ANNA MARIA ISLAND – After nearly two years of planning and navigating considerable logistical challenges, Sarasota artist Jean Blackburn has finally been able to assemble her long-envisioned exhibition of Cuban artists. Cuba Awakening, an exhibit of contemporary and folk art from Eastern Cuba, will be showing at the Studio at Gulf and Pine on Anna Maria Island from March 28 through April 23, with an opening reception on April 11, from 6 p.m. - 9 p.m.
Since the early 1960s relations with Cuba have been difficult; artists and those with a passion for the arts on both sides of the Florida straits have suffered from a lack of meaningful artistic exchanges. Jean went to Cuba to discover for herself the art scene there and to meet with Cuban artists and share her art with them.
Her subsequent visits redeﬁned the way she views Cuba and the artists who long to share their regional artistic identity and unique cultural diversity with others. With the help of the Friendship Association of St. Augustine, Florida, Jean managed to gather the resources necessary to arrange a ground-breaking exhibition of artists living in eastern Cuba.
Sarasota artist, Craig Rubadoux, charged with the ﬁnal selection for the exhibit went to Cuba and brought back over ﬁfty original works. 24 well-known and emerging artists from Santiago de Cuba, Guantanamo, Baracoa, and Camaguey have been invited to share their art; some will visit the U.S. and be present for the opening reception on April 11.
For too long, art in Florida and Cuba has suffered from a lack of meaningful artistic exchange. Through a range of genres and mediums, these works give insight into the culture, politics and religion of Cuba. Indeed, this exhibit might redeﬁne the way you view the island country just 90 miles from Florida's shores.
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