Cuban art and culture conference wrap up
by Rob Sequin | Conference Organizer
I think the Presenters and attendees would agree with
me when I say that CubaCon 2010 was a great success for those who came for the information, Cuban art,
entertainment and networking. We certainly offered a full agenda over the course of four days.
Opening night at Galería Cubana
The opening night reception at Galería Cubana had a good
turn out and gallery owner Michelle Wojcik was a gracious host. Thanks to Provincetown Magazine for providing the appetizers and drinks. Michelle has a
fantastic collection of very interesting Cuban art for sale at her Provincetown and Boston Cuban art
galleries. We are grateful to her for hosting the opening night reception.
On opening day on Friday, Cuban Culture Day was well attended as you can see.
Just kidding. This isn’t a photo of the audience… maybe next year. We had a good turnout with most of the 70+
registered attendees enjoying the conference.
Mavis Anderson of the Latin America Working Group started the
morning with an update on current US Cuba relations along with an update on HR 4645 that is designed to help US
agriculture sales to Cuba and lift travel restrictions for all US citizens who wish to travel to Cuba. Mavis is a
great speaker and works tirelessly for our right to travel to Cuba. I support her work and the Latin America
The next session was really special. Everyone in the audience had a moment to introduce themselves,
talk about their interests, organization or company and this gave everyone else in the room the opportunity to
“meet” everyone else. I must say I was VERY impressed with the quality of the attendees in the audience. Many of
them could have been presenters themselves.
Then we went right into lunch and this gives me the opportunity to thank our host venue the
Crown and Anchor in Provincetown. From my first meeting with the
management of the venue, way back in December all the way through to today with lunch, the Crown and Anchor has
been extremely accommodating, welcoming and a fantastic conference venue host.
So, since everyone just “met” everyone else in the room, lunch was a huge networking success. We
had great weather and many people sat outside near the pool overlooking the beach and Provincetown harbor.
Sorry you missed the event? Well, read on… we're only half way into the first day.
Rick Schwag of the Caribbean Medical Transport stirred things
up a bit since Rick shared many examples of his experiences shipping containers of medical supplies to Cuba. He had
some unflattering comments about the Cuban government and some people in the audience felt compelled to have a
frank discussion with him. We were fortunate to have a woman from the University of Havana in the audience who
offered her comments on Rick’s experience.
Once Rick’s session was over, we moved on from politics to more of a focus
on culture with a fantastic presentation by author Dick Cluster with his history of Havana
slideshow going back to the 1500s. You can tell that Dick lives and breathes Cuba since he was in attendance
from the opening night reception all the way through Cuba movie day… a real Cuba lover and I strongly suggest that
you buy his book, History of
Moving on, Captain Peter Swanson offered an insightful look into the Cuban ports, harbors, marinas
and sailing routes one can enjoy today throughout the island of Cuba. Peter was interviewed by the
Cape Cod Times
just days before the conference and several people attended the conference just to hear him speak. Peter writes for
Soundings and other nautical magazines so be sure to watch for his articles and read his CubaCruising.net website.
Author Jeanne Lemkau offered her personal experiences in Cuba in the next presentation and she read
some very entertaining passages from her new book, Lost and Found in
Cuba. Jeanne has a subtle way of captivating her audience with the books that she writes.
The last session of the day featured a dual presentation regarding legal travel to Cuba. Jerry
Guidera from the Center for Cross Cultural Study spoke about his history of
offering educational trips to Cuba and the current obstacles within the Obama Administration that restricts
educational tours to Cuba for US citizens. Remember folks that ALL other countries in the world allow their
citizens to travel to Cuba but we have to ask permission to go to Cuba for any reason. This is a free country
right? Sorry, back to the wrap up...
Maria Lopez of the Cuban Artists Fund talked about
hosting cultural trips to Cuba and mentioned several of the Provincetown organizations that she brought to Cuba in
Both presenters are very knowledgeable about their specialty tours to Cuba and are preparing for
the time when travel to Cuba is legal again.
I would like to thank Cape Air for their sponsorship of this Legal Travel to Cuba session.
So, that's one heck of a day for Cuba lovers but it wasn't over yet. Unfortunately I was not able
to attend the Havana photo exhibit hosted by Judy Jalbert of IONA Print Studio.
Judy is a professional photographer and print maker who recently traveled to Havana for the first time. Like many
Cuba lovers, and especially photographers, she was immediately captivated by the scenes of Havana. I understand I
missed some garlic mojito hotdogs and that about 100 people came by her studio… not sure if they were there for
the photos or for the hotdogs though :-)
Page 2 -- Cuban Art Day and Cuba Movie