Cuban Culture Artist Demonstrations

Artist Demonstrations

Both weekends, 11am – 6pm

Benito Camejo Nodarse – Cigar Roller – Viñales, Cuba
María Gurrola Ruiz and Victor Pichardo – Cigar Rollers – New Orleans, Louisiana
Benito Camejo Nodarse is a tobacco farmer from the valley of Viñales in Pinar del Rio, the Western region of Cuba famous for growing arguably the best tobacco in the world. Benito will share insights on how tobacco is grown, harvested and cured on his farm.

During the “golden age” of cigars (1880s to 1930s), New Orleans was known as the cigar manufacturing capital of the United States and the gateway for Cuban tobacco into the world. When it started operating in 1999, the Cigar Factory reintroduced this tradition in New Orleans, using tobacco imported from Nicaragua, Brazil, Ecuador and Cameroon. New Orleans-based cigar rollers María Gurrola Ruiz and Victor Pichardo will show off their skills in hand rolling the perfect cigar.



Jose Ernesto Aguilera and Oany Martínez – Humidor Makers – Havana, Cuba
Jose Ernesto Aguilera is a self-trained artisan and goldsmith from Havana and the owner of Humidores Habana, which manufactures and exports Cuban humidors throughout the world.  He is renowned for his one-of-a-kind humidor pieces, combining metal and wood into beautiful works of art. With the help of long-time collaborator Oany Martínez, he will build unique and intricate humidors at the Festival.



Elio Miralles Rodríguez – Costume Designer – Santiago de Cuba
Costume designer Elio Miralles Rodríguez is a fixture of the carnival of Santiago de Cuba, where he has won numerous prizes for his elaborate floats on wheels known as Los Hombres Carrozas, comprised of recycled materials such as candy wrappers and pill boxes. Elio will create an original walking float throughout the course of the Festival.



Gilberto Méndez Méndez and Gilberto Méndez Lainati – Luthiers – Santiago de Cuba
Gilberto Méndez Méndez and his son proudly represent a long-time Cuban tradition of hand making string-instruments. At the Festival, they will demonstrate the many steps of building a Cuban tres. They will also perform classic songs from the Cuban son and trova repertoire.



Roberto Guerra Hechavarría – Painter – Santiago de Cuba
Roberto Guerra Hechavarría is an important and prized figure of Cuba’s naive painting movement. Roberto will paint his bold and colorful scenes of the Cuban countryside on a 20 foot mural erected in front of the Pavilion.



Gloria Nápoles Veranes – Fiber Figurine Artist – Santiago de Cuba
Using Malagueta fiber (dried up reed harvested on the banks of the nearby river), leaves and other materials found in nature, Gloria creates delicate dolls and figurines inspired by Cuban traditions and daily life.



Osmany Betancourt Falcón – Sculptor – Matanzas, Cuba
Osmany Betancourt Falcón known as “Lolo” is a well-known contemporary sculptor from Matanzas whose work has been shown at the Havana biennale and other prestigious art fairs. Using wood, clay and bronze, he focuses on the social issues of Cuban contemporary life. Lolo will create clay pieces at the Festival.



Raicel Lázaro González Cruz and María de la Paz Fernández García – Percussionists – Havana, Cuba
Raicel Lázaro González and María de la Paz Fernández García represent the younger generation of Cuban percussionists in Cuba,  and have appeared with the Frank London group from New York and Marcus Miller in Paris, France. They also perform with rap artist Telmary, and will join her on stage April 29th and 30th. At the Pavilion, they will also show some of the traditional techniques used to tune and stretch a skin over the body of a drum.





Cuban Culture Exhibits

Cuban Music Stage Schedule