OFFICIAL VOICE OF THE COMMUNIST PARTY OF CUBA CENTRAL COMMITTEE
Cuban son musician par excellence, Adalberto Álvarez possesses an unmistakable harmonic and melodic style. Known as “El Caballero del Son” he has innovated and made great contributions to the genre. Photo: Cubadebate

Next year will be one of celebration for Cuban company Artex, marking 30 years since its founding.

Speaking with Marta Caballero, the holding company’s vice president of Image, she explained that plans for this year are aimed toward this huge celebration, with emphasis on important dates for groups and orchestras of the Artex catalogs, including NG La Banda and Charanga Habanera (30th anniversaries); Manolito Simonet y suTrabuco (25th anniversary); Azúcar negra (20th anniversary), and renowned Cuban son musicianAdalberto Álvarez’s 45-year artistic career.

From Artex itself, she added, we are celebrating 25 years of Musicalia and 20 years of Clave Cubana (both artistic agencies); 15 years of the Arte en Casa project and 25 years of Bis Music (Artex record company).

CULTURE AND MARKETING

Artex is involved in more than celebrations. It has an extensive line of work, marketing different cultural products through seven agencies, the first of which is Paradiso, specializing in cultural tourism.

Next, in terms of its economic impact, is Comercial Lauros, offering new product lines including Patatos (traditional Cuban garments), Baúl de Sueños (children’s products) and the exclusive Compay Segundo brand (men’s clothing and items for cigar smokers).

One of the most appreciated of Comercial Lauros’ projects is Arte en Casa, which combines Cuban arts with useful objects for the home. The collection already includes more than 200 products (plates, doilies, coasters, fans, umbrellas, cup and saucer sets) decorated with works by renowned contemporary Cuban painters and from the National Museum of Fine Arts’ Cuban and Universal Art collections.

In line with the latest trends, another of Artex’s focuses is the electronic commerce (www.mallcubano.com) of Cuban products (musical instruments, CDs, DVDs, prints, film posters, crafts, clothing), and even music downloads.

Precisely due to its importance in Cuba, the music world occupies another sphere in the holding company, through record label Bis Music, which has its own recording studio, Eusebio Delfín, located in the city of Cienfuegos.
The record company has a catalog of more than 700 albums, from the most traditional to the most contemporary trends of Cuban music. It was also the first in Cuba to win a Latin Granmy – the Award for Best Folk Albumwent to La Rumba soy Yo in 2001.

Since 2015, Bis Music has been committed to digital sales and has positioned most of its products on online marketing platforms such as Itunes, Amazon, YouTube, and Cubamusic.

CULTURAL CENTERS

In addition to a network of more than 250 stores throughout the country, Artex runs 90 cultural centers across the island, in which visitors can enjoy almost all musical genres, including pop fusion, trova, alternative music, popular dance, jazz, boleros, and electronic music.

Havana is privileged with clubs like El Sauce, Barbaram Pepito’s Bar, La Casa de 18, Salón Rosado de La Tropical “Benny Moré,” Café Miramar, and Submarino Amarillo.

The latest addition in the capital is Bule-Bar 66, the venue for a recent press conference regarding some of Artex’s plans in the lead up to its 30th anniversary.

Artex not only promotes cultural goods. According to its current President, Eladio Marrero, in an interview published in the magazine Arte por excelencias, “We are inserted in the Ministry of Culture's closed financing scheme, as the main contributor of foreign currency, hence our great responsibility to increase exports with the objective of self-financing the country’s cultural development programs.”

These programs include primary, secondary, and higher education art schools, the purchase of basic study materials, the maintenance or restoration of schools, cinemas, local cultural centers and other cultural sites.

Thus Artex is committed to promoting and marketing Cuba’s wealth of artistic and literary culture.