Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Latin American Contemporary Art (LaCa) Projects opened exactly one year ago this Friday (March 21) in the revitalized FreeMoreWest neighborhood in Charlotte. I've been wanting to check out the gallery for the past year, and finally made it happen last Thursday for the opening of Cuba: Art of the Fantastic. The opening reception drew a great crowd and featured live music and dancing in addition to the amazing artwork.


Curated by Abelardo Mena, Cuba: Art of the Fantastic is said to be the first exhibition of Cuban visual production in Charlotte and the surrounding region. Mena is the curator of Contemporary International Art at the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes in Havana, and this exhibit brings together four incredible artists: Juan Carlos Verdial, Alicia de la Campa, Alexander Gonz├ílez, and Vicente Hern├índez. "Full of imagination and fantasy, these artists are joined by their eagerness to freely reinterpret symbols of the Cuban culture, of its geography and history, Catholic and African popular religions, proverbs of the Cuban popular idiosyncrasy, and by their deep knowledge and intertextual game with iconic works of the Western, European, and United States, all places where they have gathered considerable momentum," as the exhibit is described in the press release.


Cuba: Art of the Fantastic is on display through May 2. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday, 1-5 p.m., and by appointment.

LaCa Projects, located at 1429 Bryant St., is a great space, tucked away amid other renovated buildings that have been transformed for commercial and artistic uses. Usually when I make my way over to FreeMoreWest, I'm visiting the restaurants along the West Morehead Street corridor, like The Burger Company, Pinky's Westside Grill, and Savor Cafe. But if you make short turns onto South Sumit Avenue and Bryant Street, you'll find LaCa, which is dedicated to the presentation, development, and promotion of Latin American art and culture. The gallery is part of a larger planned expansion that includes artist studios and a cafe.

Ventures like LaCa Projects show that there are many diverse cultures thriving in Charlotte, and you should certainly pay them a visit. For more details, go to lacaprojects.com, facebook.com/LaCaProjects, and twitter.com/LaCaProjects.


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