Exploring Cuba’s Art and Culture Scene

A defining characteristic of Cuba is the distinct role that art, music, food and dance play in its culture. Located in the heart of the Caribbean, Cuba is also graced with white-sandy beaches and warm weather year round, but what makes this island stand out among the rest is its unique history, and rich sense of artistic expression.

Art

Artistic expression is glittered throughout the streets of Cuba. There are wall mural paintings, statues and art figures along the streets and in quartyards, and many museums for viewing the fine art the country has produced. The F.A.C or Fábrica Arte Cubano is the most popular one, and I can see why. This museum has such unique art pieces that you just have to go see for yourself. Even if you are not typically a museum-goer, this museum is a must for when you visit Cuba. The Havana Museum, National Museum of Fine Arts and the museums of Che Guevara are other notable museums.

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Cuban Architecture

Cuban architecture is one of the aspects that make the city unique. Although Cuba is considered to be behind the 8-ball these days, so much so that it feels like going back in time with the classic cars and old-age technologies, Cuba was thriving at the turn of the 20th century. They were formally extravagant in style, especially with their architecture which reflects the Spanish-colonial era with buildings that feature elaborate detailing, large doors, and narrowed streets. Many of the churches reflect the architectural style, and I would recommend you stop by a few of these buildings to appreciate the history behind it.

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Cuban Music & Entertainment

Cubanos are very lively people, who appreciate a good song and dance. Whether you are going to a Tropicana show or are just walking along the market and a band begins to play, the music is everywhere. The musical style is very Spanish influenced, much like their architecture and food. It’s very acoustic based with upbeat songs and a lot of flamboyant dancing. Cuba is also big in theater, and loves the performing arts. In the US, movies and movie theaters have largely overwhelmed the scene for live shows, but in Cuba the desire and demand is very much alive.

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Street Life

Walking along the streets of Old Havana, you will find many street vendors with fruit and foods sold, people selling souvenirs and handmade gifts, and women dressed up in fancy dresses. When walking along the streets, most of what you see is a form of income for Cubans. If you are wanting to take a photo of the woman dressed up, there is a cost, and if you look at the art or the food for sale they will try to persuade you to purchase something. It’s certainly a large part of their culture because for many, selling on the street is a part of their livelihood.

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