The Korimacao Project in Playa Larga, Cuba is hardly your run-of-the-mill art school. There's no tuition. The students don't need to have any prior art background. The only requirements: they need only be young and have talent. Oh, and lest I forget: each student that lives at the school 11 months of the year is paid a wage while they are in attendance. (Many students stay on for years and year.)
Founded in 1992, the school takes its name from the indigenous word
meaning "to carry something on your back." How appropriate given that
every week the students take their art, whether painting, drawing,
dance, music or theater, into the surrounding communities where the people would never have any other opportunities to have art experiences. Every week, the students go into any of 10 different communities in the rural Zapata Swamp area, staying three to four days, putting on plays, recitals, and concerts, and producing art.
The school itself is pretty much a self-contained creative entity, with its own design, makeup, costume construction, and audio-visual departments, as well as a video editor and cameraman, and students studying ballet, acting, fine art, music and much more. With plenty of intimate collaborative efforts, Korimacao, which has an orchestra and choir, can produce movies and plays. Sure, so much of Cuba seems stuck in the 1950s, with the citizenry continuing to suffer from the continued food rationing as well as the difficulty acquiring any sort of new equipment. And yet, the youth in Cuba brim with creativity that refuses to be impeded by these and other barriers. My four-minute video here reveals the stellar talents of a group of jazz musicians studying at Korimacao.