Marlboro College

NewsPress Release: 11/06/00Marlboro Students and Faculty Travel to Cuba

MARLBORO, VT - A small group of Marlboro College students and professors are getting ready to visit Cuba from November 18 to 25. The upcoming trip was arranged to coincide with the Seventh Biennial de Habana, an international art exhibition that brings together 197 artists from 47 developing countries. This year, the Biennial's theme is 'Close to the Other.'

The trip to Cuba was initiated mostly by students, who approached Marlboro College's art faculty with the idea of attending the art exhibition. Using existing contacts Marlboro College has with the University of Havana that were made by senior Rebekah Cantor and Outdoors Program Coordinator Randy Knaggs on a previous trip, the students were able to arrange for places to stay.

Felicity Ratte, art history professor at Marlboro, says, "While our objectives are similar to the students', faculty members are also going on the trip to offer guidance and support, and to strengthen Marlboro College's relationship with the University of Havana."

The students come from such diverse academic disciplines as economics, photography, sculpture, development studies, and anthropology. Even though they all have interests particular to their respective academic interests, they also have common goals in going on the trip. While complete understanding and empathy is impossible to achieve in such a short period of time, the participating students hope to gain an understanding of Cuban culture, as fostered through their cross-cultural exchanges. Interaction with their host families and the students of the University of Havana will give faces to abstract political, social, artistic and economic issues. The students also hope to gain exposure to art from around the world that they otherwise would not be able to see in U.S. museums.

The Marlboro College students and faculty will be attending workshops at the Biennial, where the symposia and exhibits are focused on the idea that despite rapid technological advances, people are increasingly becoming isolated from international and traditional art and culture.

In a letter to the "Citizen," the student-run newspaper at Marlboro, participating students wrote, "Our view of the art and culture of developing nations is filtered through the biases of those who disseminate information." The Biennial will be a chance for the students to see first hand the varying perspectives of artists from such countries as Singapore, Paraguay, Nigeria, Indonesia, Honduras, Egypt and the Ivory Coast.

Upon their return to Vermont, the trip's participants will present a series of talks and a slideshow, as well as artwork inspired by the trip.

To help fund their trip to Cuba, the students are having a silent auction in the lobby of Marlboro College's Whittemore Theater through November 11. The auction includes artwork donated by students. In addition, a raffle is being held, with prizes that include gift certificates to several Brattleboro businesses. Raffle tickets are available at the Marlboro College coffee shop.

For more information, please call the College at (802) 257-4333.

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