A Cuban State of Mind

The First Presbyterian Church in the City of New York presents


March 2 through April 30, 2017
Gallery: Open on Thursdays from 1-6 p.m., Sundays before and after worship, and by special appointment. If you wish to purchase a piece of art from the gallery, please contact Nicole Stansifer at nstansifer@fpcnyc.org.

Purchase tickets to Melvis Santa here.

Cubanstateofmind This spring, Art at First is holding a special series focused on Cuba. Through an art exhibit, panel discussions, concerts and a film screening, the series provides the community a unique opportunity to gain a deeper appreciation of Cuban culture. Premier Cuban visual artists, musicians, filmmakers, and educators are being highlighted. Program curator, Jorge Moya, says “the efforts of this remarkable congregation allow us to share the great achievements of this group of artists, as well as their impact on the New York contemporary art scene.”

A Cuban State of Mind opened with the art exhibition, “Origin and Circumstances” on view through April 30. The gallery showcases paintings, drawings, photographs, and mixed media works by five US-based Cuban artists reflecting on Cuban history and contemporary culture. Included in the exhibition are paintings and watercolors by Ariel Cabrera Montejo, drawings by Jairo Alfonso, photographs by Giorgio Viera, paintings by Geandy Pavón, and sculptures by Armando Guiller.

“Origin and Circumstances” explores what it is like to be an emigrant and an artist, and what a change of country and environment implies for those whose works are inspired by their origins and circumstances. Art critic and curator Meyken Baretto states, “In many different ways these artists carry the weight of their past, their memories and their culture.”

thumbnail_Evite_MelvisA Cuban State of Mind also features music performances by Cuban artists. Coming up on April 30 at 4pm, Cuban vocalist, pianist, Afro Cuban dancer, and actress Melvis Santa will give a special concert with piano and batá drums. Known for her creative artistry, Santa made her debut on the musical scene when she founded the group Sexto Sentido, heralded by jazz legend Chucho Valdés as “the best Cuban vocal quartet of the past 30 years.” The New York Times defines her style as “possessing 70`s soul underpinnings, yet belonging to the Afro Cuban musical traditions.”

Through the Cuba Program of the Outreach and Service Ministry, First Presbyterian is dedicated to partnering with the Cuban people and have established an official partnership with the Taguasco Reformed Presbyterian Church. This special series is an extension of that mission.

Past events related to the series:
On March 12 pianist and composer David Virelles performed Lineage, a program dedicated to the legacy of the Cuban piano. From the danzon to the new sounds of Afro-Cuban jazz, the performer took the audience through the different periods that defined the idiom of this instrument on the island.

On April 2 FPCNYC hosted a film screening of Patria O Muerte, a vivid portrait of contemporary Cuba, directed by Olatz López Garmendia and executive produced by Julian Schnabel. The screening was followed by a panel discussion with Professor José C. Moya from Columbia University, the film’s producer, Miguel Sirgado, and Gerardo Muñoz from Princeton University.