Question: I want to buy wooden handicrafts from Cuba. Can anybody give me a website or contact?
Answer: Whether one is within or outside Cuba, there are a number of locations, organizations and even websites from which one can either directly purchase wooden handicrafts, or get information on such purchases.
Within Cuba, there are many handicraft fairs located in many urban centres around the country which sell a wide range of handicrafts. In these fairs, although much of the offer has become standardized over the years and is usually of mediocre quality, it is still sometimes possible to find works of good quality.
There are also state-operated stores that sell better-quality handicrafts coming under the Fondo Cubano de Bienes Culturales (Cuban Fund of Cultural Assets). Created in 1978, this institution promotes and markets visual arts through a network of galleries in Havana, as well as through its provincial branches and numerous outlets located around the country. In addition to works by contemporary artists, one can also find arts and crafts, jewellery, sculptures, prints and antiques. The galleries and workshops of the Fondo are integrated under a trading company called Génesis Galerías de Arte.
Fondo Cubano de Bienes Culturales
Avenida 47, No. 4702
Esquina a 38 (corner of 38)
Reparto Kohly – Municipio Playa
Ciudad de La Habana, Cuba
Telf. 204-8005, 203-6523.Telephone (537) 204-8005 / 203-6523
Fax 204-0391Fax (537) 204-0391
emailE-mail: mailto:%[email protected] [email protected]
Although the Fondo itself does not have a website, information about them is available through the website of the Consejo Nacional de Artes Plásticas (CNAP, or the National Council of Plastic Arts) at www.cnap.cult.cu
Another contact point is the Asociación Cubana de Artesanos Artistas (ACAA or the Cuban Association of Craft Artists). Also a national association, in Habana Vieja (Old Havana), the ACAAstore is located on the busy pedestrian street of Obispo. Here you can find all kinds of gifts including wooden sculpture. To be a member of this association, artisans must have achieved a certain quality of work in order to obtain a license authorizing them to sell their works. Unfortunately ACAA does not appear to have either a website or an email address.
Asociación Cubana de Artesanos Artistas (ACAA)
Calle Obispo 411
esq. a Aguacate (corner of Aguacate)
Ciudad de La Habana, Cuba
Telephone (537) 864-2495 / 862-0655
Yet another contact point in Cuba that promotes and markets Cuban cultural products and services isARTex, short for Artistic and Literary Promotions S.A. In addition to having branches located around the country and on Isla de la Juventud, ARTex has shops selling a wide range of plastic arts, plus Cultural Centres located in major cities and tourist destinations. ARTex also provides e-marketing (www.soycubano.com) through which one can access a wide range of cultural products and services. In addition to handicrafts, ARTex markets engravings, sculptures, masterpieces and reproductions, antiques, etc.
As for Soycubano, this is an e-marketing company – among other things – with over 12 years of experience promoting and commercializing cultural goods and services. Included in its cultural products are handicrafts, paintings, serigraphic reproductions by plastic artists, etc. ThroughSoycubano, one can also access www.mallcubano.com which is an online Shopping Centre forARTex and which commercializes Cuban cultural products.