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  • Tuesday, November 12 - Friday, November 15

  • Locations vary by event

  • All events are free (except the closing concert)

Three colleges from The City University of New York — Hostos Community College, John Jay College of Criminal Justice and The City College of New York — in collaboration with the School of Visual Arts will celebrate the 500th anniversary of the founding of the city of Havana, Cuba. Over the course of four days, the program will focus on four major themes: the founding and early history of La Habana; the rise of Cuban nationalism and the relationship between La Habana and New York City; the efforts to restore La Habana and establish a trajectory for future development; and the role of New York City, especially the Bronx, as an incubator of Cuban music. 

VENUES: 

Hostos Community College, 500 Grand Concourse, Bronx, NY
The City College of New York, 160 Convent Avenue, New York, NY
John Jay College, 524 West 59 Street, New York, NY

Note that venue changes by event.

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 12

6:00pm | Suite Habana Screening and Panel Discussion

Suite Habana (2003), Fernando Pérez, film director. Post-screening panelists: Sonja E. Gandert and Marta Gutman; panel moderator: Jerry Carlson
The City College of New York | Sciame Auditorium (room 107), Bernard and Anne Spitzer School of Architecture, 141 Convent Avenue, Manhattan 

A documentary focusing on a day in the lives of 13 habaneros, from a 10-year-old boy with Down syndrome, to a ballet dancer, to a 79-year-old lady who sells peanuts on the street. The film has no dialogue, using sound and images to evoke emotional effect. Variety called it "a lyrical, meticulously crafted and…melancholy homage to the battered but resilient inhabitants of a battered but resilient city."

Sonja E. Gandert is a Ph.D. student in art history at the Graduate Center, CUNY, where she researches Latinx and Latin American art. In 2017, at Casa de las Américas, in Havana, she curated the exhibition "Movimientos en intersección: Rastros de protesta en #BlackLivesMattter, #NoDAPL, y lxs DREAMers," as part of Casa Tomada, a gathering of young Latin American creators and activists.

Marta Gutman, professor at the Spitzer School of Architecture of City College of New York, is an architect and architectural and urban historian. She also teaches at the Graduate Center, CUNY. She is the author of the prize-winning A City for Children: Women, Architecture, and the Charitable Landscapes of Oakland, 1850-1950. Gutman is a founding editor of PLATFORM, an open forum for conversations about buildings, cities, landscapes, politics and history.

Jerry Carlson, moderator, is chairperson and professor at the Department of Media Communication Arts, The City College of New York, CUNY. He is a specialist in narrative theory, global independent film and the cinemas of the Americas. At the CUNY Graduate Center, he is a member of the doctoral faculties of French, Film Studies and Comparative Literature and a Senior Fellow at the Bildner Center for Western Hemispheric Studies.

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 13

4:00 – 6:00pm | The 500-Year Arc of La Habana’s History (opening event)
Panel discussion with Alejandro de la Fuente and Dick Cluster; Hal Klepak, panel moderator
6:00pm | Reception
Hostos Community College | Longwood Art Gallery @ Hostos, 450 Grand Concourse, Bronx

Alejandro de la Fuente, professor of Latin American history and economics at Harvard University, is the author of Havana and the Atlantic in the XVIth Century, perhaps the definitive book on the subject. De la Fuente will examine the early years of the sleepy Villa de San Cristóbal de La Habana, as it was officially known, and its improbable transformation into the hub of the Spanish Empire.

Dick Cluster is a widely published writer and translator of fiction, history, economics, politics and culture. Co-author with Rafael Hernández of History of Havana, which has been characterized as “a beautifully written…account of the extraordinary human dimensions of an extraordinary people.” Cluster will focus on the achievements and character of habaneros over the last five centuries.

Hal Klepak is a historian, lecturer, professor emeritus at the Royal Military College of Canada and former president of the UN-mandated University for Peace in Costa Rica. He is the author of the critically acclaimed Raúl Castro and Cuba, a Military Story and Churchill Comes of Age, Cuba 1895.

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 14

2:00 – 4:00pm | The Bronx: Incubator of Cuban Music
Walking tour guided by Elena Martínez
Starts at Hunts Point subway station (6 train), Bronx, at the plaza above the elevator

Folklorist Elena Martínez (City Lore, Bronx Music Heritage Center) will conduct a walking tour and discussion of the role of the South Bronx as a hotbed of Latin music, in which Cuban and Puerto Rican musicians took the leading role. The tour will include many of the old venues for this music and a stop at Casa Amadeo, the oldest continuously operating Latin music store in New York City, where proprietor Mike Amadeo will share stories about the Latin music scene in the Bronx. Participation is limited.; to register, call 718.518.4410.

6:00 – 8:00pm | The Restoration of La Habana: Accomplishments, Projections
Panel discussion with Miguel Coyula, Guadalupe García, Belmont Freeman and Herman Portocarero; panel moderator, Marta Gutman
The City College of New York | Sciame Auditorium (room 107), Bernard and Anne Spitzer School of Architecture, 141 Convent Avenue, Manhattan

Miguel Coyula is a former executive at the Group for Integrated Development of the Capital, the leading Cuban government think tank that advises the Havana government on issues of urban development. Since 2001, he has lectured widely at over 20 universities and research institutions throughout Latin America, the United States and Europe.

Guadalupe García, associate professor of history, Department of History, Tulane University, specializes in colonial Latin America and the Caribbean. She is the author of Beyond the Walled City: Colonial Exclusion in Havana and co-editor of Imprints of Revolution: Visual Representations of Resistance. Her research has examined the intersections of colonialism, empire and urban space in Havana.

Belmont Freeman is the founding principal of Belmont Freeman Architects, an award-winning design firm in New York City. He is an adjunct associate professor at Columbia University GSAPP and a columnist for the journal Places. An American of Cuban descent,  Freeman has done extensive research, writing and lecturing on the subject of Cuban architecture.

Herman Portocarero was the Belgian ambassador to Cuba from 1995 to 1999, and ambassador of the European Union to Cuba from 2012 to 2019. He is the author of Havana without Makeup, an acclaimed memoir/travelogue that plumbs the soul of the city.

Marta Gutman, professor at the Spitzer School of Architecture of City College of New York, is an architect and architectural and urban historian. She also teaches at the Graduate Center, CUNY. She is the author of the prize-winning A City for Children: Women, Architecture, and the Charitable Landscapes of Oakland, 1850-1950. Gutman is a founding editor of PLATFORM, an open forum for conversations about buildings, cities, landscapes, politics and history.

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 15

11:00am – 1:00pm | Martí’s New York
Walking tour with guides Orlando J. Hernández and Elena Martínez
West 4th Street subway station; meet in front of IFC Theater, 323 Sixth Avenue

The father of Cuban nationalism, José Martí, himself a habanero, lived in New York City for 14 years (1881-1895), working as a journalist, poet, essayist, diplomat and, most importantly, revolutionary. He was fascinated by its people and its landmarks, which became part of his journalistic and literary work. Professor Orlando J. Hernández and folklorist Elena Martínez will conduct a walking tour of Martí’s New York focusing on some of these landmarks, as well as the neighborhoods and sites of the Cuban and Puerto Rican exile community. Participation is limited; to register, call 718-518-4410.

3:00 – 5:00pm | La Habana and New York City, an Enduring Relationship
Panel discussion with Lisandro Pérez, Nancy Raquel Mirabal and Orlando J. Hernández; moderator, John Gutiérrez
5:00 – 6:00pm | Reception

John Jay College of Criminal Justice | New Building, 524 West 59th Street, 9th-floor conference room

Lisandro Pérez, a professor in the department of Latin American and Latinx Studies at John Jay College, CUNY, and author of the acclaimed Sugar, Cigars and Revolution: The Making of Cuban New York, will explore the long relationship between La Habana and New York City, one of the incubators of Cuban nationalism. (The book received a 2019 literary honorable mention for studies on Latina/os in the U.S. from Casa de las Américas in La Habana.)

Nancy Raquel Mirabal, director of the U.S. Latina/o Studies Program at the University of Maryland and author of Suspect Freedoms: The Racial and Sexual Politics of Cubanidad in New York, 1823-1957. The work has been characterized as “a remarkable book that rescues the rich history of Cubans of color in the United States from obscurity.”

Orlando J. Hernández, professor emeritus at Hostos Community College, CUNY, critic and translator, has published articles on José Martí and Eugenio María de Hostos and their contributions to the 19th-century anti-colonial struggles in Cuba, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. His forthcoming book, Eugenio María Hostos: Adalid de la inclusividad, is about Hostos’s advocacy for equality and human rights.

John A. Gutiérrez, assistant professor in the Department of Latin American and Latinx Studies at John Jay College, CUNY, is a researcher exploring the intersection of medicine, modernity and politics in the Spanish-speaking Caribbean and its diasporas in the United States. He is currently at work on a history of the anti-tuberculosis movement in Cuba and is conducting additional research on the Cuban medical community in fin-de-siècle New York City.

7:30pm | HAVANA JAM
Concert: Yunior Terry & Son de Altura featuring David Oquendo with special guests Eddy Zervigón, Gema and Adolphus González
Repertory Theater, Hostos Center for the Arts & Culture, 500 Grand Concourse, Bronx
Reserved seating: $25 (seniors $20, students $5)
Tickets: www.hostoscenter.org or call the box office at 718-518-4455

Bassist, violinist and composer Yunior Terry, a member of one of Cuba’s most gifted musical families, will direct an all-star salute to honor the 500th anniversary of the founding of La Habana and its musical heritage. Yunior leads his band, Son de Altura, featuring vocalist David Oquendo, with special guests, flutist extraordinaire Eddy Zervigon, the acclaimed song stylist Gema and piano virtuoso Adonis González.




School of Visual Arts | 209 East 23 Street, NY, NY 10010-3994 | Tel: 212.592.2000 | Fax: 212.725.3587