My Art Relationship Grows Between Cuba & the Center of Science & Industry
by Daric Gill
Before the pandemic rocked the world, the Center of Science and Industry (COSI) announced an exhibit called ‘¡Cuba!’, a bilingual collaboration with the Center for Biodiversity and Conservation (CBC) at the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) and Museo Nacional de Historia Natural de Cuba. In conjunction with that exhibition was an invitation to a Community Art Challenge, where artists of all ages were asked to submit work that represented their family, traditions, home, and cultural similarities. I dropped off an oil painting to just weeks before the world saw a global lockdown. The work has been in the museum’s care, waiting the moment when they could responsibly open back up to the public. I’m pleased to announce that COSI is now open and my work, “Absolute: Plumb” is now on display in Heritage & History art gallery. I have several really interesting connections between both COSI and Cuba. Read onward to see what they are.
This exhibition comes to our city as Ohio initiatives are hard at work strengthening our understanding of Cuba and her people. Over the past few years, a group of artists (including myself) have traveled to Cuba several times as part of an artist exchange program. We have grown to appreciate and become friends with the lovely people there. In 2019, this group of talented artists were honored to participate in the 13th Havana Biennial (Bienal de la Habana) as well as a tandem exhibitions elsewhere in Cuba & here in Ohio. After COSI announced that they’d be hosting a Cuba exhibition, I was excited to show my community support for such partnerships.
"¡Cuba! opens the door to a mostly unknown land. Consisting of 4,000 islands and home to about 11 million people, this ancient archipelago is marked by caves, artifacts and unspoiled biodiversity. Dr. Ana Luz Porzecanski, Director of the Center for Biodiversity and Conservation (CBC) at the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH), collaborated with AMNH and Museo Nacional de Historia Natural de Cuba to put together this bilingual exhibit."
My personal connection to Cuba isn’t the only thing getting me excited. Several years ago COSI, a children’s science museum, hired me to create an entire room of whimsical science-themed artworks to liven up one of the eating halls. These “ToeHeads” (as I call them) represent all the things I loved about the museum as a child and I’m exceptionally proud to say they now belong to their private collection. Additionally, after college I worked for an arts studio that occasionally were hired to create murals and other exhibitions for this museum. As you can see, COSI holds a special place for me as a long and healthy support network for the arts.
Along with many other museums, COSI has been eagerly awaiting the moment when they can re-open to their much loved guests. Before going, please take a moment to read their COVID-19 guidelines for re-opening.
Check out below to see the “ToeHeads” at COSI.