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Cuban Art in the 20th Century

6 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 23 — Museum of Fine Arts

It is a joy to be here tonight, and it’s great to see so many friends from the community and the Legislature.

This has been a fantastic month for celebrating the arts at FSU! We have just concluded the winter festival of Opening Nights, our premier performing arts series. And last week, I was at the Ringling to take part in a special sneak peek of its new Asian Art Wing.

Florida State is enormously proud of our arts programs. Besides the obvious educational and economic benefits, the arts promote civic discourse. And perhaps most importantly, they preserve our unique culture and heritage and pass them along to future generations.

With Florida being home to the largest Cuban-American population, this exhibition is especially meaningful to us.

I’d like to congratulate College of Fine Arts Dean Peter Weishar and exhibit curator Segundo Fernandez for conceiving of this ambitious project and bringing it to fruition.

I’m sure it was no small task to bring together a collection of more than 100 works representing a century of art. In fact, it is the largest exhibition of Cuban art shown in the United States in more than 70 years.

This is the kind of exhibit that you would expect to see in a large metropolitan museum. But the fact that it is right here at Florida State University does not surprise me a bit.

The FSU Museum of Fine Arts — under the direction of Allys (pronounced Alice) Palladino-Craig — has a history of presenting exciting exhibitions.

This is in keeping with the museum’s mission of enriching the university and the community by exhibiting works that expand our understanding of art today and in the past.

Planning for this exhibit began more than two years ago. Now, with a warming relationship between the United States and Cuba, it could not be more timely.

Part of our job is to educate our students to be global citizens and introduce them to the marketplace of ideas. This is a wonderful example of how we do that.

I had an opportunity to explore this collection earlier this evening, and I can tell you, you are in for a truly magnificent experience.