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Carnival Exchange Project Explores Similarities between Santiago de Cuba and New Orleans

Updated: Apr 5, 2020

Published by Our Town, New Orleans Tribune: Diaspora Travel Experiences, a consulting company that specializes in developing cultural, academic, and professional exchange programs and projects in and pertaining to Cuba and other emerging markets around the world, will host the Carnival Exchange Project, a cultural exchange opportunity for the cities of Santiago de Cuba and New Orleans in collaboration with the Arts Council New Orleans, the official arts agency for the City of New Orleans.

Through dialogue, workshops, performance artist exhibitions, and collaborative projects, participants will build a rich and unique relationship between these two unparalleled cities. The project is divided into two parts.

For the first leg of the program, a dozen people will travel from Santiago de Cuba to New Orleans will serve as cultural representatives of their city, during the New Orleans Carnival Season, from Feb. 22 to March 2. The group includes the All Starts Dance Company from Santiago de Cuba, as well as representatives from Cuba’s Ministry of Culture. During this New Orleans leg of the program, there is limited space for public participation.

Among other activities, members of the Cuban delegation will parade with the Zulu Social Aid & Pleasure Club on Mardi Gras Day, says Abril Sutherland.

Part two of the program takes place July 22-July 29, when a delegation of New Orleans artists and cultural representatives will travel to Santiago de Cuba to participate in Santiago´s Carnival. The group is comprised of a New Orleans brass band led by trumpeter Troy Sawyer, Mardi Gras Indians from one or more Indian Nations, members of Zulu Social Aide and Pleasure Club, and leaders from the New Orleans arts community, to name a few.

In both legs of the program, participants will engage in people-to-people cultural exchange activities, including visiting cultural sites, interactive music and cultural workshops, surrounding the Carnival culture.

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