Artists We Love: Maria Cienfuegos

Travelers on our people-to-people Cuba programs sometimes visit the Miramar home of visual artist Maria Cienfuegos, where she showcases her work as well as that of other young artists.  Her artist-run cooperative, dubbed Studio 7 y 60 (or Septima Y Sesenta), has existed since 2010, when Maria and three collaborators decided to use her family’s apartment as a venue to present their creations directly to the public.

maria-cienfuegosMuch of Maria’s art explores the concept of memory. On her website, Maria, who has a background in biology as well as art, writes: “I approach my work from the hybrid sensitivity that arises from the mutual influence of art and science. My photographs emerge from the counterbalance between these two forms of operation, which I regard as complementary. Within this dynamic I am interested in the social/anthropological processes which traverse the categories of thought and image. It is my personal quest to go inside spaces of remembrance and forgetfulness. Photography is my way of not only adding and revealing layers to the process of reminiscence; but also of participating in this cryptic accumulation.”

On a recent journey to Havana, we captured these images of the artist and her studio space. Find out more about her artist-run space, Studio 7 y 60, here.You can also read an article about the studio on Cuban Art News.

To find out more about Academic Arrangements Abroad, one of the pioneers in offering legal travel to Cuba, visit our website. Since 1999, we have helped thousands of Americans discover the rich history and culture of this once-inaccessible nation.

Our president, Jim Friedlander, who has traveled to Cuba more than 50 times, has also created the Havana Heritage Foundation, which is dedicated to protecting and preserving the architecture and culture of Havana.  For more information or to make a tax-deductible contribution, click here.

Adventures Abroad Photo Contest Deadline Extended. Plus–Our Adventures Abroad!

Yunnan Red Earth

Yunnan Red Earth by Erik Hyman

Staff at Academic Arrangements Abroad are ineligible for our Adventures Abroad photography contest. However, we have had a few adventures of our own, and lots of talented photographers work here.

Below are a few of our favorite staff travel photos, which were taken in locations around the globe.

Assistant Tour Coordinator Erik Hyman shot wonderful images in China while he was conducting folk music research for the Fulbright program in 2011 and 2012. You can see more of Erik’s amazing travel photographs on Flickr.

Leshan Giant Buddha

Leshan Giant Buddha by Erik Hyman

Nujiang Valley

Nujiang Valley by Erik Hyman

Cathy Farber, Vice President, Marketing & Communications, traveled to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands in 2013. During her journey, Cathy photographed an adorable baby seal in the Galápagos Islands.

Baby Seal

Baby seal in the Galápagos Islands

She also shot a stunning image of the Andes Mountains from Quito. (Scroll to the bottom of this blog post to see the landscape.)

Jim Friedlander, President, took a picture of a crocodile area in a national park in Panama during a trip to Central America in December 2013.

Crocodile area in Central America

Crocodile area in Central America by Jim Friedlander

In addition, Friedlander shot this dramatic photograph of Mt. Everest from a plane last November.

Mount Everest 2013

Mount Everest, Nepal, by Jim Friedlander

Gloria De Luca, Vice President, Communications, captured this image of men in turbans at the Pushkar Camel Fair in India.

Puskar Camel Fair

Pushkar Camel Fair by Gloria De Luca

Additionally, she photographed this leopard in a tree during a recent journey to Sri Lanka, where highlights included a jeep safari.

Leopard in Sri Lanka

Leopard in Sri Lanka by Gloria De Luca

We hope you’ll enter your own travel photos in our competition. The deadline was just extended to July 1, 2014, and images entered so far include everything from riding camels in Egypt to practicing yoga on a sunny beach in Puerto Rico. Show us your idea of a travel adventure!

The first-place winner, as selected by our panel of expert judges, will receive $1,000 off any 2014 or 2015 Academic Arrangements Abroad cruise. Second prize is $500 off a 2014 or 2015 Arrangements Abroad cruise, and third prize is a micro luggage scale (handy for avoiding overweight baggage fees).

You can also vote on the submitted images, which are featured in a gallery that can be accessed through the photo contest tab. The most popular photograph will receive a People’s Choice Award and a special prize.

To enter or vote, please go to our Facebook page and click on the Adventures Abroad Photo Contest icon below our name. It will take you to a new page where you can enter the contest or vote on selected entries (or both!).

Be sure to submit your entry before July 1, 2014.

 

 

Andes Mountains

The Andes Mountains from Quito, Ecuador by Cathy Farber

Don’t Forget to Enter the Adventures Abroad Photo Contest

Camel and Pyramid, Giza, EgyptWe’ve already received a number of submissions for our Adventures Abroad photo contest. Images entered so far include everything from riding camels in Egypt to practicing yoga on a sunny beach in Puerto Rico. There are also stunning shots of Peru, Antarctica, London, Italy, India, Jordan, and other destinations.

If you have a great travel photograph, there’s still time to enter it in the contest. The first-place winner, as selected by our panel of expert judges, will receive $1,000 off any 2014 or 2015 Academic Arrangements Abroad cruise. Second prize is $500 off a 2014 or 2015 Arrangements Abroad cruise, and third prize is a micro luggage scale (handy for avoiding overweight baggage fees).

India dyesYou can also vote on the submitted images, which are featured in a gallery that can be accessed through the photo contest tab. The most popular image will receive a People’s Choice Award and a special prize.

To enter or vote, please go to our Facebook page and click on the Adventures Abroad Photo Contest icon below our name. It will take you to a new page where you can enter the contest or vote on selected entries (or both!).

Be sure to submit your entry before May 1, 2014.

Adventures Abroad Photo Contest

Hiker walking towards mountainLast year’s photo contest—our first ever—was so successful that we decided to hold another one. This year’s theme is Adventures Abroad and we invite you to show us your idea of a travel adventure!

Sea Cloud shipThe first-place winner, as selected by our panel of expert judges, will receive $1,000 off any 2014 or 2015 Arrangements Abroad cruise. Second prize is $500 off a 2014 or 2015 Arrangements Abroad cruise, and third prize is a micro luggage scale (handy for avoiding overweight baggage fees).

Micro luggage scaleTo submit a travel photo, please go to the contest entry page. Or, if you prefer, you can visit our Facebook page and “Like” it, if you haven’t already. Click on the Adventures Abroad Photo Contest icon below our name. It will take you to a new page, where you can enter the contest. You can also vote on selected entries, which will be displayed in a gallery. The most popular image will receive a People’s Choice Award and a special prize.

Entries must be submitted between March 1 and May 1, 2014, so don’t delay. We hope to see you soon—maybe in Reykjavik, Istanbul, or Buenos Aires!Sea Cloud II On Deck

What’s On Havana!

We were excited to be mentioned in the July 2013 issue of What’s On Havana! This independent platform, produced by CubaAbsolutely.com, aims to “explore Cuba through the eyes of the best writers, photographers and filmmakers, both Cuban and international, who live work, travel and play in Cuba.”

July 2013 cover What's On Havana!One of our favorite sections of the July issue of the publication is about photography. It includes striking images by Canadian photographers Colin Franks and Pete Jones. Franks’ photographs include everything from close-ups shots of colorful vintage automobiles to black-and-white portraits. Jones, who purchased his first camera in 2007, shoots lovely landscapes and images of Cuba’s people.

Arrangements Abroad in What's On Havana!The newsletter also has a story on the Carnival de Santiago de Cuba, a listing of the best places to eat in Havana, and an article on Cuba’s clothes lines. Click here for a PDF of the publication.

Congratulations to Our Photo Contest Winners

We’re pleased to announce the winners of Academic Arrangements Abroad’s first Focus on Travel photo contest!

More than 50 people submitted images of everything from lovers embracing in a Barcelona doorway to a playful polar bear gamboling atop a glacier. There were so many wonderful images that it was difficult to choose the very best, but now, after much deliberation, our panel of experts has finally selected the top three photos.

Karenni Women from BurmaFirst prize—a brand-new iPad mini—goes to this image of two Karenni women from Burma. With its unique composition and casual feel, this photo “speaks to the universal quiet moments in life,” noted one of our judges. It shows respect for these women’s culture “yet doesn’t exoticize their dress or adornments.”

Paris Winter SceneA wintry scene of Paris took second prize, a NiteCore Tiny Monster flashlight. This picture of boats along the Seine, with Notre Dame in the background, has an Impressionist quality. With its subdued palette and haunting light, it offers a fresh take on one of the most photographed cities in the world.

Monk with fanThis shot of a Buddhist monk took our third prize, a micro luggage scale. Captured at noon in a temple in Yangon (Rangoon), the impassive cleric simultaneously attracts and resists the viewer’s gaze as he peers out from under his ceremonial fan.

London EyeFinally, with 41 votes, our People’s Choice Award goes to this shot of the London Eye, a 400-foot-high Ferris wheel on the banks of the River Thames. Its winner will also receive a micro luggage scale.

Several other entrants also received honorable mentions. Congratulations to all!

Don’t Forget to Enter the Focus on Travel Photo Contest

Havana doorwayWe’ve already received a number of submissions for our Focus on Travel photo contest.  Images entered so far range from Borobudur at sunrise to Stockholm at dusk. There are also stunning shots of London, Havana, Egypt, Bolivia and other destinations near and far.

If you have a great travel photograph, there’s still time to enter it in the contest. The winner will receive a new iPad mini. Prizes for the runners-up include a NiteCore Tiny Monster flashlight, a micro luggage scale and more.

You can also vote on the submitted images, which are featured in a gallery that can be accessed through the photo contest tab.  The most popular image will receive a People’s Choice Award and a special prize.

To enter or vote, please go to our Facebook page and click on the Focus On Travel Photo Contest icon below our name.  It will take you to a new page where you can enter the contest or vote on selected entries (or both!).

Punta ArenasBe sure to submit your entry before May 1, 2013.

Focus on Travel Photo Contest

Photo contest imageDo you have a great picture from one of your journeys?  Enter it in the first-ever Arrangements Abroad photo contest, Focus on Travel.  The winner — chosen by our panel of expert judges — will receive a new iPad mini. Prizes for the runners-up include a NiteCore Tiny Monster flashlight, a micro luggage scale (handy for avoiding overweight bag fees) and more.

Of course, we hope our past passengers will submit their photos, but don’t fret if you’ve never traveled with us — anyone may enter.  You can also vote on the submitted images, which will be featured in a gallery that can be accessed through the photo contest tab.  The most popular image will receive a People’s Choice Award and a special prize.

To enter or vote, please go to our Facebook page and click on the Focus On Travel Photo Contest icon below our name.  It will take you to a new page where you can enter the contest or vote on selected entries (or both!).

Be sure to submit your entries between March 1 to May 1, 2013.  Who knows? You might be the next Ansel Adams!

iPad mini

micro scaleLED flash light

Hotels for Art Lovers

By Ingrid Ahlgren

Lotte Hotel GalleryThis coming spring, travelers on our Korea and Japan program will spend a night at Seoul’s Lotte Hotel, which has its own art gallery. Located on the site of Bando Gallery, the country’s first commercial art gallery, which opened in 1956, The Lotte Hotel Gallery aims to promote Korean culture and history with exhibits of sculpture, photography and other art by upcoming and famous artists.

The Lotte Hotel is just one of a growing number of hotels that have notable collections of art. For example, Dublin’s historic Merrion Hotel houses “a spectacular collection of 19th– and 20th-century art which is widely considered to be one of the most important private collections in Ireland.” Artists whose works hang on the hotel’s walls include Martin Mooney, Jack B. Yeats and Pauline Bewick.  The Merrion can even arrange for guests to tour the hotel’s art collection with a guide from the National Gallery, which is located nearby.

In Paris, the Hôtel Atmospheres claims to be “the first art-gallery hotel in Paris” and describes itself as “mid-way between a boutique design hotel and a contemporary photography gallery.”  Located in St. Germain, an area known for art galleries and antique shops, the hotel is decorated with prints by photographer Thierry des Ouches.

In the United States, travelers can also enjoy fine art at hotels large and small. The Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art in Las Vegas is currently showcasing paintings by Impressionist Claude Monet. New York City’s Gramercy Park Hotel has a collection of art, including works by Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat. In Los Angeles’ Sunset Marquis, an upscale boutique hotel, guests can visit the Maximillian Gallery, which connects collectors to creations by emerging street artists.

Hotel GaudiSome hotels, designed by famous architects, are works of art in and of themselves. These include the Hotel Marqués de Riscal by Frank Gehry in Elciego, Spain; the Le Meridien Lingotto by Renzo Piano in Turin, Italy; the Hotel Gaudí by Antoni Gaudí in Barcelona, Spain; and the Four Seasons by I.M. Pei in New York City.

Do you have a favorite hotel that has great art or amazing architecture? Please share your experiences and suggestions.