Make sure to spend some time exploring the great art in Havana Cuba, including the museums, galleries and available handicrafts.
Save time to visit the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes de Arte Cubano. I found an attractive contemporary building full of colorful Cuban art. This museum is part of the more formal Palacio de Bellas Artes (Palace of Fine Arts).
Then visit Callejon de Hammel in the Cayo Hueso quarter. You will love the colorful murals in this alley and the studio of the famous native painter Salvador Gonzales Escalona. He was an Afro Cuban painter and sculptor well known for his murals; he passed away in 2021. I purchased a wonderful oil painting for my collection in Chicago.
If you have time, a visit to the home and studio of Jose Fuster or Fusterlandia is a must. Located at Calle 266, at the corner of 3ra A Jaimanitas, Fuster has covered most of the fences, gates, walls and house in mosaics and painted tiles. Tour the yard and then the studio. His paintings are outstanding, though expensive. I did buy a very small affordable piece.
Almacenes San Jose Artisan’s Market: Located at Avenida del Puerto esq. Calle Cuba, this is a large warehouse building turned artisan market that features local handicrafts and art. It can be somewhat touristy, but those with a good eye can find some very good art, photography, lithographs and more. Most of the art can be found in the rear of the building. The original market was an outdoor market that I visited in 2009. It was moved indoors shortly after I was there.
Santacana Estudio Taller: Collectors of ceramics will love the work of Beatriz Sala Santacana, lawyer turned artist. Her lovely studio/gallery is located at Calle 166 #104 e/5ta y 1ra, Flores, Playa and features tiles, decorative plates and sculptures.
Instituto Superior de Arte: This is the National Arts School where students are trained in painting, ceramics, sculpture, music and dance. If you can, you may try to visit the school and some of the students or their onsite store. I was able to buy two lithographs from a student which were really excellent. They may have to bring the pieces to your hotel since they can’t sell on the premises.
Taller Experimental de Grafica: This is a print shop and gallery where you can meet local artists and watch them work and then buy their prints directly from them or in the attached store. I bought two great pieces! Located in the heart of Habana Viejo at Callejon del Chorro #62.
Nearby is the Galeria Victor Manuel at San Ignacio #56 at the corner of Callejon del Chorro. It is an attractive gallery that is worth the visit
For a great experience make sure to visit the Fabrica de Arte Cubano/FAC, a wonderful venue for art, film, cocktails, music and more. Calle 26, entre 11 y 13 in Vedado. It is frequented by a younger crowd and is located in a former cooking oil factory. It is packed on weekends, so go early or expect long lines.