Art from the Things No One Wants

By Alexandra Garretón

During the day people peer into Radio Habana Social Club, on Valencia and 22nd, with both hands on the window and their forehead to the glass. Their curiosity is peaked by a doorframe decorated with machine gun crutches, a dark angel made out of a plastic baby doll, and a sign hanging in the clothes-dryer window that reads “Got Kisses?”

The looks continue into the evening, as people walk by, curious about what’s inside. Owner Victor Manuel Navarrete has been asked if it’s a daycare center or an art gallery. It’s closer to the latter, a show space for Cuban native Navarrete’s artwork – made from abandoned articles – where patrons can eat Indian-Cuban fusion or have a glass of wine while chit-chatting with their neighbors.

Since opening in 2000 it’s been a communal space for locals, artists, and intrigued adventurers. Even author Isabel Allende has taken the opportunity to enter Naverrete’s world.

Open 7 p.m. to midnight seven days a week.
A rumba group plays on Sundays twice a month.

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