Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

July 25, 2013

Close-up on Cuba at Phillips' Gelb Gallery


The Andover Townsman

---- — “The Colors of Cuba” highlights this year’s Phillips Academy Summer Session art show featuring the talents of faculty and staff. The exhibit opens Friday, July 26, in Gelb Gallery inside George Washington Hall.

Sherri Gray and Paula Driscoll, who work in the Polk-Lillard Center in the Elson Art building at Phillips, traveled to Cuba in February for a week-long educational tour supported by the Abbot Academy Association.

The duo, who specialize in photography, digital photo and film editing, spent a week immersed in the local culture and got to see how most Cubans live on a daily basis. In addition to learning about a country most Americans know little about, they participated in discussions about the U.S. embargo and how it impacts the Cuban economy.

“Colors of Cuba” chronicles their experiences through photographs and a documentary-style video.

In a release, Gray and Driscoll said they were surprised by how Cubans embrace the arts and incorporate them into all aspects of their lives. They visited an African/Cuban section of town “where alleys were filled with vibrant murals and rhythmic sounds.” The museums, they said, reflect the rich history of the country and social change.

Another highlight was a visit to the Literacy Museum of Cuba, where they learned about Castro’s program to eradicate illiteracy. Many years ago, they said, young students traveled to remote places on the island to teach reading skills. Today, many still serve as teachers through a government-required service program.

In addition to the special “Colors of Cuba” exhibit, the summer session show includes photographs, paintings, ceramics and mixed media by the school’s faculty and staff.

The show kicks off Friday with an opening reception from 6 to 8 p.m. and runs through Wednesday, July 31. “The Colors of Cuba” documentary video will be shown every half-hour during the duration of the exhibit.

Gelb Gallery at George Washington Hall is on campus at 180 Main St. Parking is on Chapel Avenue and next to the Andover Inn. Visit www.andover.edu for more.