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See Cuba through the eyes of talented Nashville photographers

Dan Heller

It’s gotten much easier for Americans to plot a path to visit Cuba, since the realm of permissible visits was expanded by the President last year. But it’s still not exactly “easy.”

To legally trek there, your trip has to fall under the umbrella of one of 12 authorized categories. Among them: educational activities, religious activities, professional research and journalistic activities, and other non-R&R-type reasons. Regular tourist-y exploration? Nope.

So, if you wanted to get onto an island that’s been all but off limits to us for decades, you still need more than just a desire. Which means for many of us, Cuba remains a place we probably won’t get our eyes on soon. Well, in person anyway.

Love some insight into the Cuban people and their home, but have no claim among the official list of 12? Here’s something cool: Two exceptionally talented local photographers recently visited Cuba, brought back stunning captures, and are putting them up for display in East Nashville.

Here’s some quick detail on those local artists and where/when you can see their work:

Cuba at Ugly Mugs

Dan Heller’s Cuba exhibition at Ugly Mugs

East Nashvillians probably know Dan Heller’s name best from his work developing Inglewood’s Riverside Village into a dining destination. He’s also a gifted photographer, and the Cuba exhibit he has up now at Ugly Mugs is firm proof. Along with a couple dozen of his favorite captures from a recent Cuba trip displayed on the walls, Heller has a new coffee table book at the shop for you to flip through, too.

If you’re stunned by an image and want to take it home, added benefit: He’s donating 25% of sales from these prints (and reprints) to Thistle Farms, a Nashville organization focused on healing and helping women who’ve been victims of abuse, addiction, trafficking and prostitution.

Heller’s exhibit will be up until September 30, and Ugly Mugs is open at 1886 Eastland Avenue from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekends.



John Partipilo
John Partipilo’s “My World Ends Here

Longtime Tennessean photographer John Partipilo was one of the Nashville daily’s most busily awarded shooters, year after year. Today, he’s out of the newsroom and shifting his eye toward fine art photography. In September, he’ll host his first fine art photography show, in a private East Nashville home.

Partipilo’s gift as a photojournalist has always been capturing raw human emotion with a lens, and you’ll see the same with his “My World Ends Here” shots from Cuba. “The single thread that ties my show together is people,” he says. “People in their different environments and people in their different stages of life. That’s the heart of my work. To me people are so important, because they all have a unique story.”

His show is set for 5 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 24, in partnership with the Nashville Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. He’ll offer an artist talk at 7 p.m., and throughout the night, you’ll be able to try out cocktails from one of Nashville’s latest additions to the craft spirits scene: Wedgewood-Houston distillery Nashville Craft.

Prints will be available for sale, too; you can check out some more of Partipilo’s Cuba photos at his website.

Register through Eventbrite (it’s free) if you’d like to attend.


The incredible array of talented artists of all stripes is part of what makes us love East Nashville so much. If you’re looking for a home in the area and want to get to know the neighborhood better, let us know. We’d love to show you around!

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