CubaCon

Cuban Art and Culture Conference

in Provincetown Massachusetts

 

Cuban art and culture conference wrap up

cuba conference

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.

galeria cubana

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. 

CubaCon... someday

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 Working Group.

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 Havana.

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 the past.

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 Day