New Haven Arts, cultural group leading in Havana, Cuba Jazz Festival

NEW HAVEN, CT —Underlining the first part of its name, nine members of the New Haven International Festival of Arts and Ideas set off on a “cultural exchange trip” to the Havana Jazz Festival from January through January 23.

At the invitation of Cuba’s Minister of Culture, in partnership with renowned jazz pianist and former Festival performer Nachito Herrera, the festival invited staff, the board of directors and other arts organizations to Cuba.

Of these, nine people will travel to Havana.

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“Thanks to a long relationship with renowned pianist Nachito Herrera and his manager and wife Aurora Gonzalez, I was delighted to be invited as their special guest at the Havana Jazz Festival,” said Shelley Quiala, Director festival executive. “I was also thrilled to be invited to bring New Haven arts and culture professionals and supporters to join the Minnesota delegation.”

The group will participate in a cultural exchange by exploring the rich cultural heritage of Havana through guided tours, meetings and an evening participation in the famous Havana Jazz Festival. The trip features a fully planned itinerary; all guests paid their own way. The group will visit museums including the Ernest Hemingway Museum, the National Museum of Music, Fidel Castro’s Centro de Altos Estudios; engage in encounters with cultural groups like Fabrica de Arte; and participate in workshops with Herrera and other Cuban artists.

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“We will be in communion with Cubans who love and honor musical and artistic skills, just as the members of our delegation do,” Quiala said.

“Having New Haveners be part of this international artistic experience is exactly the kind of opportunity the Festival will seek to develop,” she said. “Our expression, love and appreciation for the arts is such a deeply human part of us. What better way to express that humanity than to be welcomed to a neighboring country to share the joy of its cultural heritage?”

In addition to collaborating artistically, the delegation will distribute musical instruments and medical and cleaning supplies donated by individuals and the Minnesota-based NGO MATTER.

To date, the partnership between MATTER, Herrera and Gonzalez has delivered more than 130,000 pounds of medical supplies to Havana to support the island’s medical staff and services. Musical instruments were also delivered to the Havana school Amadeo Roldan.

Alongside Arts & Ideas festival staff Lisa Dent, Executive Director of Artspace, Brianna Williams, Head of Visitor Services and Operations at Creative Arts Workshop, Community Leader and Philanthropist Elsie Chapman, and Visitor Retention Specialist New Haven public school students and festival board member Michael Twitty travels to Cuba for the cultural exchange.

“Our world is a melting pot of diversity, and we can be enriched by each visit to exchange ideas, share our stories, and recognize that no matter how far apart our great city of New Haven is from theirs, we all have commonalities that will unite us together to make this world a better place for all,” Twitty said.

Herrera will open and close the Havana Jazz Festival and actively shape the experiences of the Festival delegation in Cuba.

Festival executive assistant and jazz musician Cliff Schloss said he was “delighted to join his colleagues and neighbors in buying a ticket to Cuba.”

“I feel beyond lucky to have the opportunity to represent the Festival and our country and to connect with the Cuban people,” he said. “I can’t wait to experience the power and beauty of Afro-Cuban music and culture.”

The group will return to Elm City with new ideas, new cultural connections, and an international perspective on New Haven’s role in the world. In addition to using this opportunity to bring new artistic ideas and collaborations to Arts & Ideas, the Festival plans to document the experience. Staff members will support the Festival’s Instagram account (@artsideasct) so that New Haveners can experience the Jazz Festival alongside them.

This trip is the first of several cultural exchange trips planned for the Festival. “I envision a future for the Festival in which we bring delegations together to exchange and share our passion for performance art across the world with fewer barriers to joining us,” Quiala said.

About the International Festival of Arts and Ideas

The International Festival of Arts and Ideas is a year-round organization culminating in an annual celebration of the performing arts, lectures and conversations each summer in New Haven, Connecticut. The Festival brings together leading artists, thought leaders and innovators from around the world for dynamic public programs aimed at engaging, entertaining and inspiring a diversity of communities.

Rethinking community. Honor the Earth. Embrace your roots. Meet new neighbors. Baila en la calle. Break the fourth wall. Learn something new. Read the future. Connect to the Festival, and connect everything. May 4-June 26, 2022.

The 2022 Festival will take place virtually and in open spaces in downtown New Haven, in the heart of the Northeast Corridor, two and a half hours south of Boston and 90 minutes north of New York.

The Festival was established in 1996 by Anne Calabresi, Jean M. Handley and Roslyn Meyer, who envisioned an annual celebration in New Haven, a city steeped in a rich array of cultural and educational traditions, which differs from other arts festivals in its merger. arts with events centered on the sharing of ideas.

The Festival is presented with major support from Yale University, the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven, the Connecticut Office of the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, and Connecticut Humanities, a nonprofit affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, with additional support from the City of New Haven, the Avangrid Foundation in partnership with United Illuminating and Southern CT Gas, media sponsor Connecticut Public, and our generous community of individual supporters.

Willie J. Johnson