CLEWISTON — Award-winning architect, Mario Cartaya, will join the Clewiston Museum to present “Across the Florida Straits to Cuba – A Living History of the Buildings Left Behind.”
The program, which is free and open to the public, will be on Thursday, Sept. 28, at 7 p.m., at the Clewiston Museum.
It is a partnership between Florida Humanities, the Florida Public Archaeology Network and the museum as part of Florida Humanities’ redesigned Florida Talks program and the Florida Public Archaeology Network’s "Honrando Nuestra Historia: Celebrating Latine Heritage Through Archaeology" series of events.
The program about Cuba, a historical laboratory of buildings, streets, and artifacts that have been mostly untouched since 1960, allows the audience to transport themselves into a time and space that has not evolved into modern times. In this historical presentation, Cartaya retraces and recalls six decades of friendly and cooperative Cuban-American relations and history.
Cartaya was born in Havana, Cuba in 1951. Eight years later, the turbulent winds of political change swept over the land of his birth, leaving his family with little choice but to immigrate toward the United States in search of a new life lived in freedom. There, in 1979, he realized his earliest Cuban childhood dream of becoming an architect and founded what became a highly acclaimed architectural firm in Fort Lauderdale, Cartaya and Associates Architects, P.A. He was the Principal Architect and Designer for all the firm’s quality architecture until his retirement in 2022.
With a 43-year career, his life’s story and award-winning architectural designs were entered into the United States Congressional Record of the House of Representatives in 2019, forever enshrined into the U.S. Library of Congress. In September 2022, the U.S. House of Representatives flew an American flag over the United States Capitol in recognition of his many contributions to the betterment of our country — this flag was then presented to Cartaya during a ceremony held in the Congressional Members Only Reading Room of the U.S. Library of Congress.
Cartaya has also proudly given back to his adopted country throughout the years. He served 15 years as Chair of U.S. Senator Bob Graham’s (FL) Air Force and Naval Academies Selection Committees and was appointed by Florida Governor Lawton Chiles to the Broward College District Board of Trustees (where he served eight years — including two as Chair). He also assisted U.S. President Clinton in writing his initial Cuba Policy and helped U.S. President Obama on his Rapprochement Trip to Cuba. Additionally, he has served on numerous charitable organizations’ Board of Directors. Mario has now retired from his enduring architectural firm and turned his attention to writing books with the same dedication and love that made him an architectural success and iconic designer. His fresh voice, creative expression, and humanist values will enrich your mind and refresh your soul.
“The museum is excited to partner with the Florida Public Archaeology Network and the Florida Humanities to have Mr. Cartaya as our first program in this year’s speaker series,” said Leigh Woodham, Museum Director, “Please join us in celebrating the rich archaeological heritage and cultural contributions of the Latine community in South Florida.”
Florida Talks is one of Florida Humanities’ longest-running public programs. The organization’s speakers’ bureau features more than 30 exceptional scholars, journalists, authors, and humanities experts and over 60 brand new and returning programs.
“Florida Humanities is thrilled to share its redesigned Florida Talks program. As one of our long-standing public programs, Florida Talks shares history, heritage, and culture with communities large and small across the state. We hope attendees walk away with new perspectives and knowledge and are energized to continue learning about our unique state,” April Myerscough, Florida Humanities Public Programs Coordinator.
The Clewiston Museum is a private not-for-profit that relies on donations, grants, the support of its members, and fundraising events to remain in operation. It is located at 109 Central Avenue in Clewiston and the hours of operation are Monday – Friday from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Saturday hours are by appointment only. Contact the museum at 863-983-2870 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.