3 Fun Places to Interact with Street Art in Havana, Cuba

street art, community art, public art, Cuba, Havana, Fusterlandia, Callejon de Hamel, Muraleando, street art in Havana

 

The most prominent impression made on me by Cuba was that of community. The relationships between people, as well as their connection to Cuba, was ethereal, yet incredibly distinct. As a tourist, with no connection to the history of Cuba, I lack the vocabulary to describe the energy that is unique to this island. But Cubans have taken the indescribable and made it tangible through street art projects.

The wonderful thing about art is that it can evoke feelings without any need for comprehension. The feelings behind the community art projects in Havana are sometimes complicated and subtle, but one thing’s for sure – the art is a living demonstration of the spirit and resilience of the people. (None of the places mentioned here charges an admission fee, but donations are happily accepted. Even better, support artists by purchasing their art!)

3 Fun Places to Interact with Street Art in Havana

Fusterlandia

Referred to simply as Fuster by the locals, this project is exactly how I picture my dream home (well, one of my dream homes anyway). If you like Gaudi’s mosaic work in Barcelona, you will love Fusterlandia too. This place is like Park Güell meets Burning Man. The project began with one person, José Fuster, who was inspired by Gaudi, Brâncuși, Picasso, Gauguin and Wifredo Lam to create whimsically beautiful art for everyone. Fuster started his project by tiling his own house located in the Jaimanitas neighbourhood, but afterwards began asking others in the neighbourhood if he could work on their houses as well. Today, the mosaic work can be found on houses, offices, and bus stops. As you walk around the neighbourhood, you will feel like you’ve stepped into a joyful fantasyland. My only regret is that I did not pack my tutu…

street art, community art, public art, Cuba, Havana, Fusterlandia

street art, community art, public art, Cuba, Havana, Fusterlandia

street art, community art, public art, Cuba, Havana, Fusterlandia, Callejon de Hamel, Muraleando, street art in Havana

 

 

Callejón de Hamel

Easy to get to right in the heart of Havana, this small alley is packed with all sorts of curiosities. There are touts at either end of the alley, and throughout, offering their services as guides and selling CDs to ‘help the children.’ Tip as you see fit if you accept a guide and be firm about turning down unwanted help. On Sundays at noon, this place gets packed with people dancing the rumba to energetic drum beats. The artwork itself is a collection of murals and found-art sculptures brought to fruition by artist Salvador Gonzáles Escalona.

street art, community art, public art, Cuba, Havana, Fusterlandia, Callejon de Hamel

street art, community art, public art, Cuba, Havana, Fusterlandia, Callejon de Hamel

street art, community art, public art, Cuba, Havana, Fusterlandia, Callejon de Hamel, Muraleando, street art in Havana

 

Muraleando 

We were fortunate that the hostess at our apartment was related to Ernesto Quirch Paz, one of the people who started Muraleando and the Tower project.  Ernesto gave us a private tour of the water tower which has been converted into a community space for artists – old and young. Ernesto is full of passion for the project and it’s easy to understand why. When the community decided to clean up their neighbourhood, the water tower was buried under a mountain of trash. Everyone in the community came together to clean the area out and everything was done without funding from the government (although the government did say they could have the abandoned water tower). Sculptures and other found object art pieces were created from anything that was salvageable. The Tower also features a stage for community performances. In addition, the neighbourhood has been painted with several murals composed by the residents of the area. Manuel (Manolo) Díaz Baldrich is another one of the founders of the Muraleando project and parallels the growth of the project to the spiritual growth of the community. Muraleando is a shining example of what people can accomplish together and the power we have to make changes in how we live our lives.

street art, community art, public art, Cuba, Havana, Fusterlandia, Callejon de Hamel, Muraleando

street art, community art, public art, Cuba, Havana, Fusterlandia, Callejon de Hamel, Muraleando

street art, community art, public art, Cuba, Havana, Fusterlandia, Callejon de Hamel, Muraleando

 

Discover more things to do in Havana here.

 

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Get to know Havana and Cuba through its street art!

 

 

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24 Replies to “3 Fun Places to Interact with Street Art in Havana, Cuba”

  1. Muraleando looks absolutely incredible, and I love that the murals were created by residents of the area. Havana is so high up on my list of places to visit, and I’m a massive fan of street art so it sounds like I have to move it up the list by a few spots!

  2. Love all of the murals, but especially the cool sculptures. The bathtub sculpture was my favorite. This certainly puts Cuba in a different light!

    1. They are really great about upcycling things that would otherwise end up in the trash.

  3. Of the places you are introducing I’ve seen only the Callejon, but they had some really good murales in Santa Clara, too. After having seen some exhibition introducing Cuban artists, I must say that there is a vibrant and daring art scene very active in Cuba, despite all the hardship and difficulties the artists are facing.

    1. If I ever make it back to Cuba, I will be going to Santa Clara for sure!

  4. It’s interesting how people are showcasing their talents through street arts. What’s more impressive is that they do it to inspire others to work together and to help the community.

  5. That’s a nice and fresh look to Havana, beyond the colorful walls and old cars. I didn’t really know about this aspect of the city and Cuba, and it was interesting to read about the sense of community that they have.

  6. Wow these pictures are fantastic! I’d really like to visit Cuba to see what it’s like. How did you find Cuba in general?

    1. As a gluten-free vegetarian, I had some difficulties and had to eat fish. The people were really what make a trip here memorable. I liked Trinidad better than Havana because I’m more of a nature lover.

  7. You captured these experiences beautifully. We are huge street art fans so this really spoke to us.

    We especially like the skeleton masked child smoking a cigar, it really speaks to the Cuban stereotype held by outsiders.

    Thanks for sharing. Keep traveling blogging. Adventure is better when shared with friends!

  8. Some awesome art work here. I love how the community came together to salvage an old water tower and turn it into something beautiful and symbolic for their community spirit. Cuba fascinates me. I really hope I can get there while it still retains its unique charm!

    1. People put in so much work to make their communities better:)

  9. i love this country now.lol. i love their street art and these art will be perfect for my instagram feed. how much do you spend a day in there?

    1. I haven’t done the calculations yet, but I would say we spent less than $50 per day per person. You can definitely do it cheaper though.

  10. As a passionate lover of street art, Havana is the ultimate travel destination. From what I can see from your pictures, the street art there is breathtaking, Jen and Laura!

  11. I didn’t see these when I was in Havana. I didn’t really spend much time in Havana sadly but I have to say that I agree with you on the community aspect, and I have to say that Cuba as a whole is definitely in my top 3 places that I have been to, especially the Vinales area.

  12. The art and colors portrayed in Cuba are amazing. It’s such a fun city to explore with your camera. You really got some awesome shots! I second Damien, I love the Vinales area too!

    1. We thought about a day trip to Vinales, but were too tired by the end of our time in Cuba:(

  13. I keep seeing so much about the Cuban street art. It’s so colorful and creative. Love these recommendations!

  14. Finally a post about Havana that shows the beautiful street art! I always go chasing it around but it’s difficult to find info, thank you for sharing!

  15. The street art looks amazing! I have never been to Cuba, but have always wanted to go and experience the art and culture. Thank you for sharing!

  16. Always associated Havana more with classic cars and cigars, but the street art looks absolutely fabulous. I love street art and the different way these are depicted in different parts of the world. Street art are a fascinating window to the culture, heritage and mores of the place.

  17. The mosaics are colorful! Havana is undeniably a Latin city. Street art is one of the things I notice because I walk a lot whenever I travel.

  18. I’m pretty sure I see the Little Prince in one of those murals!! The art is lovely – so many different styles, but all so passionately executed. I really relate to your feelings about the island’s energy, we’ve not only heard stories from friends about the exact kind of intangible connection you’re talking about, but we experienced a similar, almost undefinable vibrancy and warmth when we visited Puerto Rico. Side note, I would LOVE to see everybody gathered and dancing the rumba!! Fabulous writeup!

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