Upon my arrival to Havana, it quickly became clear that Cuba is not an easy place to navigate for a foreigner, much less if you don’t speak Spanish. During my stay at Unpack Studio Havana Art Residency they arranged studio visits with artists’ whose work was relevant to my own, planned excursions outside of the city, and organized meetings with some of the country’s most prominent curators.
Having participated in other residency programs, I was particularly struck by how carefully tailored this program was to my specific needs. The organizers are exceptionally good at, and put great effort into, understanding your logistical needs, working methods, and professional trajectory. They functioned as well-connected fixers, mentors, translators, and guides. Need a boat in a country where private boat ownership is more or less illegal? Need to find an outpost of Havana’s DIY (and also illegal) intranet? These guys can make anything happen.
If you are an artist wishing to produce work in Cuba, I couldn’t recommend this program any more highly. It’s a great deal, and you’ll be well taken care of while still getting an experience that takes you far off the tourist track.
Assistant Professor of Photo Media
School of Art, Design and Creative Industries
Wichita State University