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 Murals & Mosaics: Community Projects Tour, Havana tour

Murals & Mosaics: Community Projects Tour

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Cuba is a country rich in culture and community. After decades of struggle since the US embargo, locals have looked to each other for support, and used art as a way to express both their hopes and frustrations. On this Havana art tour, we’ll meet some of the people who are committed to making their local communities better, while learning about the different arts projects that are breathing life into their neighbourhoods.

Highlights:
  • Visit three unique community projects in Havana to learn how art is being used to combat societal problems
  • Discover amazing local art in communities on the outskirts of Havana, including an entire neighbourhood decorated in mosaic and inspired by Gaudi
  • Chat with the people who live in these communities and learn about their passion for local art
  • Enjoy a special live musical performance and traditional Cuban meal

Local Impact: How you will help the local community by joining this tour:

 

  • You will visit 3 community projects, all run by local people aimed at combating social problems in Havana.
  • Urban Adventures does not profit from this tour, 100% of your tour fee is donated to the 3 projects we visit; a music and dance school for local youths, a training program for young artists and a local school.

Tour style:Art Tour ; Responsible Tour
Inclusions:Local English-speaking guide, transportation to all included activities, lunch, special drink.
Exclusions:Additional food and drinks, souvenirs and personal shopping, tips/gratuities for your guide, transportation to/from meeting point/end point.
Group size:Maximum 12
Schedule details:
  • Duration:3.5 hours
  • Meeting point:

    La Gargola Guesthouse, 82 Calle Cuba (between Cuarteles and Chacon streets), first floor (up the stairs, blue door).

    View on Google Maps

  • Start time: 10.00 AM
  • Finish point:

    La Gargola Guesthouse


Additional information :
  • Voucher exchange details:Please present this voucher to your guide at the beginning of your tour. Save this email on your phone or tablet, or print a copy, as you will need to show this to join the trip.
  • Confirmation of booking: If you have your voucher, your booking is confirmed. We'll see you at the start point. Get in touch if you have any concerns or require more information via the email address or phone number (business hours only) on your voucher.
  • Dress standard: Please bring water and proper sun protection. If you would like to donate art supplies (paint, brushes, crayons, markers, pencils, etc.), please feel free to bring some.
  • Child policy: This is a child-friendly tour. Children between the ages of 6 and 11 inclusively are permitted on this tour at the rate listed above. Please select ‘child’ above when booking. Children under the age of 6 are permitted to join this tour free of charge. Please inform us at the time of booking if you’ll be bringing a child under the age of 6. You can do so in the special request box on the checkout page.
  • Language: English

Also runs from:1 Jan 2020 to 31 Dec 2020

Itinerary:

Art is an important part of Cuban culture, and local artists have long used their works to express themselves amid political upheaval, economic struggles and cultural changes. This Havana tour explores the works of some of the country’s most renowned artists, who are using art projects to support and revitalise their communities.

We’ll start our Havana art tour with a walk through Barber’s Alley, an alleyway that’s home to a fantastic street art project, as well as various independently owned pubs and restaurants. It used to be that Cubans weren’t allowed to own their own businesses, but today, under new regulations, budding entrepreneurs are opening up shops in areas such as this alley.

As we wander, you’ll hear the story of local man Papito, who is the founder of this particular community project. Once a barber, Papito was concerned about the at-risk youth in his neighbourhood and wanted to give them the means to make a living and stay out of trouble. So, he gave them the opportunity to become barbers and hairdressers, by creating a school for the community. We’ll visit his house, which is still a barber shop, but also a museum with an exhibit on traditional hair services.

In addition to opening his school, Papito is also known for changing the face of “the ugliest street in Havana.” He encouraged his neighbours to help revitalise the alleyway by opening local private businesses that could bring revenue into the community. Papito recruited a popular young local artist, Yulier P., to paint the alleyway, featuring lots of artwork inspired by hairdressers.

We’ll then hop into a taxi or private bus (depending on the size of our group) and head to the eye-popping Fusterlandia in the Jaimanitas neighbourhood. This community project is by a successful local artist, Jose Fuster, who began decorating the houses in his neighbourhood with pieces of ceramic tiles. The project began in the ‘90s, during a serious economic crisis in Cuba, and what started as a few tiles has turned into one of the most intricate mosaic displays you’ll see anywhere. Inspired by the Spanish muralist Gaudi, Fuster is today considered the “Cuban Picasso,” and the displays he has created at Fusterlandia are truly mind-bending — Instagram alert! You’ll get to hear Fuster’s story and visit his intricately designed mosaic house and art gallery, and perhaps even meet a member of his family.

Lastly, we’ll drive to Muraleando in the Lawton neighbourhood. This cultural program features a group of local artists and is directed by Manuel Mario Diaz Baldrich, with different workshops and activities for children, teenagers and the elderly. Locals can sign up for sessions covering music, dance, theatre, painting, ceramics and sculpture out of recycled materials. Take a look around and you’ll find wall murals around the neighbourhood from locals and visiting artists — even a piece by “Peanuts” creator Charles Schulz! After touring the community with one of the residents, we’ll enjoy some live music by a local band along with a traditional Cuban lunch and a special local drink.

Our tour will end back where we started, but before you go, be sure to ask your local guide for other tips on things to see and do in Havana.


Your trip:

For your Urban Adventure you will be in a small group of a maximum of 12 people.

Tipping:

If you are happy with the services provided by your local guides a tip — though not compulsory — is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it is of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many Intrepid Urban Adventures destinations. Please consider this when budgeting for your extra expenses on this tour.