This week in Cuenca (no foolin’!): Casablanca at La Guarida, Eat right to enjoy your life, Van Gogh at San Sebas, Mystery artist, Salsa lessons

Apr 1, 2019

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:

I am excited about Scott McDonald’s exhibit opening this Tuesday, April 2!

Scott has been an artist-in-residence with idiomART for the past nine months. Scott can usually be found in the city of Anchorage, Alaska for most of the winter, and somewhere in the woods around Homer, Alaska for most of the summer. He studied painting at Minneapolis College of Art and Design and usually teaches art to kids in Anchorage public schools. More importantly, he works on art every day.

Scott is taking a break from teaching and is living in Cuenca for a year with his wife and two kids. He is working on a body of work to be shown in Anchorage in November. He is represented by Bunnell Street Art Center in Homer, and Georgia Blue Gallery in Anchorage. He is so talented and has a created some fantastic art while living in Cuenca.

Scott McDonald “So Far”

Please make your plans now to see his work at idiomART!

Monday, April 1
tattleTALES: Critique Group for Writers of Memoir & Personal Essay

This free critique group is for anyone who wants to tell a life story–to write about lived adventure, adversity, trauma, and/or redemption. No writing experience is needed.

Sessions are held at idiomART (Presidente Córdova 1-77 1-77 between Manuel Vega and Miguel Angel Estrella) on the first and third Mondays of each month, 10 a.m. until noon. Coffee, tea, and chocolate croissants will be served.

Facilitated by Carolyn V. Hamilton and Kathryn M. McCullough, for more information, email:

Free classic films in La Guarida!

Monday, 7 p.m.: “Mujeres al Borde de un Ataque de Nervios”, (Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown), a film by Master Filmmaker Pedro Almodóvar (in Spanish with English Subtitles).

About: When Pepa Marcos’ (Carmen Maura) lover Ivan suddenly leaves her without any explanation, she embarks on a strange journey to discover why. On the way she meets a variety of eccentric characters, including Ivan’s son from a previous relationship (Antonio Banderas), his fiancé Marissa and a Shiite terrorist cell who have been secretly holding her best friend Candela hostage. It’s a film noir take on the romantic comedy. Almodóvar at his best.

Tuesday, 7 p.m.: “Casablanca”, a film by Michael Curtiz, starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman (in English).

Casablanca La Guarida

About: Come and see Ingrid Bergman and Humphrey Bogart made for one of the all-time great onscreen pairings. Odd, since they’re not even an item for most of this movie. Rather, they’re remembering a love affair they once had, one rudely interrupted by the Nazis. “Casablanca” is filled with intrigue and romance, most of it conveyed not through action but reflection and zesty dialogue. (Maybe that’s why this is one of the most quotable films of all time, from “Here’s looking at you, kid” to “We’ll always have Paris” to “I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”) And, of course, Bogey and Bergman making eyes at each other.

Food and drinks served. The first 10 guests receive free popcorn. Reservations: 099 806 8071, call after 8 a.m.

La Guarida is located at Mariscal Lamar y Luis Pauta.

Tuesday, April 2
An exhibit by Scott McDonald, “So Far”, opening at idiomART!

4 to 7 p.m. Meet the artist, music, light fare and cash bar with a specialty drink: “Moscow Moose”! Exhibition continues through April 29

idiomART’s Gallery Hours: Monday through Friday, from 10 AM to 3 PM.

About the artist: Scott McDonald

Philosophy: “I’m happiest when I don’t know what the end will be. I work to see what will happen. I experiment. I adjust and alter. I ask my work what it needs. I wait for it to tell me what to do. I like the bold step of trying something untested, of not censoring, of letting intuition take over, and I like working without a destination. I work to find out where I’ll go. I’m interested in the process of painting, the journey, of putting parts together to form a whole.

I like to discover how a singular idea or set of actions can have many different outcomes. When I work, it’s usually in a series. I work in series so I can see the diverse outcomes of one idea; so, I can play with the diverse outcomes of one idea.

My work is informed by my life, my family, personal experiences, the students I work with, by memories, and by other artists. It’s concerned with the emotion that comes from memory. I like it best when people have an emotional response to my work, when they feel something and they don’t ask what it means, or who it is, or what it’s about.”

idiomART is located at Presidente Córdova 1-77 between Manuel Vega and Miguel Angel Estrella.

Virtuoso Singer-Guitarist Luis Ullauri performs at Café La Joyapa!

Tuesdays through Saturdays, 7:30.-10p.m., Cover charge $7.

Café La Joyapa is a rustic, candle-lit space on the second floor of of El Doblón restaurant. Food and drink service, provide by El Doblón, includes a wide selection of reasonably priced Ecuadorian, Italian, and North American fare.

Café Joyapa is located at Honorato Vasquez 6-60, between Presidente Borrero and Hermano Miguel.

Wednesday, April 3
This IS the time of your life workshops by Susan Burke March at The Castle!

Don’t let your weight, a risk for diabetes, or poor diet stop you from enjoying it! Learn how to eat for your life.

Susan Burke March

April 3, “Are you doomed for diabetes?”, from 6:30 to 8 p.m.
April 10, “What’s the best diet? Diet fads, fallacies and facts”, from 4:30 t 6 p.m.
April 24, “Can you rev up your metabolism? Top myths and facts”, from 4:30 t 6 p.m.
May 1, “Socializing can be hazardous to your waist! Top tips for dining out without blowing your diet!”, from 4:30 t 6 p.m.

Come early for dinner and beverages will be available for purchase.

These talks are developed and presented by Susan Burke March MEd, RDN, CDE. Susan will allow time for questions after the presentation. All proceeds go to The Cuenca Soup Kitchen and Helping Kids in Ecuador.

$10 per talk, 4 talks for $30. Buy 3 classes, get one free!

Call 098 935 8169 or email the to reserve you spot today.

The Castle is located at 3 de Noviembre downriver from the Broken Bridge.

Live Jazz at the Jazz Society Café

Wednesdays through Saturdays

Food and beverage service: 6:30 through 10 p.m., Jazz Concert: 7:30 through 10 p.m.

Reservations: The schedule of events is posted on Facebook page: Jazz Society Café

The Jazz Society Café is located at 5-101 Luis Cordero y Juan Jaramillo, Upstairs (2nd Floor) of La Viña Italian Restaurant.

Salsa lessons at Santa Canela every Wednesday

Do you want to learn Latin dances?

Every Wednesday from 6 to 7:30 p.m., Salsa, Merengue, Tango. $7 per person.

Santa Canela Hostal Bar Grill and Lounge is located on Calle Larga 3-82 Y Vargas Machuca, past Todos Santos.

Thursday, April 4
This week starts another Vino & Van Gogh series of classes at Café San Sebas!

 5 to 9 p.m., Artist Amelia Earl will guide you through creating your version of the featured painting and help you unleash your inner Van Gogh. All supplies and your first glass of wine are provided. Perfect for beginners and aficionados alike, our classes offer a fun, easy, stress-free chance to create a painting you can be proud of. At the end of the night you’ll take home a one-of-a-kind painting.

This week’s theme is“Chagall and the Modernist Style”

April 18 is “Easter Bunny”
May 2 is “Monkey Business”
May 16 is“Cuenca Roses”
May 30 is“Paul Cézanne, Post-impressionist, Still life”

Food and drinks will be available for purchase throughout the evening. Cost $29

Sign up now for an unforgettable time of painting, sipping and socializing.   You can reserve your ticket: or go to

Cafe San Sebas is located by Plaza San Sebastián.

Friday, April 5

idiomART’s Friday Salon!

10:30 a.m. to Noon (Doors open at 10 a.m.) Every Friday a new presentation! Great way to learn more about Cuenca, Ecuador’s art, history and culture and meet new folks!

This week,we will be offering a presentation on Ecuador’s renowned tradition in embroidery and fiber arts with artisans known as “the country’s best”. Art Historian Berenice Cárdenas will be hosting the event.

Cost $10.  Coffee, tea, and snacks available. Presentation translated in English.

Open to all. No reservation needed. Coffee, tea, and snacks available.

idiomART is located at PresidenteCórdova 1-77, between Manuel Vega and Miguel Angel Estrella, in el Centro.

April’s featured artist looks fabulous at CVA!

Would you like to find out who they are showing? Come to the opening reception at Cuenca Visual Arts gallery, from 5 – 7 p.m.

CVA is located at Calle Larga 3-82 and Vargas Machuca.

Saturday, April 6 and Sunday, April 7

A.C.T.’s “Sylvia”

Azuay Community Theater new production, “Sylvia,” directed by Tony Harding has gone into production. The play is a memorized, staged comedy about an exuberant, lovable dog who changes the lives of a middle-aged couple. It’s a smart, playful, sophisticated and occasionally gritty comedy about relationships, nature and growing older. You will laugh your tail off!

Last week’s show dates: April 6 at 4p.m., and Sunday, April 7 at 4p.m.

Tickets $15. Cash or PayPal

Tickets sales at the following:

The Castle: Tuesdays, from 5:30– 7p.m. (Trivia Night)
A.C.T. Theater: Wednesdays, from 2– 3p.m.
Sunrise Café: Thursdays, from 10 a.m. – noon
IdiomArt: Every day, Monday through Friday, from 10a.m. – 3p.m.

For help or questions about ticket sales, contact Marilyn at or 099 138 9130.

Bike Fest – Marin!

Open to everyone!  Located at the Mall del Rio parking lot.

On Saturday, April 6, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Free. Bike Trial Show and BMX Freestyle Show. Test drive a variety of Marin products.

On Sunday, April 7, from 9:30a.m. to noon. Cross Country Eliminator Competition

$10 to participate – all levels of riders. Over $4,000 in prizes

Register for the competion at Mi Boleteria at Mall del Rio and Monay Mall or Ciclo Rutas on Avenue Remigio y El Oro.

Meditate with Shambhala

Sunday, 10 to 11:30 a.m.  Free, though donations are appreciated.

All are welcome! The Cuenca Shambhala Meditation Group invites you to meditate together.

Shambhala International follows the tradition of Pema Chödron and her teachers Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche and Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche. Sunday’s practices include group chanting, silent seated meditation, and group walking meditation.

Chairs and cushions are provided. Everyone is invited to join us for brunch/lunch at a restaurant after meditation.

Meditation instructions are available free with advance notice at 9.30 a.m.

Located at 8-81 Calle Larga, east of Benigno Malo, south side, upstairs at Namaste India Restaurant.

Volleyball on Sunday

Have you played regulation international 6-on-6 volleyball in the past and are looking for a fun way to exercise? Good news. Play will be from Noon to 2 p.m.

Location is tournament style outdoor net on the grass just west of the soccer field at the

west end of Parque El Paraiso (not too far from Banos and refreshments!) – at the intersection of Pje. Del Paraiso and Avenida Diez de Agosto.

For more information, email Gary at

Coming soon!

On Wednesday, April 10 and Thursday, April 11, 8 p.m., the Cuenca International Chorale will be presenting “Singin’ in the Rain” at the Old Catheral of Cuenca.  Free Admission.

Craft your novel idea in 3 hours!

Have an idea for a great novel, but don’t know where to start?In this 3-hour class you’ll discover how to get your idea organized, how to determine the right genre for it, how to create a working outline and how to tell a compelling story.Whether your idea is sci-fi, urban fantasy, romance, mystery/suspense or horror, let’s help you get started in a productive direction.

Wednesday, April 10, 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at idiomART.

$20, includes coffee and snack. Cash, Papal, and major Credit Cards accepted.Register now, as class size will be limited.

Email: or call: 099 998 8777

Papel A Mano’s 2019 Student Showcase: “Paper Flight”

Opening on Thursday, April 11, from 4 – 7 p.m.

Exhibition continues for the next two days.Friday, April 12 and Saturday, April 13. 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Artists: Nancy Laughlin,,Susan Armstrong, Patricia Daugherty, Kathryn McCullough, Melody Crabb,,Kris Fischer, Victoria King, Nina Sazer O’Donnell, Rosemary Rein, Rita O’Donald, Henry Noel, Laurie Paternoster, Patricia Villeneuve, and Owl’s Nest Oasis.

Papel A Mano is located at Calle Francisco Estrella Carrion 1-41y 10 de Agosto.

Cellist Ensemble

Cellos Prieto, a chamber ensemble of six of the finest cellists in Ecuador, will present a concert entitled Transiciones Etéreas (Ethereal Transitions) on Saturday, April 13 at 8 p.m. in the Old Cathedral. Amazing soprano Bernarda Holguín will be a special guest performer at this concert. Cellos Prieto will perform music especially arranged for cello ensemble by composers such as J.S. Bach, Samuel Barber, Cesar Franck and will include W.A. Mozart’s extraordinary work Exultate Jubilate featuring Ms. Holguín as soprano soloist. Free Admission.  Be sure to mark this on your calendar!

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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