennial will be a complete artistic invasion of Havana. Celebrate the 500th anniversary of the foundation of Havana with us!
Manuel Mendive, Cuba Artist Discounted Cuba Tours Cuban Top Hotels Portrait by artist Jose Angel Toirac Old Havana, Unesco World Heritage Site Vinales Valley Matanzas City, Cuban Heritage Site Eligibility for USA Cuba Travel USA Cuba Travel for US Schools USA Cuba Travel for US Organizations

Art Tours to Cuba for USA Art Educators, Museum Curators and Staff, Art Critics and Professionals, Artists, Art Collectors and Enthusiasts
From April 13, 2019 to April 20, 2019



Choose to stay at the Riviera Hotel (Economy Package) or at the Melia Cohiba Hotel (Premium Package) for as Little as $2,429! (all taxes incl.)



Referral Discount: $100

Invite 1 Friend and Pay $2,329 only
Invite 2 Friends and Pay $2,229 only
Invite 3 Friends and Pay $2,129 only
Invite 4 Friends and Pay $2,029 only
Invite 10 Friends and Pay $0
And remember every person you invite
will also receive a $100 discount!


Look, learn and enjoy during this unique opportunity to simultaneously experience both a Cuba cultural tour and an immersion into one of the most interesting art festivals in the western hemisphere. A thematically-based, Cuban arts festival, the Havana Biennial is an exciting celebration featuring not only the best of Cuban visual artists, but also artists from other countries in what has become collectively known as the “South:” Latin America, the Caribbean, and from developing countries in Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

North American professional and student artists, art teachers, researchers, and collectors, and arts organization professionals will particularly benefit from this Cuba cultural tour. However, anyone who simply enjoys viewing and learning more about art will also enjoy the extensive program made possible by Authentic Cuba Travel’s long term association with some of the most innovative and influential artists working in Cuba, and well as key Cuba art institutions.

The Biennial was founded in 1984 and since then has grown into a huge, multi-venue forum for artists to showcase work that can be beautiful, provocative, intriguing, humorous, or sometimes, all of the above! With art exhibitions and installations taking over virtually every nook and cranny of Cuba cultural institutions, even the walls of buildings and the streets of Havana become lively galleries stimulating both discussion and contemplation. And in addition to all the work on view, the Havana Biennial also features film and video screenings, practical workshops led by master artists, and academic panels and presentations.

In addition to roaming the exhibitions, one of the most exhilarating aspects of the Authentic Cuba Travel itinerary is the chance to spend time one-on-one with some of the most well respected artists working in Cuba today. With our informative studio visits, Authentic Cuba Tours participants have the opportunity to converse intimately with internationally recognized artists about their own work, as well as trends in contemporary Cuba art.

With Authentic Cuba Travel, you’ll feel like a Havana Biennial VIP! Private tours, exclusive access, and fascinating artist encounters are just a few of the special features of this Cuba art tour. On top of all the art, you’ll also have other Cuba cultural opportunities like learning about the history of Old Havana through an amazing walking tour of its plazas—and who would want to miss experiencing the food, music, and natural beauty of authentic Cuba?

Seats at the published international airfare rates are limited, so make sure to book your Cuba Art Tour immediately! Our day-to-day itinerary will give you all the detail you need.

AUTHENTIC CUBA TRAVEL ANNOUNCES:
The XIII Havana Art Biennial Cuba Tour
(April 13, 2019- April 20, 2019)
Cuba Art Travel for Anyone Who Loves Art, Artists, and Festivals!
Official Havana Biennial Cuba Art Travel for as little as $2,429!



The 13th Havana Art Biennial, an Interactive “Cultural Corridor” between Visual Artists and the Audience.

The 13th Havana Art Biennial, the biggest visual art festival in Cuba and one of the most famed art events in Latin America, will take place in between April 12th and May 12, 2019 in Havana City, Cuba’s largest city and capital of the Caribbean island nation. According to the Wifredo Lam Art Center, the organization in charge of putting it all together, this Cuban art festival will attempt to turn the city into an interactive cultural corridor between the creators and public.

At the official announcement of the Cuban Art Biennial 2019, representatives of the Cuba’s National Council of Visual Arts and the Wifedo Lam Art Center, under the auspices of Cuba’s Ministry of Culture, stated that the objective of the 13th edition of the international art gathering is the complete “artistic invasion” of Havana, a city that celebrates the 500th anniversary of its foundation in 2019.

Under the slogan “the Construction of the Possible”, the 2019 Art Biennial of Havana will be a hub for contemporary art trends that encompass art creation as an “active event or experience”. Although the rooster of international and national visual artists in attendance was not disclosed during the official announcement, the Havana Art Biennial curators made it clear that more than 200 creators from about 20 countries-including Spain, France, Portugal, Brazil, Columbia, Argentina, Mexico, Peru and others- will be present at the international art fair of Havana.

Margarita Gonzalez, deputy director of the Wifedo Lam Art Center, and Nelson Herrera, head curator of the Havana Art Biennial, also mentioned than more than 20 Cuban artists will be exhibiting in the event to showcase the strength of Cuban contemporary art. They also announced that the Art Biennial of Havana 2019 will spread outside Havana city for the first time in its history since 1984. Cities like Matanzas, Cienfuegos, Sancti Spiritus and Camaguey will host the international visual arts event as well.

Notice to US Universities of the Arts, US Schools of the Arts, US University Schools of the Arts, US Colleges of Art & Design, US Art Academies, US Art Institutes and other Academic Institutions from USA:



In January 2016, the US Government announced further enhancements to the 12 categories of authorized travel to Cuba that previously required a specific license (this is, lengthy applications to OFAC). Now travel to the Caribbean island is allowed under a general license (this is, self-completed paperwork with no application to OFAC needed).

After President Trump’s policy change on USA Cuba travel on November 9, 2017, the General License for Educational Activities remains in place. Accredited U.S. graduate or under graduate degree-granting institutions; U.S. Academic Institutions; and U.S. Schools can organize and sponsor an educational trip to Cuba for their students, faculty and staff under the General License for Educational Activities, provided that the trip meets OFAC guidelines; and that an employee or other representative of the organization escorts the trip to make sure such guidelines are followed by all participants.

US Universities of the Arts, US Schools of the Arts, US University Schools of the Arts, US Colleges of Art & Design, US Art Academies, US Art Institutes and other Academic Institutions from USA can organize and sponsor a trip to Cuba for educational activities. The purpose of the Cuba travel should be for:

_ the participation in a structured educational program offered for credit as part of a course of the sponsoring institution;

_ educational exchanges sponsored by Cuban or U.S. secondary schools involving secondary school students’ participation in a formal course of study or in a structured educational program offered by a secondary school or other academic institution, and led by a teacher or other secondary school official are authorized. This authorization allows for participation of a reasonable number of adult chaperones to accompany the secondary school students to Cuba.

_ attendance at non-commercial academic seminars, conferences and workshops related to Cuba sponsored or co-sponsored by U.S. academic institution.

_ non- commercial academic research related to Cuba for the purpose of obtaining a graduate or undergraduate degree;

_ the participation in a formal course of study at a Cuban academic institution provided that credits will be accepted toward the student’s graduate or undergraduate degree;

_ participation in a 10-week structured educational program in Cuba as part of a course offered at the U.S. institution;

_ participation in a formal 10-week course of study at a Cuban academic institution, provided the formal course of study in Cuba will be accepted for credit toward the student’s undergraduate or graduate degree at the U.S. institution;

We take care of all details both in North America and in Cuba, including VISA and flight arrangements to Cuba's main destinations via USA ports (Miami, Tampa, New York, Los Angeles, or other) or through third countries like Canada and Mexico. Authorized US organizations can travel through a third country subject to the same restrictions and requirements as those flying directly from USA.

At Authentic Cuba Travel, we have been organizing such educational and cultural travel experiences from the United States of America for years with great success.


Notice to US Arts Organizations, US Arts Councils, US Arts Foundations, US Visual Arts Institutes, US Artist Groups, US Museums of Art, and other Arts Institutions from USA:



US Arts Organizations, US Arts Councils, US Arts Foundations, US Visual Arts Institutes, US Artist Groups, US Museums of Art, and other Arts Institutions from USA can organize and sponsor a trip to Cuba for educational exchanges not involving academic study to promote people to people contact for their members and the general public. Certain conditions are to be met to comply with OFAC General License requirements for USA Cuba travel though.

US Cultural and Educational Organizations can also sponsor and organize travel to Cuba under the General License for Public Performances, Workshops, Clinics, Exhibitions and Athletic or non-Athletic Competitions.

The trip should consist of a full-time schedule of activities intended to promote the exchange with the ordinary citizens of Cuba. This full-time schedule must also include educational activities that result in meaningful interaction in between U.S and Cuban nationals. The trip to Cuba must be escorted by an employee of the organization. Free time in excess or regular tourists' activities are not permitted.

We take care of all details both in North America and in Cuba, including VISA and flight arrangements to Cuba's main destinations via USA ports (Miami, Tampa, New York, Los Angeles, or other) or through third countries like Canada and Mexico. Authorized US organizations can travel through a third country subject to the same restrictions and requirements as those flying directly from USA.

At Authentic Cuba Travel, we have been organizing such educational and cultural travel experiences from the United States of America for years with great success.

Not a visual arts professional? Go to Cuba legally from USA



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  • Havana Art Biennial | Cuba Tour Highlights:

    • People-to-people OFAC General License issued by US Sponsor.

    • Tour of UNESCO World Heritage Site, Havana Historical Centre.
    • Travel to UNESCO World Heritage Site, Vinales Valley.
    • Unlimited access to venues of the Havana Art Biennial, 2019.
    • Private visits to the studios of Cuba's most important visual artist.
    • Lunch hosted by world renowned Cuban artists Jose Fuster.
    • Meet international & local artists, curators & museum directors.
    • Visit to Wifredo Lam Center, responsible for the Art Biennial.
    • Visit to the Experimental Printing Workshop.
    • Visit to Cuba's National Art Schools.
    • Visit to Habana Gallery, specializing in contemporary Cuban art.
    • Guided tour of the Museum of Fine Arts' Cuban Collection.
    • Fototeca de Cuba preserves Cuba's photographic patrimony.
    • Visit to the Center for the Development of Visual Arts.
    • Cuba's popular ceremony, the Fire of the Cannon of 9 O’Clock.

    GENERAL LICENSE FOR PROFESSIONAL RESEARCH CUBA TRAVEL



    US Arts Professionals, US Art Educators, US Art Consultants, US Art Critics, US Museum of Art Directors, Curators and Staff, US Visual Artists; and other Art Professionals from USA interested in conducting professional research on Cuba's Art Scene can travel to Cuba under the provisions of the General License for Professional Research.

    GENERAL LICENSE FOR EDUCATIONAL PEOPLE-TO-PEOPLE GROUP TRAVEL TO CUBA



    Non-art-professional citizens from USA interested in visiting Cuba to learn more about Cuba's Visual Art Industry can travel to Cuba under the provisions of the General License for People-to-people Educational Group Travel issued by US organizations.

    This educational people-to-people group tour is sponsored by US organizations that are authorized by the US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) to run cultural and educational people-to-people programs to Cuba.

    Your People-to-People General License is already included in the price of the tour.

    Tourism to Cuba from US is still prohibited by the US Cuba travel regulations. In other words, American visitors to Cuba cannot simply book an all inclusive “sun & beach” vacation and relax in the crystal-clear Caribbean waters of Cuba while sipping in mojitos like Canadians and most citizens of the world can. Educational and cultural exchanges in between the Cubans and the American visitors must be included in the itineraries.

    During the Trump administration the General License for Professional Research and the General License for Group People-to-people Educational Travel to Cuba remain in place.

    Authentic Cuba Travel, Havana Art Biennial. Rene Pena, a highly– recognized Cuban photographer, is known for creating provocative imagistic explorations of the connections between institutions and racial, religious and sexual identity. While he has primarily worked in black and white photography, Pena has more recently been experimenting with both color and digital photography. In this photo, he looks over work for the XII Havana Biennial with Authentic Cuba Travel's Luis D’Aguiar.
    Authentic Cuba Tour, Havana Art Biennial. The theme of the XI Havana Biennial was “artistic practices and the social imaginary.” This continued a long tradition of themes that look at the intersection between art and culture, and the role of the artist in the construction of meaning both within the artwork itself and within the society through the use of historical and cultural references. The Biennial serves as important bridge between Cuban artists, their own society and an international audience. Our Cuba Tours exposes complex aspect of the authentic Cuba to tour participants.
    Provocative Art Installations at ISA. The exhibitions at Cuba’s National School of Fine Arts, the ISA, during the 2012 Havana Biennial attracted international attention. One of the most provocative works was by Manolo Castro and Alberto and Julio Lorente. A hyper-realistic figure of Osama Bin Laden lay blissfully recumbent upon an oriental carpet in a darkened room. Simply called “He,” it was widely reported by the international press. Cuba Art Tours participants will get to see the latest work at the ISA during the 2019 Havana Biennial.
    Authentic Cuba Trip, Havana Art Biennial. One performance which attracted a multitude of interested people at the last Havana Art Biennial was Mendive’s “Spirit, Nature & Heads”: dancers from dance companies such as the National Folkloric Group walked down Prado Street, from the Saratoga Hotel to the Orígenes Art Gallery, located at the Great Theatre of Havana, where the artist waited for them to paint on their nude bodies, while the pianist Pura Ortiz played Baroque music.
    Authentic Cuba Travel, Havana Art Biennial. More and more Americans are discovering the Havana Biennial. In 2012, 1300 Americans attended with most being international collectors, museum curators, and gallery dealers. The work of contemporary Cuban artists has caught the eye of illustrious organizations like London’s Tate Gallery, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and MOMA. With Authentic Cuba Travel, you’ll feel like a VIP from the art world, too. Authentic Cuba Travel is proud to have facilitated USA Cuba travel arrangements for hundreds of art professionals over the years.
    Havana Art Biennial 2012, Cuba Festival Tour. During the Havana Art Biennial Cuba tour, we will visit the studio of Juan Carlos Alom who actively works in experimental photography as well as film and video. He is also responsible for founding a studio in Cuba where artists can work and screen their videos. His work often incorporates elements of ritual, magical realism, and Afro-Cuban religion set into tableaux that he then photographs.
    Authentic Cuba Tour, Havana Art Biennial. The Havana Biennial takes place every two years and is centered at Fortaleza de San Carlos de la Cabaña, simply known by most as La Cabaña. This Spanish fortress, built in the 1700s, was used by Che Guevara as his headquarters during the Cuban revolution. It is also the site of a popular evening outing for our Cuba Tours participants, the ritual firing of a cannon at 9pm each evening.
    Cuban Art Tour. More than 180 artists representing 45 countries participated in the XI Havana Art Biennial. The art of Cuba, however, takes center stage and along with the officially curated exhibitions, there are many related programs and gallery exhibits. Artists push the boundaries in contemporary Cuba, giving voice to many different perspectives on Cuba’s history and future.
    Day 1: Saturday, 13 April 2019.
    “Hello Cuba!”
    Your Havana Art Biennial Cuba Tours guide will meet you at Jose Marti International Airport. After welcoming you to Cuba, your guide will introduce you to your driver for this art discovery journey. This important pair will be with your during your entire stay to insure an effortless and interesting experience of authentic Cuba!

    After a short bus ride, you’ll check in to either Hotel Melia Cohiba (P) or Hotel Riviera (E).

    Time permitting; we will also visit the vast array of art exhibits, performances and happenings that sprawl across the city during the 13th Havana International Art Biennial 2019.

    A complimentary breakfast is served at the hotel from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.
    Day 2: Sunday, 14 April 2019.
    Old Havana, UNESCO World Heritage Site
    Morning: Your Cuba travel plans for today begins at the organization responsible for putting together the Havana Art Biennial. The Wifredo Lam Center bears the name of one of Cuba’s most renowned painters.

    As a modernist, Lam’s word borrowed themes and imagery from an array of cultures. Today, the Lam Center does something similar in the way it advances the contemporary art of Cuba and that of other developing countries.

    At the Wifredo Lam Center, you can find out just how they manage to make Havana over into one giant art gallery every two years— and they can explain the complexities of choosing a theme for the Biennial, as well as the curatorial process.

    Printmaking is one of the most genuine art forms in Cuba as we will see in the next visit of our Cuban journey. Cuban artists have developed printmaking into an incredible varied and expressive medium. At the Taller Experimental de Gráfica, a cooperative workshop, you’ll observe young lithographers plying their art.

    It’s time for a little dose of Cuban history with a guided walking tour through the Plazas (Squares) of Old Havana, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Before lunch we’ll visit two very old and very impressive plazas, the Cathedral Square and the Square of Arms.

    During our walking tour, we will also visit the vast array of art exhibits, performances and happenings that sprawl across the city during the 13th Havana International Art Biennial 2019.

    Catedral de La Habana loans both its name and presence to Cathedral Square. Built over a period of thirty years in the mid 1700s, this beautiful baroque architectural masterpiece is dedicated to Christopher Columbus. It is famous for its asymmetrical towers, a design feature hit upon to channel water away from the plaza.

    The Plaza de Armas, or the “Square of Arms” is named for the fact that the Spanish military drilled in the Square. Historically, it’s the center of Habana Vieja, and still boasts many imposing buildings that have lasted since the Spanish colonialist era.

    Perhaps most imposing and poignant is the moated Castillo de La Real Fuerza. Look for one of the city’s most loved images: La Giraldilla, a bronze statue of Hernado de Soto wife, Dona Isabel, who is said to have died of a broken heart after learning that her husband expired after discovering the Mississippi River.

    Over the last years, one of the most evident signs of free-market reform programme has been the booming of private restaurants (known as paladares in Cuba). A wave of slick restaurants such as San Cristobal_where we will have lunch next, is dramatically improving the basic beans-and-rice traditional food with exciting cuisine.

    After lunch we’ll traverse by the hand of our Authentic Cuba Travel guide two more beautiful plazas, Plaza Vieja and Plaza de San Francisco.

    During our stroll through Plaza Vieja or “Old Square,” your Authentic Cuba guide will show you to some important art institutions such as The Center for the Development of Visual Arts, the Fototeca de Cuba, and La Casona Gallery, you’ll learn about current movements in the visual arts in Cuba and what has given rise to new developments. Whether your personal tastes incline to painting, sculpture, photography or other media, you’re sure to gain important insights.

    In addition to its famous fountain with four marble dolphins, Old Square has several beautifully restored buildings worth noting such as Palacio Viena Hotel and Colegio del Santo Angel. Part of Habana Vieja since the 1500s, Old Square is still a vibrant spot.

    Another fountain graces the Square of San Francisco of Assisi, this one with lions. Almost as old as Old Square, the Square of San Francisco was given a baroque facelift in the 1700s, and this is the architectural style that remains. The dominant building on the plaza is the Convent of St. Francis. At present a concert hall and museum space, the convent serves as one of the major venues of the 2019 Havana Art Biennial.

    Return to hotel.

    Evening: Visit the trendiness industrial-scale art galleries and performance venues of Fabrica de Arte Cubano (Cuban Art Factory), all housed in a former food processing plant located around Havana’s Green Belt Area. Pushing Cuba’s political boundaries and the incipient free-market entrepreneurial ship, X Alfonso, one of Cuba’s most popular rockers, manages this “community venture” which seems more like a hybrid of a capitalistic business and a state-run facility.
    Day 3: Monday, 15 April 2019.
    “Getting to Know Havana's Art Scene”
    Morning: The Official Cuba Tour to the Havana Art Biennial gets off to another great start today with a full day of art that is sure to capture your imagination. We’ll begin the morning at Fortaleza de San Carlos de la Cabaña, referred to locally as La Cabaña. This fortress, completed in the 1740s, is the main venue of the 13th Havana Art Biennial 2019. It’s ancient walls and grounds make for an amazing space in which to view art. Enjoy some time to roam the venue and get acquainted.

    Callejon de Hamel, a community grounded art installation, was created by Salvador Gonzales. In this central Havana alley, you’ll experience the vibrancy of Mr. Gonzalez’s fanciful creations, and get the chance to speak directly with the artist about the role of Cuba’s African heritage and why he chose this particular location.

    Lunch: The evocative world of Fusterlandia is a highpoint of the Cuba Travel experience. Your luncheon host, Jose Fuster, has been called the “Picasso of the Caribbean.” More than 80 of Mr. Fuster’s neighbors have offered their homes as sites for him to weave his artistic magic.

    Afternoon: Visiting an artist’s studio is like a small window into the artist’s mind and heart. This afternoon you’ll get to explore those spaces with visits to the workplaces of some notable contemporary artists like Alicia Leal and her husband Juan Moreira as well as younger artists like Juan Carlos Alom and the Britos’ Sisters making their mark on the Cuban art scene.

    Private visit to the studio of artist Karlos Perez. Since 2006, Perez's work has been exhibited in several solo and group exhibitions, including the 11th Havana Biennale. Perez is a good example of how recent contemporary Cuban painting has been shaping its own space. With a background in photography, video, and installation, Perez’s paintings have blurred the order of the traditional discourse of art. His works are not “portraits” in the traditional sense, but rather the power of the images comes from their existential character.

    Along the way, you’ll have the opportunity to share directly with the artists, ask them questions about their work and methods, and see the diverse influences, heritages, and imaginations at play. Meeting with Cuban artists up close and personal is an exclusive experience of our Cuba Tours.

    Return to Hotel.

    Evening: We’ll return to La Cabaña for a gorgeous evening view of Havana and some costumed splendor as one of Havana’s oldest traditions is carried out, Fire of the Cannon of 9 O'Clock.
    Day 4: Tuesday, 16 April 2019.
    Vinales Valley, UNESCO World Heritage Site
    Morning: Prepare to feast your eyes on a variety of sights today ranging from striking geological features to perhaps the biggest painting in Cuba. We’ll take a break from the city and tour one of the most magnificent natural areas of authentic Cuba, the Vinales Valley.

    En route to Vinales Valley, we will make a stop in Consolacion del Sur, a town in Pinar del Rio province to visit the outreach-community project El Patio de Peregrin. The brainchild of Cuban painter Mario Pelegrin, this humble art gallery and pottery workshop has become a power horse to promote diverse cultural and artistic initiatives in the area.

    Over arrival in Vinales Valley, one thing you’ll notice right away is the prehistoric looking hills with rounded tops and precipitous sides. Called mogotes, these formations combine with the alleuvial plains separating them to create a jaw-dropping landscape.

    Here we’ll find tobacco farmers cultivating their crops. Cuban tobacco, best known in the form of the coveted Cuban cigar, is still farmed using traditional techniques.

    On the way to Cueva del Indio, your Cuba art tour will also visit Mural de la Prehistoria. The artist, Leovigildo Morillos, emulated ancient cave-painting technique in his massive mural depicting the evolution of the world from a local viewpoint.

    Lunch: The restaurant at Cueva del Indio will be the site for lunch today.

    Cueva del Indio is a series of caves containing underground stream. We’ll explore this natural feature and learn about its history while taking a boat ride through the caverns. A famous retreat for slaves evading their Spanish masters, the caverns were first used as burial sites and hiding places by early Amerindians.

    After our tour of Cueva del Indio, there will be time to visit Viñales town at a leiasurely pace. Stop in the cigar shop for an authentic Cuban cigar, enjoy the handicrafts at the Viñales artisans’ market, or just enjoy the sights of this quaint town.

    Before we head back to Havana city, we will stop in the provincial capital city, Pinar del Rio to visit the studio and art gallery of Pedro Pablo Oliva, one of the most internationally recognized Cuban painters today. With works in the permanent collection of the Cuba’s National Museum of Fine Arts as well as in array of collections worldwide, the artist decided to fund The Studio of Oliva not only as an art gallery and exhibit space but as a cultural institution promoting the arts in Pinar del Rio.
    Day 5: Wednesday, 17 April 2019.
    "Artistic Education in Cuba"
    Today we’ll return to Habana Vieja and visit a number of Cuban art institutions serving as venues for the Havana Art Biennial 2019. Along with viewing artwork, you’ll also learn from the staffs at these celebrated institutions, a highlight of your Cuba Travel experience.

    First up is the Museum of Fine Arts. The Cuban collection of the museum is located in The Palace of Fine Arts building of the museum. Housing the work of notable Cuban artists like Wifredo Lam, Rene Portocarrero and Rita Lonja, the museum also has a notable collection of religious art and Costumbrismo from the 1600-1800s.

    Paladar is a Cuban term that refers to private family-run businesses. The Cuban term has its origin in a Brazilian soap opera played in Cuba in the early 1990s. Today we’ll have lunch at the stylish paladar Cafe Laurent, offering excellent food and fabulous views of the city.

    Afternoon: The art students of Cuba's National Art Schools (ISA), a competitive conservatory-like program, represent the best of Cuba’s artistic future. They also participate significantly in the Havana Art Biennial 2019 with their own sophisticated installations, conceptual pieces, and works based in traditional mediums like painting, printmaking and sculpture.

    During our Cuba Tours, we usually include a tour of the ISA, so that tour participants are able to engage in dialogue with both faculty and students about the work on display.

    The second part of our tour of artist studios includes some dynamic artists working in varied media. Lazaro Saavedra, a graduate of the ISA, is a conceptual artist. Rene Pena is known for his exploration of the connection between individuals and institutions and how racial, religious and sexual identity comes in to play. Jose Angel Toirac is an internationally awarded installation artist as well as painter.

    During our bus tour, we will also visit the vast array of art exhibits, performances and happenings that sprawl across the city during the 13th Havana International Art Biennial 2019.

    Habana Art Gallery is another important site for the XIII Havana Art Biennial that will compliment the Cuba Travel experience. One of the oldest art institutions in La Habana, you are sure to find cutting edge work on display along with a knowledgeable staff and talented, rising artists.

    Return to hotel.

    Evening: Tonight, experience the art of authentic Cuban Jazz with a trip to Club La Zorra y El Cuervo, one of Havana’s premiere jazz venues. (optional, not included)
    Day 6: Thursday, 18 April 2019.
    Matanzas City, Cultural Heritage Site of Cuba
    Morning: Day trip to Matanzas City, also known as the "Athens of Cuba" for its wealth of poets. The city is also famous for its strong African heritage.

    Rest stop in Bacunayagua Bridge for a Piña Colada and enjoy the view over the highest bridge (110 mts) in Cuba, one of the marvels of Cuban post- revolutionary architecture.

    Visit to various exhibits of the 13th Havana International Art Biennial in Matanzas city. You’ll have more opportunities to interact with artists, curators, and other arts professionals working to promote the visual arts outside Havana city.

    Next we visit Ediciones Vigia, a unique publishing house founded in 1985. It produces handmade paper and first edition copies of books. Only 200 copies of each book are made so each is a collector’s item. Meet with Director Agustina Ponce, publishers and artists.

    Lunch on your own.

    Afternoon: Visit the Varadero Ceramic Workshop showcasing great artworks from local artists. Exchange with artists and staff.

    Followed by a panoramic motor coach tour of the Peninsula de Hicacos, Varadero, to witness tourism development in the area.

    Return to Havana.

    Evening: We always recommend enriching our Cuba cultural tours with a trip to experience the National Ballet of Cuba. (optional)
    Day 7: Friday, 19 April 2019.
    "Havana- Cuba Adventurer"
    Morning: visit to the photography gallery AMOS and get up close and personal with Ramses Batista, one of Cuba’s most well-established photographers today. Revisit Mr.Batista’s 20-plus-year career featuring portraiture, social documentary, religion, landscapes, and nudes.

    During the morning, we will also visit the vast array of art exhibits, performances and happenings that sprawl across the city during the 13th Havana International Art Biennial 2019.

    Enjoy complimentary lunch at L’Atelier paladar. With an ever-changing and exciting menu every day, paladar owner, Niuris Higueras and her chef create an unpredictable variety of dishes with consistent quality.

    Private visit to 331 Art Space Gallery, a successful mix of cutting edge art and entrepreneurship in the new Cuba where the boundaries of artistic freedom of expression and restrictions are constantly challenged in the most ingenious ways. Housed in this 1941 mansion- that has been fully refurbished to modern chic style- is the studio of up-and-coming artists, Frank Mujica, Alex Hernandez and Adrian Fernandez whose drawings, prints, and mixed media artworks can command prices in the thousands of dollars.

    Now that you’ve had a taste of all that Havana offers during the remarkable days of the Havana Art Biennial 2019, you get the rest of the afternoon to explore and experience at your favorite spots and at your own pace. Whether you want to revisit one of the studios to contemplate the work, you’ve decided to purchase art for your collection, or you just want to wander, enjoy your day. If you need any assistance with the paperwork to clear any original works you’ve purchased, please see your Authentic Cuba Travel tour guide.

    Return to your hotel.

    Dinner time! Our Cuba tour participants will be again treated to a farewell dinner at the chic paladar, Le Chansonier, offering quality new Cuban recipes crafted by one of the most gifted chef in Havana, Enrique.
    Day 8: Saturday, 20 April 2019.
    “Good-bye Cuba”
    Buen viaje! Your Authentic Cuba Tours team will facilitate your early morning departure to Jose Marti International Airport.

    Overview on Cuba's Visual Arts

    Cuban art is a very diverse cultural blend of African, European and North American design reflecting the diverse demographic of the island.

    The radical artistic movements that transformed European art in the first decades of the century arrived in Latin America in the 1920s to form part of a vigorous current of artistic, cultural, and social innovation.

    By the late 1920's, the Vanguardia artists had rejected the academic conventions of Cuba's national art academy. In their formative years, many had lived in Paris, where they studied and absorbed the tenets of surrealism, cubism, and modernist primitivism.

    Modernism burst on the Cuban scene as part of the critical movement of national regeneration that arose in opposition to the dictatorship of Gerardo Machado, American neo-colonial control and the consequent economic crisis.

    They returned to Cuba committed to new artistic innovation and keen to embrace the heritage of their island. These artists became increasingly political in their ideology, viewing the rural poor as symbols of national identity in contrast to the ruling elite of post independence Cuba.

    The masters of the first generation of Cuban modernism set the stage for the prevalence of certain themes that would govern Cuban art after 1930, and which would have varying degrees of impact on those generations that would later emerge entirely in exile after 1960.

    Between 1934 and 1940, and still reeling from the overthrow of Machado, Cuba was searching for its cultural identity in its European and African roots. The landscape, flora, fauna, and lore of the island, as well as its peasants-the often neglected foundation of Cuba’s soul and economy-emerged in its art.

    After the Cuban revolution of 1959 Cuban artists became more isolated from the anti-establishment artistic movements of the United States and Europe. Though artists continued to produce work in Cuba, many pursued their careers in exile.

    By the late 1970s many of the graduates of the school of the arts in Cuba, “the Facultad de Artes Plasticas of the Instituto Superior de Arte” (founded in 1976) were going to work as school teachers, teaching art to young Cubans across the island. This gave a platform for the graduates to be able to teach students about freedom of expression.

    This meant freedom of expression in many forms including medium, message, and style of art. It was this new level of experimentation and expression that was able to enable the movement of the 1980s.

    Cubans saw the introduction of an art exhibit titled “Volumen Uno” in 1981, an exhibit that featured contemporary Cuban artists displaying their work in a series of one man exhibitions. Three years later, the introduction of the “Havana Bienal” assisted in the further progression of the liberation of art and free speech therein.

    This age of artist was dedicated to people who were willing to take risks in their art and truly express themselves, rather than to express only things that supported the political movement.

    While looking at art of the 1980s we see a trend in use of the shape of Cuba itself as inspiration for art. One piece, Immediately Geographic by artist Florencio Gelabert Soto, is a sculpture in the shape of Cuba, but is broken into many pieces.

    A movement that mirrored this artistic piece was underway in which the shape of Cuba became a token in the artwork in a phase known as “tokenization.” This artwork often combined the shape of the island of Cuba with other attributes of the nation, such as the flag. By combining the various symbols of Cuba together the artists were proudly proclaiming ‘this is who we are’.

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