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Event to showcase Island artist's work in Cuba

Mon, May 30th 2016 07:00 am

An upcoming "Cuba Night" will celebrate the studio work and plein air paintings made in Cuba by Grand Island artist Kath Schifano.

This meet-the-artist event will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday,  June 3, at Pasion Latin Restaurant, 153 Elmwood Ave. in Buffalo. It will feature Cuban drinks and snacks, authentic music and Schifano's paintings.

Before the Rolling Stones, the Pope or even President Obama, Schifano visited Cuba, joining the publisher of "Plein Air" magazine and about 70 artists from several countries to paint and document the country in February. She is the only Western New York artist to paint with the largest group of painters to go to Cuba. The trip was formed to capture post-revolutionary Cuba after the embargo was lifted, but before big business and tourism changed it to a modern destination.

One would expect old cars and interesting infrastructure, but would be surprised at the huge number of colorful pre-1959 classic American cars on every pockmarked street. There were miles of crumbling old buildings, missing windows, doors and paint but the streets were alive with people, fresh laundry on the balconies and music on every corner.

Painting in Havana, Cojimar, Jaimanitas and an abandoned sugar plantation gave the artists opportunities to meet the people, see their homes and families, experience the transportation, share languages and laughter and especially celebrate the ever-present rhythms of Cuban music.

Pasion commissioned several of Schifano's large Cuba paintings for permanent installation. A selection of her small plein air pictures will be available.

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