From Mexico to Haiti to Cuba, we’ve done our best to communicate with artists and their families impacted by recent natural disasters. And although it would be nearly impossible to communicate with all of the artists in these areas that have participated in IFAM throughout the years, we were very happy to learn that many have weathered the storms and earthquakes and are currently helping to rebuild their communities.

One such artist is Leandro Gómez Quintero from Baracoa, Cuba. Leandro was a first-time IFAM artist in 2017. Baracoa was heavily damaged in 2016 during Hurricane Matthew, and Leandro’s home was completely destroyed.

Leandro Gomez Quintero

Leandro in his studio, January 2017

His studio, however, survived and it was still possible for him to participate in the 2017 Market, where he found much success. His sculptures— models of American cars and Jeeps made of paper and cardboard individually hand painted and detailed to mimic the original vehicle—sold out.

Baracoa after Hurricane Matthew

With his earnings, Leandro returned to Cuba with much-needed art supplies and hired two previously unpaid studio assistants. He also decided to give back to his home community, where the impact of his sales truly made a difference in people’s lives.

Leandro’s neighborhood after Irma

“With earnings from my first Market, I was able to purchase and repair radio equipment that was damaged in Hurricane Matthew,” he says. “We communicated with people in Baracoa and surrounding communities during Hurricane Irma and kept them informed every hour on the proximity and severity of the storm so that they would be informed, become prepared, and have peace of mind.”

Radio Emergency Center in Baracoa