It’s the busiest week of the year in Cuenca! Independence festival, Day of the Dead, Halloween dance, Ricky Martin in concert

Oct 29, 2018

By Sara Coppler

If you plan your time around what’s happening in Cuenca’s creative community, then this column is for you. Published every Monday, “What’s Happening Under the Domes” highlights the exhibits, concerts, workshops and other not-to-be-missed artistic events scheduled for the coming week. We cannot guarantee a complete listing, but we’ll try our best to keep you informed.

This week:

On Friday, November 2, known in Ecuador as Día de los Difuntos (Day of the Deceased), friends and family come to remember their loved ones and bringing meals to share at the cemetery. For the Kichwa (Quechua), death does not mark an end, but a transition to another life in which the dead and the living share in eating, drinking, talking and praying on this day.

Anthropologists say that the ritual of communing with the dead dates back thousands of years. When Spanish colonialists arrived in Latin America in the 16th century, the native death rituals were incorporated into observations of All Hallows’ Eve, All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day, which occur back to back on the Roman Catholic calendar.

Cuenca’s independence festival kicks off October 31.

In Ecuador, Día de Todos los Santos (All Saints Day) is celebrated on Nov. 1, and is a smaller holiday focusing on children who have passed away. All Hallows Eve, on Oct. 31, is not observed religiously, although American-style Halloween celebrations have started to gain popularity in recent years. Día de los Difuntos is the most celebrated, as it honors all who have died.

And, of course, this is the week of Cuenca’s annual independence celebration, with action beginning Wednesday, October 31 and continuing through Sunday, November 4. In all, there are 350 events, including cratfs and food fairs, parades, concerts, art exhibits, dance performances, and much, much more. Event agendas are available at all local iTur offices.

Expat artist request:  A professional artists list is being developed to make available to galleries and art patrons in Cuenca. If you wish to be added to the list, please send your name, primary media you work in, or something about the kind of work you do, as well as contact information and/or website to Dan at

Monday, October 29
Poisonous Morsels for Halloween!

On Monday, October 29, Frances A. Hogg will launch the first two books, “Miss Webster’s Little Arm” and “Fingers”, in her Poisonous Morsels series. Each volume contains twenty-five illustrated stories. Paperback copies and e-books can be purchased through Amazon or may be ordered in advance at a special price of $12 each, or both volumes for $20. The books will be available for pick up between 4 and 6 p.m. at the launch party at the Astoria Grill on the northeast corner of Presidente Borrero and Presidente Cordova.

Artist Patricia Lee, “Artfully yours,” Exhibition Continues through Friday

Patricia Lee is a master at dot painting. Her inspirations include nature and local culture, and her passion is what she calls “trash-to-treasures” – reusing and up-cycling everything from weathered tile fragments found on the riverbanks and beaches to scratched-up old records. Also, on exhibit are beautifully painted wooden bowls.

The gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Monday through Friday, at idiomART on Presidente Córdova 1-77 y Manuel Vega.

Free movies at the Castle, Monday through Friday

Daily show time is 4 p.m., at the Castle Cinema and Grill on 3 de Noviembre y Bajada de Todos los Santos.

Monday,”Bridge of Spies”.

Storyline: During the Cold War, an American lawyer is recruited to defend an arrested Soviet spy in court, and then help the CIA facilitate an exchange of the spy for the Soviet captured American U2 spy plane pilot, Francis Gary Powers.

Tuesday, “Ray”.

Storyline: The story of the life and career of the legendary rhythm and blues musician Ray Charles, from his humble beginnings in the South, where he went blind at age seven, to his meteoric rise to stardom during the 1950s and 1960s.

Wednesday, “Silence of the Lambs”.

Storyline: A young FBI cadet must receive the help of an incarcerated and manipulative cannibal killer to help catch another serial killer, a madman who skins his victims.

Thursday, “Arrival”.

Storyline: A linguist is recruited by the military to communicate with alien life forms after twelve mysterious spacecraft land around the world.

Friday, “The Blind Side”.

Storyline: The story of Michael Oher, a homeless and traumatized boy who became an All American football player and first round NFL draft pick with the help of a caring woman and her family.

Tuesday, October 30
Concert Donnie Parko & Ilaló (La Músika First Edition)

8 p.m. at the Carlos Cueva Tamariz Theater on Av 12 de Abril and Agustín Cueva.

This is the first edition of a series of 16 concerts to be held in the city of Cuenca at the Carlos Cueva Tamariz Theater, called “La Musika: Proyecto Impuslador”.Directors are Claudio Rodriguez and Andres Arias.


In the afternoon there will be a conversation and workshop for drums and bass with the concert musicians, DiferBerrezuetaNeiraand Matías López Andrade at the House of the Posadas on Miguel Heredia y Gran Colombia.

4 p.m.  Spanish only.

Latin musician Luis Ullauri is performing at the Jazz Society Café every Tuesday.

7:30 p.m.   $5 Cover

Jazz Society Café is located at 5-101 Luis Cordero y Juan Jaramillo, upstairs of the La Viña Italian Restaurant.

Wednesday, October 31
The Oldies but Goodies Dance Club is having a Halloween Costume Party!

Wednesday, October 31, from 7 to 10 p.m.
Location: Villa San Carlos, Remigio Tamariz 1-85 y Avenida Solano
Donation: $5 per person.

Mostly Oldies Rock ‘n’ Roll music with a reasonable priced bar. Snacks are provided.

All styles of dancing are welcome to the music provided. The dance area is huge.  Costumes are not mandatory. Masks will be available for the costume-challenged. There will be prizes for “Best Male” and “Best Female” costume.

For more information or to make a reservation, email:

Thursday, November 1
CIDAP Craft Fair along the banks of the Tomebama River

The fair begins Thursday, November 1 and continues through Sunday, November 4.

More than 140 artisans from Ecuador and 10 Latin American countries will display and sell their work during Cuenca’s independence holidays. The sponsor of the event, the Inter-American Center of Crafts and Popular Arts (CIDAP), says this year’s displays will be the most impressive in the fair’s 16-year history.

A holiday crafts tents on the Rio Tomebamba.

In addition to the artisan tents by the river, other artists will display in the CIDAP courtyard on Paseo Tres de Noviembre at the Calle Hermano Miguel escalinata. In addition to artisans from as far away as Chile, this year’s fair will again include entries from all of Ecuador’s indigenous and ethnic communities, including the Shuar, Amazonian Kichwas, the Andean Panzaleos, and the African-Ecuadorians from the Chota Valley.

Día de Los Muertos, Sugar Skull inspire this week’s Vino & Van Gogh

Artist Amelia Earl is hosting a Vino & Van Gogh painting session celebrating Dia de los Muertos.

Enjoy your favorite glass of wine while re-creating a featured painting of the night.

All supplies and your first glass of wine are provided as Amelia will guide you step-by-step through creating a featured painting and help you unleash your inner Van Gogh.

Perfect for beginners and aficionados alike, our classes offer a fun, easy, stress-free chance to create a painting you can be proud of.

Food and Drinks will be available for purchase throughout the evening.

Sign up now, by going to this link: for an unforgettable time of painting, sipping and socializing!

Cost: $29
Time: 5 to 9 p.m.
Event Location: Cafe San Sebas, Plaza San Sebastián.

Exhibition of artistic wood furniture

The Don Bosco Art Center exhibits the work of Ecuadorian artisans who live in the sierra. Furniture and sculptures in solid wood without screws and nails but with a skilled assembly system. It is a social project of the Mato Grosso operation that trains young carpenters through an internship that will get them to a level where they can make a living in their communities without having to emigrate.


The exhibit is in the gym of the Salesian Pölitecnica University, November 1 through 4, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. from 1 to 4.

SalesianPölitecnicaUniversityislocated at Calle Vieja 12-30 y Elia Liut.

Hostal Yakumama and Patio Yaku present:Yakufest # 21

8 p.m. to 3 a.m.

A costume party with prizes!  Cover $3, after 10 p.m. $5.

Music line up: “Musical Storm”, DJ JP, DubSteve, CUDJ, and Sound System Beats.

Patio Yaku is located at Luis Cordero 5-66 y Honorato Vasquez.

Friday, November 2

Cuenca Visual Arts (CVA) will have a Member Artist Show for November

The member artists showing are Maité Eusebio (lovely land and seascapes, floral stilllifes), Janda Grove (oil paintings from memories, thoughts and impressions), Garry Kaulitz (master printmaker will be showing abstract silkscreens), Boris Ordoñez (abstract acrylic paintings on aluminum) and Alberto Soriano (fanciful whimsical oils on canvas).

The opening for these accomplished, favorite, strong artists will be from 5 to 7 p.m. on Friday, November 2.  The show will continue through the month of November, regular gallery hours are Wednesday through Saturday, from 1 to 6 p.m.

Cuenca Visual Arts is located at Calle Larga 3-82 y Vargas Machuca.
Learn about the Achuar culture at MINKA

Here is your opportunity to meet the Achuar from the Amazon up close. Experience traditional Achuar culture, including dress, dance and songs. Learn about the lifestyle in their communities and challenges they face as they interact with the world outside their rainforest environment. 10 members will be visiting, including a Shaman, from November 2 to 4.

MINKA is Hogar de Esperanza’s community/event center and restaurant located at Gran Colombia 9-69 and Padre Aguirre. Part of the proceeds from this event will be in support of FundacionIkiam, an Achuar non-profit.

For more information, contact Garry Vatcher: or call 096 896 2015.

Saturday, November 3 and Sunday, November 4

Ricky Martin

Ricky Martin Live in Cuenca!

The leading pop artist in Latin Music will be in Cuenca for the first time on Saturday, November 3 at 8:30 p.m. For more ticket information, go to this website:

Coming soon:

U.S. Election Night Watch party at Liron Liron – The Democrats Abroad invite friends and family to share good food and drink while watching the Mid-term election returns live on a giant screen television, Tuesday, November 6.

The kitchen will be open until 10 p.m. with some low-priced specials as well as the regular menu. The bar will be open until midnight.

Liron Liron is located at Gran Columbia 9-41 y Benigno Malo.

The Cultural Center Bunker – Cantina & Gallery, has a new exhibition of plastic arts: “Con la otra mano”, by maestro Luigi Stornaiolo, opening on Thursday, November 8 at 7:30 p.m.

The Bunker is located at the Triángulo de Chaullabamba,

Additionally, there will be a conversation about the artist’s career in at the Hotel Crespo on Friday, November 9 at 7p.m. Moderator: Carlos Vásconez.

What’s Happening Under the Domes is a weekly column by Sara Coppler. Sara has lived in Ecuador for over 5 years. She is an architect by training, who has worked for more than two decades in the field of international development and poverty housing. She is a co-founder of idiomART, a creative community center in Cuenca. Having admired the creative process throughout her life,she describes herself as a “Head Cheerleader for the Arts.” It’sthis enthusiasm that she hopes to bring to this weekly column. You may contact her at and feel free to check out her Under The Domes website at

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