San Alejandro Academy of Fine Arts cultural reference
By Alina Gómez
A training institution for relevant Cuban fine arts artists, the San Alejandro National Academy of Fine Arts has remained for more than two centuries as one of the historical references of culture on the island.
The center, the first official one established in Cuba for the teaching of the arts and the second in the American continent, was originally established on January 11, 1818 in the St. Augustíne Convent in Old Havana, as a Free School of Drawing and Painting.
Its first director was the French painter Jean Baptiste Vermay, who remained in that position until his death in 1833, later succeeded by prominent artists of that nationality and Italians, until in 1836, when the Cuban painter and sculptor, Miguel Melero Rodríguez, won the position by competition.
Prestigious national creators have been in its direction and its cloister, such as Leopoldo Romañach, Armando Menocal, Esteban Valderrama y Peña, Enrique Caravia, Florencio Gelabert and Carmelo González.
Many of their students have also highlighted Cuban art internationally at different times, including Domingo Ravenet, Juan José Sicre, Rita Longa, Agustín Cárdenas, Víctor Manuel, Fidelio Ponce de León, Jorge Arche, Eduardo Abela, Raúl Martínez, Servando Cabrera Moreno, Juan Moreira, Flora Fong and Roberto Fabelo.
Throughout its history, the Academy occupied several buildings in Havana, until it was definitively established in 1962 in its current location in the Marianao neighborhood, in the west of the city.
Drawing, Painting, Engraving, Sculpture, Ceramics, Jewelry, Graphics and Digital Art are among the disciplines taught in this center, cradle of the most authentic national work in fine arts.