As I live vicariously through the First Family, I imagine stopping by one of my favorite art sites in the world: Taller Experimental de Gráfica, a print shop and gallery in Habana Vieja that has been nurturing graphic artists for more than half a century. The workshop was founded in 1962 by mural artist Orlando Suarez with the support of Che Guevara, then minister of industry. The two times I’ve visited the Taller, the expansive space felt electric in its creativity, galvanized even as artists tinkered with antique presses and stacks of prints invited thumbing through, each work on paper more interesting than the next. As I wandered around, my curiosity was mirrored by the artists’ warm welcome. Who are you? Where are you from? What art do you like? Back and forth, sparkly conversation shared in a patchwork of Spanish and English.
We all stand to benefit from greater exchange with Cuba and the Cuban people, as President Obama underscored in a joint press conference with President Raúl Castro earlier today. “I bring with me the greetings and friendship of the American people. We have a half-a-century of work to catch up on,” Obama said. “Our growing engagement with Cuba is guided by one over-arching goal: Advancing the mutual interests of our two countries including improving the lives of our people, both Cubans and Americans. That’s why I am here.”