Inaugurated on July 9, the Koubek Center— which was renovated by Miami Dade College—has now become a cultural center that celebrates Ibero-American cultures throughout the world.
Located on S.W. 3rd St. and 27th Ave., the Koubek Center was originally owned by John J. Koubek, a Polish immigrant who originally donated his mansion to the University of Miami after his death. Today, it is a cultural center located in the heart of Little Havana, and it hosts events that represent Miami’s cultural diasporas.
During the inauguration day of the Koubek Center, Olga Maria Guillot-Touzet—a Cuban singer born to famed Cuban musicians Olga Guillot and René Touzet—sang to the audience. Nilo Cruz, a Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, had his monologue Capricho portrayed by thespian Alex Alvarez. The piece depicts the mental struggles of the character Lolo, born in Madrid, who was unable to receive a part for a play.
After the performances, there was a scenography and costume exhibit in the Artspace Gallery by artists Jorge Noa and Pedro Balmaseda, in which audiences were shown works such as William Shakespeare’s Macbeth.
Following inauguration day, the Koubek Center hosted Latin-American events, which included the Uruguayan Film Cycle, the 28th International Hispanic Theatre Festival of Miami, and a Novel presentation by Manuel C. Diaz .
“The Koubek Center is a Gem,” said Juan Mendieta, the director of communications for MDC. “It’s located in the middle of Little Havana, and most people wouldn’t think that a mansion this beautiful is in the middle of such a busy area.”
Mendieta also said that one thing that could help improve the Koubek Center is funding and public awareness.
“Money is usually the center for success in society”, Mendieta said. “With additional funding to the Koubek Center, we can add more cultural events along with raising awareness to the public through advertisements.”
Daniel Zavala, a program assistant at the Koubek Center said the facility is essential to preserving Cuban culture.
“I believe that with the Koubek Center in the middle of Little Havana, many Cubans are able rejoice a rich taste of Cuban culture,” Zavala said.