Culture creates a sense of belonging, roots

Literary critic Fredric Jameson says that culture is a social process (...), the aura perceived by a group when it encounters another or when it observes the other.

In classical Greece that magic took place in a square, in the Agora, where citizens debated common issues. The Enlightenment added cafes, clubs, and salons, which became meeting points for the bourgeoisie to share their ideas. Today there are many options around the world and not a few cities prioritize the management of public space concerning cultural management.

If we look at Cuba today with a magnifying glass and spyglass, we see that there are still gaps in the formation of audiences, consumption habits, dissemination of activities, and other areas that are essential to building a more educated and educated society. This leads us to ask: What kind of country do we want to have? What kind of citizens do we want to be?

We increasingly need to live in an environment where culture is breathed, where human beings are dignified, and where citizenship is consolidated and educated, precepts defended by José Martí and Fidel Castro. Something that, of course, goes beyond the artistic-literary aspect, it is a way of behavior, a way of life.

Betting on it is an urgent, essential course, especially when we live in complex times. As much as it has been said that art is medicine for the soul, it is still valid. Transmitting esthetic and human values, nurturing individual and collective self-improvement, defending identity..., all this is a guarantee for the future.

The same spark that moved our artists to come up with suggestive initiatives, in the network of networks and from their homes, in very difficult moments of the pandemic, must always be the rudder of the will, even when sometimes there is no other choice but to reinvent oneself.

These days, some people -creators included- have complained about the deserted sadness that floods the Balcón de Oriente, especially in its evenings, for lack of programming that privileges a diversity of cultural options, with some exceptions.

Our main movie theater -the "Tunas"- will reopen soon, after a long repair that has taken an investment of more than 64 million pesos. It is expected to do so as a cultural complex, including gastronomic options.

The "Luanda", on the other hand, was reopened a short time ago and offers food services, as well as artistic services, with prices ranging from 20.00 to 150.00 pesos in local currency, depending on the presentations.

Meanwhile, institutions such as the Provincial Committee of the UNEAC, and above all, the Casa del Joven Creador, strive to maintain its useful life through meetings, gatherings, exhibitions, concerts, and other activities, with the protagonism of local talent, especially poets and troubadours. However, they are still insufficient within the city's machinery and it is truly sad that, when observing the faces present in the audience, it is mostly the same artists who attend the activities. That tells us something, doesn't it?

The promotion continues to be a pending issue in several cases, limiting the public's prior knowledge of the available options. While it is true that we have gained ground in social networks, there is still much to learn about this matter, while everywhere we win the fight against loudspeakers and speakers that perpetuate the banality and the superfluous.

There are ways to promote that goes beyond the media, whose functions are much broader. Why don't we use institutional audio equipment? Why do we spend so many hours "making noise" on the Internet after the activity and not make the same "noise" before its development?
Where are the brochures and flyers with interesting information in places where people gather? Do we inform in time the cultural promoters of the communities so that they contribute to this function? Of course, there are exceptions.

In addition, it is imperative to review well the gear when planning presentations, which many times are neglected -for example- the orchestras "of the patio", with the consequent disappointment of its members, since there depends, logically, the personal and family sustenance.

More than 95 percent of the province's programming comes from the Amateur Artists Movement. That is good, hence the root of all training, but we must balance the balance also for the benefit of the other inspirers. They are all important and the people need them all. Even if distributing the budget becomes a Rubik's cube, it is necessary.

Programming and promotion should go hand in hand like a happy marriage. How many valuable appointments go practically unnoticed or with minimal attendance because "I didn't hear about it"? That is unforgivable. I have been able to appreciate it on several occasions at the Plaza de los Recuerdos, in the Primero neighborhood (near the "Mexico" neighborhood in the capital city), where local and national artists have performed in front of small audiences.

Eduardo Galeano said: "There is no magic formula that can allow you to change reality if you do not start by seeing it as it is. To be able to transform it, you have to start by assuming it". It is necessary to win spaces and spectators. If there is a school near a certain gallery, why not coordinate a visit by students to the exhibition hall? If there are establishments in the private sector -such as cafes and restaurants- that could be encouraged with performances, why not make the pertinent agreements?

Today, a sense of belonging and willingness can be appreciated in the current direction of the cultural sector of Las Tunas, a determining parameter to promote the necessary transformations in several senses. However, we are not talking about a matter of a few, because these are issues that concern us all. In addition, this reality is not exclusive to Las Tunas; I am sure that other provincial chapters could be written with similar nuances.

Alliances, open-mindedness, healthy criticism, and self-criticism, the study of the potentialities of the spaces and the type of audience, as well as dusting off related theses, listening to the diversity of criteria, making better use of resources, making more intentional work with schools and communities, in short, being champions of culture, are important.

Bringing people closer to worthy and autochthonous expressions of creation can save them from ignorance, vulgarity, mediocrity, foreignizing symbols, and other evils against which our country struggles.