The Kennedy Center
Artes de Cuba

Artes de Cuba

For two weeks this spring, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts will present Artes de Cuba: From the Island to the World, a festival celebrating the artistic richness that has emerged from this "island archipelago in the sun." This unprecedented gathering of Cuban and Cuban American artists represents some of the world's greatest from the island and the Diaspora.

Featuring some of Cuba's finest artists and leading Cuban American creators, Artes de Cuba will inspire with more than 50 events over two weeks, encompassing the breadth and vibrancy of the island nation's culture.


  • Roberto Diago (Havana)

    At just 37, Havana-born Roberto Diago has long been one of Cuba's most critically acclaimed and commercially lauded artists. With a focus on raw subject matter, including deep reflections on race, slavery, and religion, Diago works across media, including paintings, sculptures, and mixed media and found-art installations. The celebrated artist, whose riveting juxtapositions of text and image have drawn comparisons to American painters Jean-Michel Basquiat and Ed Ruscha, will debut a new installation as part of Artes de Cuba.

  • Roberto Fabelo (Havana)

    Described as "one of Cuba's premier artists" (Dallas Morning News), painter, sculptor, and illustrator Roberto Fabelo is a member of "the generation of sure hope" that emerged in the 1980s and is credited with reinvigorating the Cuban creative environment. Known for the absurdist humor embedded in his watercolors and sculptures, Fabelo is a recipient of the prestigious Alejo Carpentier medal, Cuba's highest honor in recognition of outstanding artistic achievement. Select works as part of Artes de Cuba to be announced.

  • Manuel Mendive (Havana)

    Considered to be the most important Cuban artist living today, Manuel Mendive is one of the leading Afro-Cuban artists to emerge from Cuba. Working across media, including paint, wood, and organic matter, Mendive's art is strongly influenced by the Santería religion, and expresses the ways in which African culture have shaped Cuban national identity and culture. Mendive will create six new sculptures for Artes de Cuba.

  • José Parlá (New York)

    Born in Miami, Florida to Cuban immigrants, José Parlá is a critically acclaimed, multidisciplinary artist whose ouevre spans painting, large-scale murals, photography, video, and sculpture. Among his many public works is a commission by One World Trade Center for his monumental mural painting, ONE: Union of the Senses, the largest painting of its kind in New York. Párla will create a new piece for Artes de Cuba.

  • Emilio Perez (New York)

    Rhythm, movement, and intuition are in abundance in Emilio Perez's works, revealing an interest in music, as well as a fascination with the forces of nature. The New York born, Cuban American painter and muralist asserts a vivid, graphic style that has lit up Times Square as part of the Midnight Moment project in 2016. Perez is well known among Cubans for his 65-foot, movable mural, created in 2015 as part of the 12th Havana Biennial, which holds the distinction of being the largest mural in Cuba. Perez will create a new piece for Artes de Cuba.

  • ¡Cuba!

    Collaboration with the American Natural History Museum, New York (amnh.org)

    Cuba is a place of exceptional biodiversity and cultural richness. Technically an archipelago of more than 4,000 islands and keys, Cuba is the largest island nation in the Caribbean and one of the region's most ecologically diverse countries. The Kennedy Center will present special displays adapted from an exhibition organized by the American Museum of Natural History in close collaboration with scientists at the Cuban National Museum of Natural History. This close look at Cuba's unique natural history and traditions offers visitors fresh insights into the island nation located just 94 miles from Florida's shores.

  • The Art of Celia Ledón (Havana)

    On the "frontier of fashion" (Vanity Fair), Cuban designer Celia Ledón fuses fashion and art in showstopping creations that have graced haute couture runways, theater stages, and art films. This installation will feature select costume art by Ledón, including a work commissioned for Artes de Cuba.

  • Artes de Cuba: From the Island to The World (festival logo)

    The logo for the Artes de Cuba festival was specially designed by Giselle Monzón Calero. Born in Villa Clara, Cuba, in 1979, Monzón graduated from Havana's Higher Institute of Design (ISDI) and currently lives and works in Havana. Monzón primarily designs promotional posters for theaters, festivals, and films. Her work has appeared in solo and group shows in Cuba, Switzerland, France, Germany, and other European countries.

See the full program

Download the announcement and schedule to see the full listings of programming that spans music, dance, theater, film, fashion, and design.

Download

Upcoming Events


Artes de Cuba Opening Performance featuring Omara Portuondo and Festival Highlights

Tue, May 8, 2018, 8:00 PM

The festival's opening night celebration will feature “Diva of Buena Vista Social Club” Omara Portuondo, pianist Rolando Luna, Havana Lyceum Orchestra, jazz composer / pianist Aldo López-Gavilán, composer / musician Yosvany Terry, Orchestra Miguel Faílde, and more.

Buy Tickets


Millennium Stage: Arte Y Moda Fashion Show (part of Artes de Cuba)

Wed, May 9, 2018, 6:00 PM

FREE, no tickets required! Celebrate the art and style of Cuba with a fashion show. This extraordinary combination of imagination, fine art, and design features costumes created by Cuban designers who take their inspiration from paintings and sculptures by Cuban masters.


Yissy & Bandancha (part of Artes de Cuba)

Wed, May 9, 2018, 8:00 PM

Yissy Garcia and her band follow the routes of Latin jazz, funk, and electronic music. At the age of 25, she has already become an iconic figure of female percussion in Cuba.

Buy Tickets


Millennium Stage: Adonis Gonzalez & Mauricio Herrera (part of Artes de Cuba)

Thu, May 10, 2018, 6:00 PM

FREE, no tickets required! Classical keys and Cuban rhythms collide when Latin Grammy®–nominated pianist Adonis Gonzalez and Grammy® nominee and master percussionist Mauricio Herrera join forces for a one-of-a-kind mashup. 


Yosvany Terry Afro-Cuban Sextet (part of Artes de Cuba)

Thu, May 10

The internationally acclaimed saxophonist, percussionist, and cultural bearer of the Afro-Cuban tradition blends exquisite post-bebop and ceremonial music with rhythms and chants from Cuba and West Africa.

Buy Tickets


Havana Lyceum Orchestra with soloists Ulises Hernández, piano, and Alí Arango, guitar (part of Artes de Cuba)

Thu, May 10, 2018, 7:30 PM

The award-winning orchestra conducted by Maestro José Antonio Méndez Padrón performs music by Cuban-born composers, to include contemporary works by Leo Brouwer featuring pianist Ulises Hernández and guitarist Alí Arango in his U.S. debut.

Buy Tickets


Millennium Stage: Orquesta Miguel Faílde (part of Artes de Cuba)

Fri, May 11, 2018, 6:00 PM

FREE, no tickets required! Led by flutist Ethiel Fernandez Faílde—grandson of namesake bandleader Miguel Faílde—Orquesta Miguel Faílde celebrates Cuba’s danzon—the national dance and music of Cuba. 


Zule Guerrra & Quinteto Blues de Habana (part of Artes de Cuba)

Fri, May 11

The singer / composer and her jazz quintet are influenced by the music of the African Diaspora and Latin America. Their work includes Latin American songs, jazz standards, and original themes in a fresh and authentic jazz language.

Buy Tickets


Malpaso Dance Company (part of Artes de Cuba)

May 11 - May 12, 2018

Since its establishment in 2012, Malpaso has become one of the most sought-after Cuban dance companies with a growing international profile. The program will feature Aszure Barton's Indomitable Waltz along with Osnel Delgado's Ocaso and 24 Hours and a Dog.

Buy Tickets


Havana Film Festival 40-Year Retrospective: Memorias del Subdesarrollo (part of Artes de Cuba)

Sat, May 12, 2018, 1:00 PM

Part of a day of "classics of Cuban cinema," this is one of six films that Ivan Giroud, president of the Havana Film Festival, has selected to highlight the history of the festival, now in its 40th year.

Buy Tickets


Havana Film Festival 40-Year Retrospective: Retrato de Teresa (part of Artes de Cuba)

Sat, May 12, 2018, 4:00 PM

Part of a day of "classics of Cuban cinema," this is one of six films that Ivan Giroud, president of the Havana Film Festival, has selected to highlight the history of the festival, now in its 40th year.

Buy Tickets


Havana Film Festival 40-Year Retrospective: Lucía (part of Artes de Cuba)

Sat, May 12, 2018, 7:30 PM

Part of a day of "classics of Cuban cinema," this is one of six films that Ivan Giroud, president of the Havana Film Festival, has selected to highlight the history of the festival, now in its 40th year.

Buy Tickets


Piano Marathon featuring Aldo López-Gavilán and Jorge Luis Pacheco (part of Artes de Cuba)

Sat, May 12, 2018, 7:30 PM

Two of Cuba’s premier jazz pianists join forces for a singular concert. Aldo López-Gavilán excels in both the classical and jazz worlds as a soloist, recitalist, and composer, while Jorge Luis Pacheco is a fiery young pianist with “flying hands.”

Buy Tickets


Havana Film Festival 40-Year Retrospective: Fresa y Chocolate (part of Artes de Cuba)

Sun, May 13, 2018, 1:00 PM

Part of a day featuring festival awardees, this is one of six films that Ivan Giroud, president of the Havana Film Festival, has selected to highlight the history of the festival, now in its 40th year.

Buy Tickets


Havana Film Festival 40-Year Retrospective: Suite Habana (part of Artes de Cuba)

Sun, May 13, 2018, 4:00 PM

Part of a day featuring festival awardees, this is one of six films that Ivan Giroud, president of the Havana Film Festival, has selected to highlight the history of the festival, now in its 40th year.

Buy Tickets


Havana Film Festival 40-Year Retrospective: Conducta (part of Artes de Cuba)

Sun, May 13, 2018, 7:30 PM

Part of a day featuring festival awardees, this is one of six films that Ivan Giroud, president of the Havana Film Festival, has selected to highlight the history of the festival, now in its 40th year.

Buy Tickets


Aymée Nuviola with special guest Dr. Ed Calle (part of Artes de Cuba)

Sun, May 13, 2018, 7:30 PM

The Grammy®-nominated multi-genre artist will present her uptempo Cuban timba dance and delicately crafted ballads in a collaborative performance with 2015 Latin Grammy® winner Dr. Ed Calle, one of the most recorded saxophonists in history with almost 9,000 singles. 

Buy Tickets


Un Cubano y Un Yanqui: Nicolás and Langston—Two Poets, Two Worlds, One Friendship (part of Artes de Cuba)

Mon, May 14, 2018, 7:30 PM

Pulitzer Prize–winning Cuban American playwright Nilo Cruz and Pulitzer Prize–winning U.S. Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey examine the connection between two great jazz-age poets, Cuban Nicolás Guillén and American Langston Hughes.

Buy Tickets


Millennium Stage: La Dame Blanche (part of Artes de Cuba)

Tue, May 15, 2018, 6:00 PM

FREE, no tickets required! With her explosive mix of Hip Hop, nu cumbia, reggae, and Latin beats, Cuban singer, flutist, and percussionist Yaite Ramos—aka La Dame Blanche—delivers powerful and compelling sounds that summon the spirits. 


Compañía Irene Rodríguez (part of Artes de Cuba)

Tue, May 15, 2018, 7:30 PM

Focused on creating and exploring new avenues to evolve flamenco dance, the award-winning dancer and choreographer melds the fiery passion and exhilarating footwork of flamenco with a unique Afro-Cuban flair.

Buy Tickets


Millennium Stage: Dizzy Gillespie Afro-Cuban Experience (part of Artes de Cuba)

Wed, May 16, 2018, 6:00 PM

FREE, no tickets required! The Dizzy Gillespie Afro-Cuban Experience, a five-piece ensemble led by Dizzy Gillespie’s bassist John Lee, showcases the unique rhythms and well-loved melodies from Gillespie’s oeuvre of Cuban bebop, or Cu-Bop. 


Teatro El Público: The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant (part of Artes de Cuba)

May 16 - May 17, 2018

Carlos Díaz, one of Latin America’s most well-known theater directors, brings his uniquely post-modernist Cuban sensibility to this award-winning production of Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s work, in which the three main female characters are all played by male actors. In Spanish with English titles.

Buy Tickets


Haydée Milanés & Trio with guest artist Pablo Milanés (part of Artes de Cuba)

Wed, May 16, 2018, 8:00 PM

With a style described as shy, sultry, and jazzy, singer / pianist Haydée Milanés is an influential part of the Cuban fusion scene. Widely known as “Pablito,” her singer / songwriter / guitarist father is one of the founders of the Cuban nueva trova.

Buy Tickets


La Reyna y La Real (part of Artes de Cuba)

Thu, May 17

This musical duo explores the versatility of rap by merging it with other genres and styles with a Cuban flare. Their partnership aims to show a female image in a male-dominated genre.

Buy Tickets


Millennium Stage: Cuba Goes Tap by Keyla Orozco featuring Max Pollack (part of Artes de Cuba)

Fri, May 18, 2018, 6:00 PM

FREE, no tickets required! Created by Cuban Dutch composer Keyla Orozco and featuring acclaimed tap-dancer Max Pollack, Cuba Goes Tap merges American rhythm tap with Afro-Cuban music and dance. 


Dafnis Prieto (part of Artes de Cuba)

Fri, May 18

This Cuban percussionist’s revolutionary drumming techniques and compositions have had a powerful impact on the Latin and jazz music scenes, transposing elements from his Afro-Cuban musical heritage incorporating congas, timbales, rumba, and son.

Buy Tickets


The López-Nussa Family (part of Artes de Cuba)

Fri, May 18, 2018, 7:30 PM

In a rare joint performance, the López-Nussa Family--Harold (pianist), Ernan (pianist), Ruy (percussionist), and Ruy Adrian (drummer)--will showcase their impressive artistry.

Buy Tickets


Argos Teatro: 10 Million (part of Artes de Cuba)

May 19 - May 20, 2018

This autobiographical theater piece, by Argos Teatro’s multi-award-winning founder Carlos Celdrán, depicts his experience as a child and adolescent in Cuba, navigating his relationship with his parents, his links with history, and the tumultuous events that shaped his life. In Spanish with English titles.

Buy Tickets


Los Van Van (part of Artes de Cuba)

Sat, May 19, 2018, 8:00 PM

One of the most recognized musical groups in Cuba today. these Latin Grammy® winners are known for their fusion of son montuno, rumba, funk, disco, Hip Hop, salsa, North American pop, and more.

Buy Tickets


Millennium Stage: Tiempo Libre (part of Artes de Cuba)

Sun, May 20, 2018, 6:00 PM

FREE, no tickets required! These Grammy®-nominated modern heirs to Cuba's rich musical tradition are celebrated for their sophisticated timba music, a dance-inducing mix of Latin jazz and Cuban son. 


Ballet Nacional de Cuba: Don Quixote / Giselle (part of Artes de Cuba)

May 29 - Jun 3, 2018

Known as the highest expression of the Cuban school of ballet, the company brings two full-evening signature classics by Artistic Director Alicia Alonso.



 

Buy Tickets