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Culture & Cocktails: Havana Nights

A few weeks ago, the San Diego Museum of Art was taken over by Culture & Cocktails- an event highlighting The Welcome Galleries’ Cuban Contemporary Art installation.  Guests were quickly transported from San Diego, California into a “Havana Nights” themed Cuban experience full of bright colors, energetic Salsa music, and of course, hand-rolled cigars.

As guests entered the large atrium inside the Museum of Art they were warmly greeted with complimentary Rum tastings from Papa Pilar – a dark rum, aged 24 years, and an opposing light blonde – Cuban sandwiches catered by The Wild Thyme Company, and a tropical candy station. DJ Mike Zee played Latin melodies while palm tree projections danced on the walls to accompany the lively crowd grooving underneath an appropriately neon-lit, “Club Havana” sign. As sounds gradually faded, musicians and dancers positioned themselves atop the wide statement staircase, overlooking the first level crowd, and performed traditional Cuban dances to solidify the events’ theme.

Party goers could break from festivities to indulge in the new Welcome Galleries’ Cuban Contemporary Art installation, a more tranquil reflective scene. My attention focused on an oil-on-canvas piece by Juan Sanchez Cotan titled, “Quince, Cabbage, Melon, and Cucumber.”  Made in 1602 in an austere-style, the precise detail made it look as though it could have been eaten by admirers. In case guests were ready to use their hands, the finale of the Welcome Galleries incorporated interactive art games to engage the ambitious.

The party continued upstairs with numerous activities of option- a fashionable fedora pop-up shop with proceeds benefitting the museum, an art station where guests could create their own fruit hat to channel their inner Carmen Miranda, and lastly a photography room to strike a pose for take home memories. Two different photo booths were available- one for guests to “go bananas”, taking pictures with a blow up banana prop printed on a film strip, or another in which the photographer was able to digitally draw on to the captured image and create a personalized piece of art to take home.

Culture & Cocktails successfully filled the San Diego Museum of Art and lived up to its name by leaving many in culture-shock as they stepped out of Havana Nights and reentered America’s Finest City.

To attend a Culture & Cocktails event, find more information here:

Or to attend the San Diego Art Museum:

 Check out some photos from the event:

About Barbara Beran

Barbara Beran has work experience in most areas of the media industry including Public Relations, Marketing, Social Media and freelance writing. She loves adventures through travel, personal expression through fashion, photography, and writing, and losing herself in a live music experience or a challenging hike through nature.

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