Unfinished Spaces and New Connections

At the Latino Cultural Center

More than 150 people attended the screening of “Unfinished Spaces” this week, a film about the masterpiece Escuelas Nacionales de Arte in Havana, Cuba, unfinished for many years because of political disfavor.

The sponsoring groups felt as though the film warranted a broader audience than the architectural community, so we held it at the Latino Cultural Center.

Finding the audience was a lot of fun for me.  Although I knew a few folks in Dallas of Cuban origin, there seemed to be no organized Cuban-American groups, so I had to rely on networking to find individuals.

Unfinished Spaces Panel

Unfinished Spaces Panel: Rick del Monte, Hector Garcia, Rolando Diaz

One of the folks I came across was Rolando Díaz, a Cuban-born Dallas artist whose first return to his native country was chronicled in a 2007 documentary, Recapturing Cuba. Ro, along with architect Rick del Monte, and actor and musician Hector García, created a thought-provoking panel for the post-screening discussion. And we had a great audience: architecture aficionados, preservationists, past and future travelers to Cuba, Cuban-Americans, Mexican-Americans.

As with my work as public participation consultant for the Asian-American Cultural Center, there is nothing I love more than using my existing connections to make new ones, and sharing a deeper understanding of people and communities as a result.