Cuba photographer
Cuba photographer
Cuba photographer

My love affair with Cuba

For many people, Cuba’s image is romantic, voluptuous, mysterious and a little dangerous. When travel restrictions were relaxed, I visited Havana at my first opportunity, on an organized “people to people” tour in November 2015. I took hundreds of photos, but they were a formality. The images of that country lived in my imagination for the past 50 years. I just needed the chance to record them in person so I could share with others. My goal was to find a way to visit Cuba regularly, not as a tourist but as part of an effort that would help build relationships between the US and that country.

I returned on a similar tour in November 2016, where I connected with several travelers from Minnesota Public Radio. Through those relationships, I became involved with several organizations: the Cuban American Youth Orchestra (, a nonprofit dedicated to providing educational and performance opportunities for student and pre-professional musicians from the US and Cuba through workshops, arts delegations, and cultural exchanges, and La Ruta de Mozart, a day of international celebration and performance of the complete string quartets by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) in the old city of Havana, Cuba. I now travel regularly to Cuba, documenting the concerts, rehearsals, educational seminars and networking that helps these organizations accomplish their missions. I’m thrilled to have achieved my goal, and am proud to be part of these small but powerful efforts.

Here you see a few cherished images of Cuban musicians and American supporters. Workshops, rehearsals and concerts. Havana performers and schoolkids. Plus a few tourist snapshots. Years’ worth of visits distilled into a few dozen photos but with bucketloads of emotion. I can’t wait for my next trip. Meantime, you can read about the 2020 La Ruta de Mozart festival in “Classical Routes: Postcard from Havana”.

Vickie Gray Images is located in the historic Meadow Mill complex, in Baltimore’s popular Woodberry/Hampden district.

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