Merida’s new La Cupula Cultural Center opens with fanfare

(Left to right) Yucatan Times Content Manager Alejandro Azcarate, Tomoko Mukaiyama and Leila Godet Voight at La Cupula. (Photo: Robert Adams)

La Cupula Cultural Center, a new hub for contemporary art exhibitions, concerts, dance performances, artist residencies and related activities, opened Thursday Dec. 17 in Merida with an event that fused Mexican and Japanese culture.

The event featured a concert by internationally recognized pianist Tomoko Mukaiyama and musicians from the Merida International Brass Festival. Also featured were painting-photographic works by visual artist Kimiko Yoshida, whose colorful depictions of geishas use herself as a model. Designer furniture by Ernesto Velasquez and paintings by Guillermo Santana, two Mexican artists, were also on display.

La Cupula Cultural Center, located at Calle 54 No. 407 between Calles 41 and 43, is the fruition of seven years of planning and construction work, said President Leila Godet Voight. In an exclusive interview with The Yucatan Times prior to the opening, Voight said that while residing in Tulum for 20 years, she began looking in Merida for an ideal location to create her contemporary cultural center.

“Because of (Merida’s) cultural life, the quality of the light and other reasons, we chose Merida to open the center,” Voight said. “We have worked with many arts groups, as well as state and local cultural organizations, to create this space.”


The unique domed building that forms the core of the complex, which also houses the home of Voight and her husband, was originally the stables for the nearby Palacio Canton on Paseo de Montejo, Voight said. The domed portion of the expansive structure, now painted lavender and white, was probably a space for excercising horses, she said.

In its mission statement, La Cupula touts itself as “a one-of-a-kind historical space propelled by singular minds that believe in the transformative impact of creative expression.”

The center aims to provide opportunties for both well-known and emerging artists to create and display their work, Voight said. The gallery, studio and residence spaces surround a lushly landscaped courtyard with an inviting pool.


La Cupula, which has already scheduled exhibitions and performances through  2016, will be open to the public Monday-Friday 4 to 8 p.m. and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays.  More information about La Cupula can be found at

Text and photos by Robert Adams for TYT




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