A performance of Teatro El Portazo, a theater company based in Matanzas, Cuba. Havana Restaurant will host an art auction party on Saturday, Feb. 10, from 5-7 p.m. as a fundraiser for an arts exchange between the Barn Arts Collective and Teatro El Portazo. PHOTO COURTESY OF CLAUDIO PELAEZ SORDO

Art auction party to boost MDI-Cuba theater exchange



BAR HARBOR — Havana Restaurant will host an art auction party to raise money for The Cuban American Chekhov Exchange — a new initiative that will include a premiere of a new Barn Arts production in Cuba and bring a Cuban theater company to MDI — on Saturday, Feb. 10, from 5-7 p.m.

The exchange grew out of the Barn Arts Chekhov Club, a community group that meets throughout the year to read, discuss and perform work by the writer Anton Chekhov. Local resident Jarly Bobadilla, who has been involved with Chekhov Club for the last four years and was born in Havana, reached out to Cuban theater organizations to establish a connection between the two countries based on Chekhov’s work. This led to a growing relationship between the Barn Arts Collective and Teatro El Portazo, a theater company based in Matanzas, Cuba.

The organizations are collaborating on a project based on a short play by Chekhov called “The Harmful Effects of Tobacco.” The play deals with themes of immobility, power and identity, and serves as the source material for shows that are currently in development by both theaters.

Teatro El Portazo is slated to bring its production to Bass Harbor for the 2019 Barn Arts Chekhov Festival, and Barn Arts has been invited to perform in Cuba next month.

In support of The Cuban American Chekhov Exchange, Havana Restaurant will host the art auction party, which will include live music, complimentary wine and snacks, and a live auction featuring artwork by local and Cuban artists. Admission is by donation.

“We’re thrilled to have a local partner supporting this exchange, and Havana is a perfect fit,” said Barn Arts co-founder Andrew Simon. “We share an interest in engaging with diverse communities and celebrating international cultures, and we’re excited to invite the community to join us in that celebration this weekend.”

The Barn Arts Collective is a local nonprofit organization that brings people together for live events that make the arts and creativity a vital part of life on Mount Desert Island and beyond. Visit barnartscollective.com.