Open To All: A Guide To Cuba’s Cultural Scene

For so long cast to the sidelines of international affairs, Cuba is very much a country on the up-and-up. Thanks to a lift in sanctions between the nation and the United States, global attention is focused on the place more firmly than ever and, after having been overlooked for so long, Cuba is now emerging as something of a cultural gem. Packed with local talent, innovative movements, and a bustling national arts scene, Cuba is a culture lover’s playground, showcasing some of the best pieces to have come out of the world in the 21st century. With so much being offered, though, finding a starting point can be more than a little difficult. Want to get the lowdown on Cuba’s culture? Just come with us.

Museo de Bellas Artes

Known unofficially as the best art gallery in the city of Havana, Museo de Bellas is the perfect place in which to start a cultural tour of the country.  A fine arts gallery with works dating back to the 19th century, this museum reads like a who’s-who of local culture, filling in the gaps from over the decades. Packed with works from avant garde masters and contemporary newcomers, Museo de Bellas Artes showcases the most diverse pieces created over the course of Cuba’s recent colorful history and how conflict might not always be a bad thing for cutting-edge culture.

Art Laboratory Kcho Estudio Romerillo

If you want to refine your search a little bit, then you would do well to head to the Art Laboratory Kcho Estudio Romerillo. Featuring the works of Cuba’s most renowned contemporary artist, Kcho, this gallery showcases an example of current artistic trends, shining a light on the experimental and often raw style of the local creative. Updated regularly, Art Laboratory Kcho Estudio Romerillo always has a finger on the pulse of the arts scene, leading the way for other galleries in the city.

Fábrica de Arte Cubano

There’s a great deal to be said about up and coming talent on the Cuban arts scene and if you want to take a look at the very best, Fábrica de Arte Cubano is showcasing it like no other place in Havana. Bringing together a mix of established masters and newcomers on the arts scene, this small gallery ties links between the old and the new, revealing how the past can indeed influence the present and vice versa.

Café Madrigal

Of course, it’s not all about local galleries; across the city of Havana, it’s possible to find many places showcasing a fascinating insight into the local arts scene. One of the very best is Café Madrigal, a neighborhood bar located inside an old 20th century mansion. A dimly lit mishmash of antique objects, old furniture, and contemporary art, this café is a great place in which to stumble across a hidden art treasure, packed to the rafters with the city’s intellectual crowd. If you want a window into the true Cuban scene, then Café Madrigal will show you the light.

Fototeca de Cuba

Photography is just as big a deal in Cuba as the fine arts, and across the country you can find a great deal of diverse talent and work. Bringing together a great selection of local talent is the Fototeca de Cuba, a contemporary gallery dedicated to the art of photography. Housing works of the photographers who helped to shape Cuba’s artistic landscape, Fototeca de Cuba attracts some of the most established artists from around the world, regularly hosting events, talks, and studio sessions. Visitors can make the most out of the gallery by taking a look at any of its 14,000 images, or attending a very popular lecture on a whole range of artistic subjects.

Hannah Lamarque
Hannah is a freelance writer and copy editor living in Europe. She writes about travel, art, design and culture and loves discovering hidden places in the cities that she visits.

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