By Patty Vila, SouthFloridaReporter.com, Cuba Expert, Sept 3, 2015 – I read an article in a national magazine about a very popular club in Cuba, La Fabrica de Arte Cubano (FAC).
When I got to Havana, I made plans with my Cuban friends to go. As we approached the entrance, we were greeted with a line that went around the block. I told my three friends to wait, and I went to speak to the man at the door to ask him if he would let us in so we did not have to wait in the line, and he said, “Sure.”
As we walked in, we paid two Cuban Convertible Pesos (CUC) for the cover and received a very original tab card, which reproduces the ration booklet all Cubans have. (Cubans use a ration booklet to obtain their allotment of chicken, milk, beans and rice.) From the moment we walked in, I felt like I was walking into a New York City nightclub. Imagine a three-story peanut factory – filled with art and music.
I walked from room to room and could not believe what I was seeing. I have traveled to Cuba for more than twenty years – I moved to Havana in 1997 and it had been seven years since I had been back and I was in shock at what I was experiencing. La Fabrica de Arte Cubano isn’t just exclusively designed to expose the locals to all different types of art, it is also designed with foreign visitors in mind.
FAC was one of the coolest things I had seen. What a contradiction to the way the majority of Cubans are living. There is no hint of Communism. You literally walk into another dimension. One can enjoy photography, installations, video art, films, performance art and live music. It was so interesting to me because what sets it apart is the sheer variety of art displays from other venues, which do not promote culture this way.
La Fabrica De Arte represents a larger trend of what’s happening in Cuba right now. This is truly a youth-led cultural renaissance. The young Cubans that I met are not interested in the politics of their parents and grandparents. I remember when I lived there in the late 90’s, young adults in their twenties were having silent protests. The young people today want to have relations with the United States and this is something they have always wanted. It is a Cuba that is in transformation and trying to find her way in the 21st century.
If You Go:
If you are planning a trip to Cuba, I encourage you to visit FAC. Be sure to check its schedule because it does close for a few weeks during the year to change the art installations. Also, be careful getting back to your hotel or your casa particular especially if you stay out late. There will be always be cabs lined up right outside no matter how late it is but make sure you ask for the price and negotiate your ride before you get in it.
La Fabrica De Arte is open from 8 p.m. until 2 or 4 a.m., offering a wide array of cultural activities.
The address is:
La Fabrica De Arte
Calle 26 esquina 11 vedado
The prices are very reasonable. It costs approximately $2.00 to enter and between $2.50 and $3.00 for a drink or a beer.