Max Borges (b. 1918, Havana - d. 2009, Falls Church, VA): After earning degrees from Georgia Tech and Harvard University, Borges became part of a group of young architects that – during Cuba’s mid-century economic and tourism boom – fashioned the architectural style of their time. His father, Max Borges del Junco, owned one of the principal architectural firms in the island, and Borges himself quickly developed a distinguished practice, winning the National College of Architects Award for his work on the Medical and Surgical Center, built in 1948 in El Vedado. During the next decade, he designed a number of architecturally distinguished homes and apartment buildings in Havana and, in 1951, the fabled Tropicana Cabaret, which became an iconic image for Cuba’s capital. Borges left Cuba in 1959 and continued practicing architecture in various cities in the United States. He lives in Key Biscayne, Fla. (Lifetime Achievement Award, 2006)

Guillermo Cabrera Infante (b. 1929, Gibara-d. 2005, London): Writing as G.Caín, Cabrera Infante first gained fame as the virtuoso film critic for the magazine Carteles, for which he later became news editor. In Havana, he founded Cuba’s Cinemateca and was editor of the literary magazine Lunes de Revolución. In 1962, he traveled to Belgium as cultural attaché, but by 1965, he had abandoned diplomacy and settled permanently in Europe to pursue a literary career that brought him international acclaim. In addition to the short story collectionAsí en la paz como en la guerra and his celebrated novel,Tres Tristes Tigres, Cabrera Infante is the author of Un oficio del siglo XX, a collection of his film reviews;Exorcismos de esti(l)oLa Habana para un infante difuntoVista del amanecer en el trópico and Mea Cuba. He won the Cervantes literary prize in 1997.  (Lifetime Achievement Award, 2004)

Lydia Cabrera (b. 1899, Havana -d. 1991, Miami): One of Cuba’s foremost authorities in Afro-Cuban culture, Cabrera began her studies in the field when she traveled to Paris to study religion and art in 1927. She wrote 23 books on Afro Cuban themes, including El Monte, possibly the most famous of her works, and a dictionary of the Afro-Cuban Yoruba language. Her contributions in the area of literature, anthropology and ethnology were vast. She received  honorary doctorate degrees from Denison University, in Granville, Ohio; Redlands University, in California; Manhattan College in New York and the University of Miami. After her death, her collection of books, photographs and papers went to the University of Miami’s Richter Library, which holds it within its Cuban Heritage Collection. (Lifetime Achievement Award, 1988)

Margarita Cano (b. 1932, Havana): During a 30-year career at the Miami Dade Public Library, Cano helped shape a major art collection for the library system, was instrumental in the presentation of the first exhibition of Cintas Fellows in 1977 and of the exhibition on Colonial Cuba, “The Romance of an Era.” Cano served on the board of directors of the Cuban Museum of Arts and Culture, for which she organized the exhibition “Nine Cuban-American Artists, The Miami Generation,” which traveled to Washington D.C. and Philadelphia. After her retirement in 1993, Cano developed her own creative skills, painting portraits of her family and friends, Cuban landscapes and miniature books in the style of Medieval Books of Hours. She has also written and illustrated several books for children. Cano is a longtime member of the Cintas Foundation Board of Directors. In announcing her selection for the award, Board President Hortensia Sampedro said, “Margarita Cano has dedicated her life to the arts and has worked selflessly for the benefit of Cuban artists… in promoting the fellowships and the works of art of the fellows in numerous exhibitions.” Cano was educated at the Ruston Academy and the University of Havana. She took degrees in biochemistry and physics, later earning a Master degree in Library science. Before moving to the United States, she worked at the Havana National Museum and at the Julio Lobo Napoleon Museum. (Lifetime Achievement Award, 2009)

Willy Chirino (b. 1947, Consolación del Sur): Celebrating 40 years in the music business, Chirino is recognized throughout the world as the creator of the Miami Sound. He won a GRAMMY® in 2006 for Best Salsa/Merengue Album for Son del Alma and was nominated in 2007 for a Latin GRAMMY® for Best Salsa Album for 35 Aniversario-En Vivo. He has released more than thirty albums and is the composer of over 100 songs which have been recorded by over 60 artists including Celia Cruz, Raphael, Gipsy Kings, David Bisbal and Oscar D’Leon. He launched his own music label in 1997, Latinum Music, after being signed by CBS and later Sony Music. He launched a worldwide tour in 2009 to promote his album Pa’lante, which took him to Europe, Central and South America, and most major cities in the United States. He then released My Beatles Heart in 2011, an album dedicated to the music of the legendary British band, but with the Chirino sound. In the summer of 2013, he was part of the Salsa Giants concert at the Curacao North Sea Jazz Festival. The concert was released on CD and won a Latin GRAMMY® in the category of Best Salsa Album and was nominated for a GRAMMY® and a Billboard® Award. (Lifetime Achievement Award, 2016)

 

Raúl de Armas (b. 1941, Havana): A founding principal of MdeAS, de Armas established Moed de Armas Architects in 1991. Recognized internationally as one of the world’s preeminent design architects, he has designed and completed many major buildings in the United States, Europe, Canada and the Middle East. In his career of more than 50 years he has won numerous design awards, including the prestigious Aga Khan Award for Architecture and was named Interiors Magazine’s “Designer of the Year” (1984). Raúl began his career at Holt & Downing Architects in 1963 before moving to Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, where he became a partner of the firm in 1979. He was involved in the design of many high-profile projects around the world, including Park Avenue Plaza, Citicorp at Court Square and 780 Third Avenue in collaboration with Leon Moed and the Palio Restaurant in NYC, BCE Place in Canada, San Benigno Torre Nord (“Il Matitone”) in Italy and the master plan of the Haj Terminal/King Abdul Aziz International Airport in Saudi Arabia, which was honored by the AIA with the Twenty-five Year Award in 2010. (Lifetime Achievement Award, 2016)

 

Aurelio De La Vega (b. 1925, Havana): A composer and educator, De la Vega’s vast catalogue of works includes symphonic pieces, chamber music works, solo instrumental pieces, vocal works, piano, guitar and ballet music and electronic compositions. De la Vega has been the recipient of many prizes and distinctions, including having twice received the Friedheim Award of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. In 2000, he was honored by the Library of Congress when his graphic score, “The Magic Labyrinth,” was included in the library’s 733-page volume, Music History from Primary Sources. He has been very influential in the U.S. musical scene promoting the contemporary classical music of Latin America. De la Vega received a law degree from the University of Havana, a Ph.D. in music at the Conservatorio Ada Iglesias and also studied with Fritz Kramer in Havana and with Ernst Toch in Los Angeles. He retired as Distinguished Professor of Music and the director of the Electronic Music Studio at California State University, Northridge. (William B. Warren Lifetime Achievement Award, 2009)

Carmen Herrera (b. 1915, Havana) One Cuba's first abstract painters, Herrera has exhibited widely in solo and group shows, including El Espíritu latinoamericano: Arte y artistas en los Estados Unidos, 1920-1970, which traveled widely in the United States in 1988 and 1989, and Crossing Borders: Contemporary Art by Latin American Women at the College of New Rochelle, New York, in 1996. Herrera's pieces are in many museums and collections, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Tate Modern, London, the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C. and El Museo del Barrio in New York, and Havana's Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes. She studied painting and art history at Marymount College in Paris, architecture at the University of Havana and attended the Art Students League in New York. Herrera is the subject of a 26 minute documentary, Artists in Exile: Carmen Herrera, made in 1994, and of Carmen Herrera: 5 Degrees of Freedom, by Konstantia Kotaxis, produced for a major retrospective of the artist's work at the Miami Art Central in 2005. She is also one of 33 artists featured in the book Latin American Women Artists of the United States. Her work was included in the Outside Cuba exhibition. Herrera lived in Paris from 1948 until 1953 and has lived in New York City since 1954. She is the winner of a Creative Artists Public Service Award (CAPS) in New York. (Cintas for art, 1966-67, 1968-69; Cintas Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award in the Visual Arts, 2010)

Ana Mendieta (b. 1948, Havana - d.1985, New York) Recognized for her pioneering work in performance-based art and land art, Mendieta made films, photographs and sculptures rooted in conceptual art and in performance as well as in her own search for origins. She integrated her own body – or its silhouette – with the land in many variations to produce what she called "earth body art." She did this work in various locales, including Italy, Mexico, and Cuba, where she carved a series she namedRupestrian Sculptures at Escaleras de Jaruco in 1981. Mendieta moved to the United States in 1961 via the Operation Pedro Pan airlift; she attended the University of Iowa, where she earned bachelor's and master's degrees in painting and an MFA in Intermedia. In 1983, she received the Rome Prize from the American Academy in Rome. Her work has been the subject of many books, including Ana Mendieta: The "Silueta" Series, Ana Mendieta: A Book of Works, Unseen Mendieta: The Unpublished Works of Ana Mendieta, Where Is Ana Mendieta?: Identity, Performativity, and Exile and Ana Mendieta: Earth Body. The 1987 video, Ana Mendieta Fuego de Tierra, focuses on Mendieta and her work. Her work is in many major collections, including the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, D.C., The Art Institute of Chicago, The Whitney Museum and the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Miami Art Museum. (2009 Cintas Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award in the Visual Arts [awarded posthumously])

Ricardo Porro (b. 1925, Camagüey - d. 2014, Paris): A resident of Paris since 1966, Porro has earned international acclaim for his design for the Art Center in Vaduz, Liechtenstein, and several other major buildings in Europe. Porro began his architectural career in the late 1940s in Havana, where he designed several villas of distinction and, in the early 1960s, the masterful School of Art and School of Modern Dance in the National Art Schools complex.  He has been professor of architecture in universities in Cuba, Venezuela, France, Austria and Israel. His paintings, sculptures, furniture and architectural projects have been the subject of numerous exhibitions and publications around the world. In France, he was honored with the Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur and Commandeur de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. (Lifetime Achievement Award, 2006)

Rafael Soriano (b. 1920, Cidra): Soriano graduated in 1943 as Professor of Painting, Drawing and Sculpture from the Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes San Alejandro. He returned to Matanzas and taught visual arts for close to two decades. He was one of the founders, and later Director, of the Escuela de Bellas Artes de Matanzas. In 1962 he went into exile, settling in Miami with his family. He worked as a graphic designer and occasionally taught, first at the Catholic Welfare Bureau, and later at the Cuban Cultural Program of the University of Miami. Since his first exhibition in 1947 in Havana’s Lyceum and Lawn Tennis Club, his work has been represented in numerous individual exhibitions and close to two hundred collective shows. His paintings have traveled through the United States, Brazil, Venezuela, Puerto Rico, El Salvador, Chile, Peru, the Dominican Republic, Spain, Switzerland, Mexico, Italy, etc. Currently his work is included in numerous private and public collections Blanton Museum of Art, University of Texas at Austin; Denver Art Museum, Colorado; Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum, Rutgers University, New Jersey; Lowe Art Museum, University of Miami, Florida; Museo de Arte Zea, Medellin, Colombia; Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Havana, Cuba; Museum of Modern Art of Latin America (OAS), Washington, DC; Museum of Art, Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Galeria de Arte Moderno, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic; PAMM, Miami, FL, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC, and other important institutions and corporations. (Lifetime Achievement Award in Visual Arts, 2014)

 

Enrique Riverón (b. 1902, Cienfuegos-d. 1998, Melbourne): Having begun his career as a cartoonist – he worked for a time at the Walt Disney Studios – Riverón went on to become a painter and sculptor who traveled and exhibited widely in Europe, the United States and Latin America. He moved to Coral Gables in 1960, where he founded the Grupo Artístico Literario Abril (GALA) with other Latin American painters. His work is in the permanent collection of the Miami-Dade Public Library. (Lifetime Achievement Award, 1988)

 

Bebo (Ramón Emilio) Valdés (b. 1918, Quivicán - d. 2013, Stockholm): A pianist, composer and arranger, and the winner of five Grammy Awards since 2002, Valdés was an important figure of the Havana musical scene of the 1940s and ’50s, leading orchestras, including Sabor de Cuba, and backing singers such as Benny More, Pío Leyva and Rita Montaner. Valdés often performed in the legendary nightclub Tropicana where, for a time, he was musical director. He also recorded with Nat King Cole and was instrumental in the Cuban jazz scene. Valdés left Cuba in 1960, eventually settling in Stockholm, where he continued playing Cuban music and jazz. After more than 30 years out of the recording studios, his career was revived in 1994 with the release of the CD Bebo Rides Again and his participation in film Calle 54, directed by Fernando Trueba. His Grammy-winning CDs are El arte del sabor, Lágrimas negras and Bebo de Cuba, all released since 2002. Among his many compositions are Daquirí, Nocturno en batanga, and Ritmando el chachachá. He lives in Malaga, Spain. (Lifetime Achievement Award in music, 2006)

 

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