On Air Now    11:00 PM - 01:00 PM
Up Next    11:00 PM - 01:00 PM

Connecting Cuba

Written by on Friday, July 24, 2015

connecting Cuba logoConnecting Cuba is one in a continuum World Culture Exhibition Series, A Sarasota Peace Center Initiative sponsored in part with grants from the Department of State Division of Cultural Affairs, the Florida Council of Arts and Culture and the State of Florida (Section 286 25, Florida Statute), and Arts and Cultural Alliance of Sarasota County.

Opening Exhibit

Friday, November 13, 2015 7-11pm $10 in advance, $12 at door

Viewing Hours Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday 11am-2pm

Additional Connecting Cuba Events

Salsa Dance Lessons

Sunday October 18, Sunday October 25 & Sunday November 8, 7pm $10 per person or $25 package

Panel Discussion

Monday November 30, 7pm – FREE

Cuban Music Workshop

Thursday December 3, 6pm $12 in advance, $15 at the door

Baseball and Cuba-USA Cold War Detente Presentation

Sunday December 6, 2-4pm FREE

​​Sarasota – Cuba Cultural Exchange Association meeting


bomb maker image

Work in progress for Kirk Ke Wang's installation show “sugar bomb”

Kirk Ke Wang

Featured Artist


Sugar Bomb One of my favorite childhood memories is the joy of tasting Cuban brown sugar during the cold war time in China. One day, my Mom brought home a bag and said: “This will be our last time eating Cuban sugar, because of the U.S. trade embargo.” I was very disappointed. Who would predict that 40 some years later, I savored Cuban brown sugar again in Havana!

Before taking the trip to Cuba this year, I was “brainwashed” that people in Cuba are all defiant proletarian monsters, living in a depressed life, and they hate America and the bourgeoisies. How wrong I was. I found Cuban people are indeed poor yet seemly, dignified and happy. They like Americans and their materialistic stuff! I had the same wrong impressions when I first arrived in America 27 years ago. Through the propaganda of Mao’s era, I was told that America is a war thirsty, selfish and profit-driven society. Yet I met so many loving and compassionate individuals in my life here. FDR was right: the only thing we have to fear is fear itself. My Cuban trip inspired the concept of this installation: the love-hate relationship between opposite or different societies. Each side wants to benefit politically and culturally with persuasion, influence, and propaganda. During China’s cultural revolution, Western lifestyle was labeled as a “sugar coated bomb… But eventually the sugar bomb blasted the ascetic gate wide open! I sculpted many “bombs” made of Cuban brown sugar that I “smuggled” in, tobacco leaves, Trayvon Martin’s Skittle candies in Chinese containers, American-made “High Life” beer bottles, erotic icons, as well as materials of cultural identity. Those bombs shower down as we are attacked, with their red trajectory pointing at the school chairs flying into the wall. Via earphones connected to the chair, audience can secretly listen to revolutionary propaganda songs, while the pro-western romantic songs that I recorded at the park in Havana are playing… I hope the paradox and irony of “bombs” made of “sweets” would instigate a debate about our mental state of fear in today’s seemly dangerous world. What about things that appear lethal yet taste good? What about real threats disguised under the sweetness? Should we fear?

Kirk Ke Wang, Professor of Visual Arts of Eckerd College, is a painter, sculptor, photographer, mixed media artist, as well as an educational software developer. He was born in Shanghai, China. At age 16, he entered the Nanjing Normal University in China for his BFA and MFA studies. Wang started his teaching at the same university after graduation. In 1984, Wang won the bronze medal for the 6th National Exhibition of Fine Art one of the major national art competitions in China. As a result, he was granted the opportunity to study in the U.S. In 1986, Wang moved to Tampa, Florida as an exchange scholar at the University of South Florida. Later, he completed his second MFA from USF. After graduation, Wang was appointed as the art director of a design firm and designed many projects for Disney World, MGM Studio, Sea World, and Busch Gardens, etc. In early 1990s, Wang taught at the Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota. He joined Eckerd College in the fall of 1993. Wang maintains a studio in Tampa Florida, as well as in Shanghai and NYC.

Opening Exhibit Music Provided by Proyecto Son


Featuring world class Cuban Tres Player Renesito Avich, Mauricio Rodriguez on Bass, David Atanacio on Percussion and Vocals, Tony Mattei on Trumpet, Max Kelly on percussion, and Frankie Pineiro on Conga Drums bringing back the sounds of Arcenio Rodriguez, Ignacio Pineiro and Chapotin among other pioneers of traditional Son, the quintessential Afro-Cuban musical form referring both to a singing and dancing style.

wayne eastep

HAVANA 2008 The Evolutionary Moment

Wayne Eastep

Wayne Eastep’s photography is driven by a curiosity about people and a passion for culture. Books produced by Wayne include The Soul of Kazakhstan, Bedouin, The Living Seas, Last Blast at Wethersfild, The Wonders of Life. Some clients for whom Wayne has worked for include, National Geographic, Smithsonian, Nikon, GE-Monogram, ExxonMobil, Nautica, Amerada Hess, United Technologies, Polaroid, UPS, Olympus, Met Life, Canon, AT&T, Partagas/Macanudo, Humana.



Amigos, photograph by Julio Larramendi

Julio Larramendi

Julio Larramendi holds a Masters degree in Applied Sciences from Havana University. He was chosen by Cuba-Foto magazine among the 100 best photographers of the 20th Century. The Julio Larramendi Gallery was inaugurated at the Conde de Villanueva Hotel in November 2003, and awarded with national prizes for his photography at Espacio 2003 and Homenaje a Compay Segundo and for his work on the Habaguanex S.A. advertising campaign. He is a member of the Union de Escritores y Artistas de Cuba, Union de Periodistas de Cuba, FIAP Asociacion Cubana de Comunicadores Sociales, Chairman of the Grupo Gestor de la Asociasion Cubana de la Imagen de la Naturaleza, presides the Catedra de la Faculted de Fotografia Latinoamericana del Instituto Internacional de Periodismo



Dawn, Photograph by Chip Cooper

Chip Cooper

“Most of my career has been devoted to photographing a sense of place. Through the numerous shows and photography books I have done, I have tried to define the South. I have used landscapes, details, and abstracts, as well as people, to help tell the story. I have just completed a book, Habana Vieja, about Old Havana, Cuba. Through that process, I discovered that Walker Evans, before he did his famous Alabama work,Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, photographed in Havana, developing his style for defining sense of place. He has been an inspiration for much of my work.” Chip Cooper was the Director of Photography for the University of Alabama for 33 years and is now artist in residence in the Honors College, as well as a faculty member in Arts & Sciences. He received his BA from the University in 1972, followed by post-graduate work in photography. Cooper won an award of excellence for his book, Silent in the Land, fromCommunication Arts Magazine, and is a past recipient of an Artist Fellowship from the Alabama State Council on the Arts. He has shown his work nationally and internationally, and his work is in many museums, and private and corporate collections.


Tim Flamboe

Born and raised in Detroit MI, cars have been my passion since racing quarter midgets as a six year old. My Art career started at nine years old by drawing rat-fink cartoons on neighborhood kid’s t-shirts for a buck. Almost forty years later, I am now Graphic Manager for a major U.S. combat command.

Tim holds Master of Art degree in llustration/Graphic Design from Savannah College of Art and Design, a BA in Visual Art at Eckerd College in St Petersburg, Fl., an AS in Commercial Art from Oakland Community College, and studied three years at College of Creative Studies in Detroit, MI.


Photographs by Lynne Buchanan

In 2014, I visited artists, dancers, museum directors, musicians, architects and city planners in Cuba with Cross Cultural Journeys. Provinces visited included Santiago, Guantanamo, Baracoa, and Havana. The purpose of my project was to document and connect with the culture and spirit of the people before the doors are fully opened to the United States and development. Cuba on the Brink of Change, a catalog of photographs from this trip is available on Magcloud.

Lynne is an award-winning photographer and writer from Sarasota who now resides in Micanopy, Florida. She has exhibited frequently throughout Florida in both solo and group shows. Her exhibition Cuba on the Brink of Change is currently on view at the South Florida Museum in Bradenton. In February, the South Florida Museum will feature a solo exhibition of her photographs made while working with water advocates around the state.


lynn image 1

lynn image 2

Peter Bjarkman

Peter Bjarkman

Author and Cuban Baseball Historian, Peter Bjarkman has traveled extensively in Cuba for nearly twenty years and has followed the Cuba national team to dozens of international tournaments across North America, Latin America, Europe and Asia. Peter is a foremost expert on post-revolution Cuban Baseball.

Peter’s upcoming presentation at Fogartyville will go into detail how and why the recent illegal flight of hundreds of Cuban Baseball players from their homeland holds equally as many potentially disastrous consequences for the multi-billion-dollar business of U.S Major League Baseball as it does for Cuba’s own now-faltering national pastime.


Robert E. Hueter, Ph.D.

Associate Vice President for Research, Directorate of Marine Biology and Conservation, Perry W. Gilbert Chair in Shark Research, Director of the Center for Shark Research Mote Marine Laboratory.


Shark Tracking

Sharks gained new protection in Cuban waters on Oct. 21, when the Cuban government released its National Plan of Action for Sharks with the goals of conservation and sustainable management of these ecologically and economically important fishes. Scientists from Mote Marine Laboratory who participated in the plan’s development are praising this major, collaborative step forward for shark and ray conservation in Cuban waters — a major area of focus for Mote’s Center for Shark Research.

A rare Long-fin Mako Shark that was satellite-tagged during our February expedition later “phoned home” near the U.S. coast, demonstrating how sharks can move across international boundaries.

Later this year, there were a couple of exciting updates in Cuba research and conservation.

This expedition allowed Mote scientists and their Cuban and U.S. colleagues to place the first satellite transmitter tags on sharks in Cuban waters, conduct the first coral transplant experiment on a Cuban reef and more. The expedition appeared on Discovery’s “Shark Week” this summer.

Continue reading