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Photography curtesy of the artist

Community arts project celebrating Havana’s 500 anniversary, 2019
La Ceiba, La Habana, Cuba

About the project

November 16, 2019 marked the 500th anniversary of Havana’s foundation under the name of Villa de San Cristóbal de La Habana. A history that is evident in its people, its architecture, avenues and stately buildings which were gradually decorated and ‘‘reborn’’ thanks to an ambitious rehabilitation plan for the city, full of vitality, culture and art.  

This artist-led community arts project in La Ceiba neighborhood, involved a kid’s mural, art making with youngsters and neighborhood residents while incorporating local history. Through the arts neighborhood children explored, imagined and created their community of the future with drawings, painting and design using cardboard, foam shapes and other fun materials. Neighbors came together to collect trash and clean overgrown brush and plant shrubbery. La Ceiba is a neighborhood in Havana named after a majestic and grand tree, which symbolizes wisdom, greatness and endurance.

The weeklong events concluded with celebration, the inauguration of the mural, music, art making and an inspiring presentation by Dr. Jose Duran, historian and author who lives and works in this municipality and shared with participants the local history of this particular neighborhood.  Place making and bringing people together contributed to the community’s pride and offered residents an opportunity to play a part in the enhancement of their own neighborhood. We celebrated community and history, along with thousands of Cubans that make Havana their home.

Special thanks to everyone who made this project a reality, my family, the residents of La Playa neighborhood, friends from Washington D.C., New York, Atlanta and Miami.