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Arts & Culture

Cuba’s National Art Schools


The idea for Cuba’s National Art Schools Escuelas Nacionales de Arte (Instituto Superior de Arte (ISA), was born over a golf game between Fidel Castro and Che Guevara at the Havana Country Club. Fidel and Che imagined a grand school for the arts on the beautiful landscape of the Club. The two discussed the dream and made plans to build the school. It would be the most marvelous school imaginable. In so many ways, it was. The Escuelas Nacionales de Arte housed five schools: the school of plastic arts, the school of modern dance, the ballet school, the music school and the school of dramatic arts. The architects Ricardo Porro, Roberto Gottardi, and Vittorio Garatti were hired for the project. They set forth to work on what was to be revolutionary architecture. It was a time of high-pitched creative energy. The architects’ ambition was to create a new form of architecture reflecting the Cuban revolution. The design would take into consideration the surrounding tropical landscape. It was to have open spaces and courtyards, colonnades, Catalan vaulting, curved windows, which let in the sky’s light, winding paths, tunnels and immense imagination. Because of the looming American embargo, which had already created a shortage…


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