Last October, Tracy and I visited Cuba and got an up close view of the country, the people, and their challenges. I’ve written about my impressions of their healthcare structure–in many ways woefully lacking, but with some surprising lessons for us in America. What I didn’t write quite as much about was the art. We found the art and the artists in Cuba inspiring, bold, and visionary. I loved what they were doing and how their work was crossing borders and boundaries, even against great odds.
I’m sure you know that I believe health is a powerful tool for diplomacy. But art can be just as unifying–recognizing and communicating our common hopes and struggles like little else can. The creation and sharing of art among peoples around the world evokes cultural understanding and shared unifying dreams.
For that reason, Tracy and I are thrilled to launch today the Mountain Artist in Residence (Mountain AIR) initiative, and introduce the first artist in residence–the man whose work inspired this project–Hector Frank from Havana, Cuba. We will welcome Frank with an exhibit today–Cuban Summer 2015, benefitting Hope Through Healing Hands and SCORE. In the fall, Frank and his wife Teresa take up their residency. We are excited to see what happens next!
About Hector Frank
Hector Frank was born in Havana, Cuba in 1961. Hector continues to be influenced by Cuban and the Caribbean artists working with strong forms and lines. He incorporates impasto techniques along with various mixed media and collage to build his images up off of the surface and bring them to life.
From the start of Frank’s art career, he preferred to paint abstractly, and continues to be influenced by Cuban and Caribbean artists working with strong forms, and lines. Through drawing, he began expressing figurative forms in a variety of media including wood, handmade paper, and assemblage. He incorporates impasto techniques along with various mixed media and collage to build his images up off the surface and bring them to life. He works with mixed media and creates highly sought works on re-claimed wood with found objects. By changing his style often, he keeps in the forefront of the ever changing Cuban art scene.
Frank’s work has been shown in France, Mexico, Panama and the United States,and is featured in prominent private and public collections worldwide.
During his Mountain AIR residency, Frank will draw upon the natural environment and Appalachian setting to create a series of pieces in paint and in a materiel medium. Abundantly available to him are natural materials, including reclaimed wood, wire, wood, copper, leather and glass that have accumulated on the property for the past hundred years. His objective is to marry his traditional Cuban culture with the American Appalachian life in an interpretive fashion.
About Mountain AIR
Twice each year, an artist will be selected to spend two weeks living on a beautiful and inspiring 480-acre cattle and horse farm in Sinking Creek, Virginia, deep in the Appalachian Mountains with complete creative freedom. Our hope is to provide an environment encouraging to the individual’s creative and artistic sensibilities. This majestic rural mountain setting amidst a working farm that includes grassfed cattle, sheep, horses, goats, and chickens provides an inspiring sense of time and place.
The artists will work out of a naturally lit, second floor loft above a working livestock barn with breathtaking, panoramic views of the flowing valleys and stream below and the mountains around. Artists have complete access to the farm including all the land, beaver streams, livestock, farmhands, and materials that have accumulated on the land over the years, as well as the Appalachian Trail and Jefferson National Forest. Artists are encouraged as they wish to actively engage in the farm life that so genuinely defines who we are as Americans. They will have opportunities to interact with and introduce their art form to local K-12 children as well as writers-in-residence from regional higher educational institutions over two to three days.