The Early Years: 1998-2008
The Cuban Artists Fund was founded in New York City in 1998 by Cuban-American community cultural leaders and diverse members of the arts community. The newly formed organization was comprised of a Board of Directors that voluntarily raised funds to sponsor art exhibitions, projects, films, books, and events by Cuban and Cuban-American artists.
During CAF’s early years, the needs of artists in Cuba were at critical cross-roads: supplies were non-existent, support was minimal, and cultural exchanges were far and few. CAF’s role as a pathfinder and implementer of innovative projects helped open the possibilities for other individuals and organizations interested in serving artists both in the United States and in Cuba.
CAF was one of the first groups that celebrated Cuban arts and culture and sought to advance rightful its place in the global art world.
The organization’s growing interest among the arts community and public, coinciding with the increasing needs of artists, resulted in a strategic plan which was adopted by the Board in 2006 and ended in May 2007. During this time, new Board members joined, an Advisory Board was created, and significant funds were secured by several foundations, generous donors, and the CAF leadership. With this momentum, CAF transitioned from a volunteer-based organization to a professionally-staffed operation with the arrival of the first Executive Director, Carlos Pomares, in 2008.
Prior to the CAF’s transitioning in 2008, the organization focused primarily on providing technical assistance, facilitating cultural exchange, and grants to artists. The following artists were assisted during this period:
CAF 2008 – Today
Nearly two decades after its inception, CAF has evolved into a trusted partner among artists and institutions in Cuba. CAF has partnered with major institutions in the U.S. and Cuba on a multitude of projects and its team of board members, advisors, and staff is sought after to advise and support a wide range of Cuba related projects. CAF has also weathered many political storms that have curtailed engagement with Cuban artists and exchanges.
Since the normalization of diplomatic relations in 2014, CAF has expanded its work with Cuban artists abroad. CAF will continue to work within the evolving guidelines and opportunities established as the demand for support of Cuban arts increases. For detailed information on our offerings, please see our Artist Support page.