What’s up with Cuba?

July 18, Thursday, 7:30 p.m.

Presented in connection with BMAC’s upcoming ARTravel expedition to Cuba, local Cuba experts Dan MacArthur and Tim Weed offer a chance to learn about the historical context of Cuba, its vibrant arts and music scene, the evolution of its unique system of organic urban agriculture, and recent developments in the country’s “special” relationship with the US that have put it on the cusp of historic change.

A self-described “gearhead,” Dan MacArthur is a Vermont mechanic fascinated with vintage cars, which has led him to a near obsession with Cuba. In the late 1950s, before Castro and the Communists rose to power, Cuba got almost all of its automobiles from the United States. The cars are still there, but because of the U.S. trade embargo against Cuba, getting parts, let alone replacement cars, has been all but impossible, which is where MacArthur comes in. He lives in Vermont where he took a course on Cuba at a local college, which culminated in an educational visit to Havana. Tiptoeing around the edges of the U.S. sanctions against Castro’s Cuba, MacArthur delivers auto parts to Cuba, which has led to a long love affair with the cars themselves and the people who keep them rolling.

Tim Weed is a Vermont-based author and educator with extensive experience in Cuba, who has spent his entire career developing and leading educational travel programs abroad. From 1999 to 2004, he headed up a series of pioneering educational programs for American students in Cuba, including a four-week mobile writing workshop that traversed the island from Santiago to Havana. Since then, Tim has led numerous cultural, arts, and choral music programs in Cuba for National Geographic Expeditions, the Grand Circle Foundation, and Educational Travel Associates. Tim’s articles on travel and the outdoors have appeared in many national magazines, and his essay, “Embargoed Brothers: An American in Off-Limits Cuba,” won a 2012 Best Travel Writing Award. He teaches an honors global engagement course on the U.S.-Cuba relationship at Keene State College, and is a lecturer in Western Connecticut State University’s MFA in Creative and Professional Writing program.

“What’s up with Cuba?” is presented in anticipation of BMAC’s November 2013 ARTravel expedition to Cuba, led by Weed, which will focus on Cuba’s vibrant contemporary arts scene. The deadline to register for the trip is August 1. Click here for more information.

Admission: $5 adults, seniors, and students; free for BMAC members and children under 6.