Twenty five Cuban artists reflect on the social and political realities of the island and the contemporary world

Twenty five Cuban artists reflect on the social and

political realities of the island and the contemporary world

On view November 30 - February 3, 2019


The Krasl Art Center is pleased to announce Arte Cubano as part of its exhibition programming.Arte Cubano highlights a universally agreed-upon characteristic of the island’s art: an incredible diversity. Cuban art is so rich in large part because of its diverse cultural blend of African, European, and Latin/Caribbean influences. Add to these traditional roots the revolution of 1959, and Cuban art occupies a unique aesthetic place in the contemporary art world. Arte Cubano opens November 30 at Krasl Art Center.


Building on changing relationships between the governments of the United States and Cuba, this timely exhibition reflects more than twenty-five Cuban artists’ ruminations on the quotidian, social, and political realities of the island and the contemporary world. The island geography and political intensity of Cuba inform the work in a way that is immediately identifiable, often concealing coded, even subversive, ideas while simultaneously celebrating the richness of Cuba’s cultural identity. Peeling away the layers of Cuban art often reveals a story of struggle caused by economic and political consequences, and the social upheaval that a true revolution produces.


The intensity and depth of meaning, with the specific physical and political context, make Cuban art immediately identifiable and powerful, and an important voice in the art world today. Most of all, the art is connected to Cuba itself. Both the island and the art are an unusual mix of the traditional and the modern, of the ordinary and the special, of simplicity and incredible complexity. The same can be said for the politics, the literature, the architecture, and the people. It confounds and entrances, it is rejecting and embracing.


The exhibition’s artists include Lidzie Alvisa, José Bedia, Los Carpinteros, Yoan Capote, Enrique Celaya, Roberto Fabelo, Diana Fonseca, Pedro Pablo Oliva, Kcho, Sandra Ramos, Esterio Segura, and more. Spanning several generations, these contemporary Cuban artists come from an unusual place: a country often isolated because of its socialist revolution. All of the artists in this collection grew up in socialist Cuba, and many graduated from the prestigious Instituto Superior de Arte—built at the beginning of the revolution, Havana’s equally excellent San Alejandro Art Academy, or the Escuela Nacional de Arte. Others graduated from local art schools. Despite their disparate backgrounds, aesthetic sensibilities, subject matter, materials, and styles, there is something uniquely Cuban about the art in this collection.


Mid-America Arts Alliance/ExhibitsUSA co-organized Arte Cubano with the Center for Cuban Studies (NYC) to synthesize two extraordinary private collections generously made available for the project. This exhibition could not have been made possible without their collecting vision and loan generosity. The Center for Cuban Studies opened in 1972 and was organized by a group of scholars, writers, artists, and other professionals, in response to the effects of US policy toward Cuba.


About ExhibitsUSA

This exhibition is toured by ExhibitsUSA, a national program of Mid-America Arts Alliance. ExhibitsUSA sends more than twenty-five exhibitions on tour to over 100 small- and mid-sized communities every year. These exhibitions create access to an array of arts and humanities experiences, nurture the understanding of diverse cultures and art forms, and encourage the expanding depth and breadth of cultural life in local communities. For more about ExhibitsUSA, email or visit


About Mid-America Arts Alliance

Mid-America Arts Alliance (M-AAA) strengthens and supports artists, cultural organizations, and communities throughout our region and beyond. We achieve this primarily through our national traveling exhibition programs, innovative leadership development, and strategic grant making. We are especially committed to enriching the cultural life of historically underserved communities by providing high quality, meaningful, and accessible arts and culture programs and services. We believe in more art for more people. Additional information about M-AAA is available at

This exhibition is generously supported by Chemical Bank. 


In the artlab: Allison Svoboda

November 30, 2018 – February 3, 2019


Extended through February 2019, Allison Svoboda will install new select works on paper. Svoboda will also host another artist talk and workshop. Date and time to be announced. 


Allison Svoboda uses the patterns and forms found in nature to create intricate, collages of layered pen and ink paintings that are assembled into large scale installations. Meditative, bold and delicate all at once, her work draws viewers in and holds them captivated.


Images available upon request.


Exhibition-related programming: The Krasl Art Center will offer a lecture entitled Political Generations in Cuba's Revolution and Exodus by Silvia Pedraza, Professor of Sociology and American Culture at the University of Michigan. Friday, November 30 at 5:30-6:30 pm; the lecture is free & open to the public.Limited seating.


About the lecture:The Cuban Revolution is now over half a century old. For all that time, Cubans in the island lived through distinct historical moments, which shaped their consciousness and attitudes. Various waves of exiles also left the island. In this talk Pedraza uses the concept of political generations to try to explain the different consciousness and attitudes in those who remained in the island as well as those who left.


Opening Party:Friday, November 30, at 6-8 pm; free & open to the public. Salsa was born in Cuba, built on Afro-Cuban rhythms and earlier dance forms like són. Today, salsa is all over the globe, practiced with styles as unique as the places it’s found in. Join South Bend Latin Dance for a lively demonstration at 6:30 PM, followed by a mini dance lesson. No partner, experience, or coordination required! Practice your new moves throughout the remainder of the party or step off the dance floor and create your own exhibition-inspired artwork! Small bites and cash bar available.

South Bend Latin Dance is based in South Bend and serves a larger regional community. They honor salsa and Latin dance in all its forms and welcome dancers of all backgrounds and abilities.


Coffee with the Curator: Monday, December 3 at 9 am; free & open to the public. Gain insights to the art on view and the connection to the artworld at large in this gallery tour with KAC Deputy Director and Curator, Tami Miller.


About the Krasl Art Center:

The Krasl Art Center is a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization. The Krasl Art Center is located in downtown St. Joseph, Michigan overlooking Lake Michigan. The KAC has three public galleries, five studios, a library/lecture room, a black and white wet darkroom, a gift shop, and a permanent collection of 42 works of sculpture. Through its mission to bring people and art together, the KAC offers thoughtful exhibitions, engaging classes and camps, community events such as Krasl Art Fair on the Bluff and the Artisan Market, outreach opportunities, and cultural exploration. The Krasl Art Center is funded in part by the Michigan Council for the Arts & Cultural Affairs and the National Endowment for the Arts.

The Krasl Art Center galleries are open Monday-Wednesday, Friday & Saturday from 10-4; Thursday from 10-9; and Sunday 1-4. Admission to the galleries is free of charge. For more information, please contact the Krasl Art Center at 269.983.0271, or visit

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