News & Press

CCAD Grads and Faculty Members Among Ohio Artists Showing Work in Prestigious Cuban Exhibition

Monday, March 11, 2019
Columbus College of Art and Design

COLUMBUS, Ohio—Works from 39 central Ohio artists, including a number of Columbus College of Art & Design graduates and faculty members, will be exhibited in Cuba during the 13th Havana Biennial in Matanzas, Cuba, part of the country’s largest visual arts event. And in fall 2019, the works will return to Columbus for a citywide exhibition called Cuba in Columbus.

The 13th Havana Biennial will be held April 12–May 12, 2019, with more than 200 artists from nearly 50 countries expected to participate. The biennial is traditionally held once every two years, but the 13th edition was postponed from 2018 due to Hurricane Irma.

To provide greater visibility, for the first time since the Biennial launched in 1984, the event will be extended outside Havana to reach additional Cuban provinces. Central Ohio artists will exhibit in the 13th Havana Biennial in Matanzas, Cuba, while other biennial projects will take place in Cienfuegos, Sancti Spiritus, and Camaguey.

International curators selected work from five Columbus artists for the 13th Havana Biennial in Matanzas, Cuba. Artists include Laura Alexander, Cody Heichel, CCAD grad Aminah Robinson, Elsie Sanchez, and Tariq Tarey.

Additionally, works from 34 central Ohio artists will be shown alongside art from 18 Cuban artists as part of a collateral exhibition, ConnectArt, at Galeria-Taller Lolo in Matanzas.

In October 2019, the project will return to Columbus for Cuba in Columbus, an exhibition of works from the 39 central Ohio artists, as well as pieces from 15 Cuban artists. They will be on display throughout the city at the Columbus Museum of Art, Greater Columbus Arts Council’s office, Riffe Center, COSI, (not) Sheep Gallery, Brandt-Roberts Galleries, Hammond Harkins Galleries, Lindsay Gallery, Sharon Weiss Gallery, Sherrie Gallerie, and other art and business venues. Hilton Columbus Downtown will host the opening.

The Cuba in Columbus project has been coordinated by Columbus curator Michael Reese, an art consultant with Reese Brothers. His enthusiasm for Cuban art came after seeing Cuban Forever at the Pizzuti Collection in 2014, inspiring him to book a trip to Cuba.

Reese began organizing people-to-people group trips with Ruthie Newcomer, his Cuba travel business partner, to encourage small groups from around the U.S. to engage with what he calls Cuba’s “thought-provoking” art scene. CCAD Associate Professor Julie Abijanac visited Cuba as part of one of these trips, and will show a piece in the ConnectArt exhibition in Matanzas.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Abijanac says. “When I visited Cuba, I saw that making is a true passion there. It wasn’t about the race to make more and get better. It’s about making because we’re artists and that’s what we’re passionate about. It brought me back down to the fundamentals of why I’m a maker.”

The Cuba in Columbus project has garnered broad support from Columbus’ arts community.

“Michael Reese has organized an outstanding independent project with strong community participation,” says Tom Katzenmeyer, President & CEO of the Greater Columbus Arts Council. “Michael has long recognized that cultural exchange is good for business and the arts, and his efforts are shining an international spotlight on Columbus artists.”

Participating Cuba in Columbus artists include:

  • Julie M. Abijanac, CCAD grad (Fine Arts, 1992) and Associate Professor of Contemporary Crafts and Fine Arts
  • Laura Alexander
  • Laine Bachman, CCAD grad (Fine Arts, 1997)
  • Christopher Burk, CCAD grad (Fine Arts, 1999)
  • Mark Bush, CCAD grad (Fine Arts, 2009)
  • Gretchen Cochran
  • Amanda H. Cook, CCAD grad (Illustration, 1999)
  • David F. Cooke, CCAD grad (Master of Fine Arts, 2018)
  • Alan Cottrill
  • Adam Elkins
  • Barbara Fant
  • Fred Fochtman
  • Tripp Fontane
  • Daric Gill, CCAD grad (Fine Arts, 2004)
  • Deborah Griffing
  • Michael Guinane, CCAD grad (Illustration, 2000)
  • Cody Heichel
  • Sophie Knee
  • George Leach
  • Paul Linhares
  • Mike Major
  • Kathy McGhee, CCAD Professor of Fine Arts
  • Cody F. Miller, CCAD grad (Illustration, 1995)
  • Joey Monsoon
  • Jim Murrin
  • Eric Rausch
  • Aminah Robinson, CCAD grad
  • Stephanie Rond
  • Elsie Sanchez
  • Antoinette Savage
  • Kathleen Seiler
  • Michael Seiler
  • Nancy Smeltzer
  • April Sunami
  • Tariq Tarey
  • Barb Vogel
  • Julie Woodrow
  • Pamela Workman, CCAD grad (Fine Arts, 1999)
  • Wil Wong Yee, CCAD grad (Industrial Design, 2004)

About Columbus in Cuba | Cuba in Columbus

Columbus in Cuba Cuba in Columbus represents an unprecedented, multi-event, multi-venue group of exhibitions showcasing the work of artists from central Ohio and Cuba. Five Columbus artists are among the 200 international artists selected to show work in the renowned 13th Havana Biennial in Matanzas, Cuba, in April 2019. An additional 34 Columbus artists will show works alongside art from Cuban artists as part of a collateral Biennial exhibition, ConnectArt, in Matanzas, Cuba. In fall 2019, artwork from the 39 Columbus artists who exhibited in Cuba plus work from 15 Cuban artists will be on display at art institutions, galleries, and public venues throughout Columbus as part of an exhibition called Cuba in Columbus. For more information, visit or

About Columbus College of Art & Design

Columbus College of Art & Design teaches undergraduate and graduate students in the midst of a thriving creative community in Columbus, Ohio. Founded in 1879, CCAD is one of the oldest private, nonprofit art and design colleges in the United States, and in 2019, the college is celebrating 140 years of creative excellence. CCAD offers 12 BFA programs and two master’s programs in art and design that produce graduates equipped to shape culture and business at the highest level. For more information, visit