by Broadway World News Desk, Mar. 23, 2018
The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts announces additional programming for Artes de Cuba: From the Island to the World, a two-week festival celebrating the artistic richness that has emerged from this “island archipelago in the sun.” Artes de Cuba represents the breadth and vibrancy of Cuba with more than 400 Cuban and Cuban American artists across more than 50 events, May 8 through 20, 2018. A complete calendar of events begins on page three, please see attached for festival brochure.
Highlights of newly added performances and exhibits to the festival include a world premiere screening of a visual arts documentary commissioned by the Kennedy Center, a concert by Grammy Award winner Arturo O’Farrill and the Afro-Latin Jazz Ensemble, a cocktail tasting of traditional Cuban cocktails, and more free performances on the Millennium Stage, including a casino dance class with local dance group D.C. Casineros.
Large-scale visual art installations from some of Cuba’s most celebrated visual artists will take over the Kennedy Center during Artes de Cuba. The Center has commissioned world premiere works from Manuel Mendive, one of the most important Afro-Cuban artists to emerge from the island. Mendive, who will participate in several festival events, will also host a live paint performance, accompanied by some of Cuba’s leading musicians. Internationally renowned artist Roberto Fabelo will showcase several sculptures that honor Cuba’s cultural identity. Critically acclaimed artist, José Parlá will exhibit Poly-Ritmó, an installation that combines sculptural work and painting. Cuban American painter and muralist Emilio Perez, whose work has been featured in Times Square, will create an immersive multimedia video experience in the States Gallery. In celebration of Havana’s iconic cars, Esterio Segura, whose Hybrid of a Chrysler, recently featured at the 57th edition of the Venice Biennale will be on display on the River Terrace.
The Kennedy Center’s Terrace Gallery transforms into the “Cubano Club,” creating an authentic and immersive setting for select performances. Cuban visual artist Roberto Diago will design a striking façade for the Cubano Club using wood collected from neighborhoods in Havana. Audiences can enjoy performances and cocktail tastings in this evocative space, surrounded by vintage photos of Cuban and American-jazz musicians.
In the Nations Gallery, families will learn about Cuba’s exceptional biodiversity and culture through a special exhibition organized by the American Museum of Natural History in collaboration with scientists at the Cuban National Museum of Natural History entitled ¡Cuba!. This unprecedented gathering of Cuban and Cuban American artists represents some of the world’s greatest from the island and the Diaspora, highlighting the profound artistic and cultural influence of the island nation.
Previously announced highlights include programming that spans music, dance, theater, and film. Artists include: Omara Portuondo, the grande dame of Cuban music and face of the legendary Buena Vista Social Club; Los Van Van, one of the most recognized musical groups in Cuba today; New York based Afro-Cuban jazz artist Yosvany Terry; and Miami-based, genre-defying artist Aymée Nuviola. Famed prima ballerina Alicia Alonso and her Ballet Nacional de Cuba will return to Washington, in programs marking the 40th anniversary of the company’s historic first tour to the U.S., which began at the Kennedy Center. The theater of Cuba will feature the acclaimed Teatro el Público and the award-winning Argos Teatro in Spanish-language productions.
Artes de Cuba will extend beyond the Center’s performance spaces, and spill out into its halls, terraces, and to the Millennium Stage, where Cuban, Cuban American, and local artists from Washington, D.C. will be showcased. These free Millennium Stage performances will be streamed, as they are 365 days a year, on the Kennedy Center website and via Facebook. The festival will also include a day of family fun on Saturday, May 12 with activities, classes, and performances for the entire family. “Audiences that attend this festival will be a part of this historical celebration of Cuban art,” says Alicia Adams, the Artes de Cuba festival curator and Vice President of International Programming and Dance at the Kennedy Center.
Artes de Cuba: From the Island to the World extends the Kennedy Center’s long history of presenting international festivals. Since opening its doors as the nation’s performing arts center in 1971, the Center has presented more than 20 such festivals which have explored countries and regions throughout Europe, Africa, Australia, Asia, and Central and South America. Over the decades, millions of visitors have attended these festivals to experience and explore the richness and beauty of global arts and cultures.