Cas di Cultura: Aruba’s cultural incubator

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Vicky Arens has been director of Cas di Cultura, Aruba’s national theatre and cultural centre, since 2015. This is her second term as director, having also led the organisation from 2005 to 2011. Cas di Cultura has been programming its own performances and exhibitions since Vicky started working there, offering space to artists and theatre-makers on the island and far beyond. In addition to programming and facilitating, Cas di Cultura is currently gearing up for a major renovation.

The renovation plans for Cas di Cultura include a VIP balcony, a gift shop that features artisanal products from the island and a café where you can sip your coffee surrounded by art, both inside and on the terrace.

Vicky works with a core team that consists of an administrative assistant and a project manager for programming and education. In addition, Cas di Cultura has a front of house officer and three technicians, who take care of the construction and technical execution of the performances and exhibitions. The Supervisory Board fulfils an essential role as sparring partner and provides support in key areas such as fundraising and ongoing professionalisation.

Vicky is keen to add a business developer to her staff, to allow a greater focus on fundraising, among other things. Especially for when the renovation is complete, which will create more room for new plans.


Lotte van den Heuvel is the project manager in charge of programming and education at Cas di Cultura. Once a month, Lotte organises activities with a special focus on toddlers and preschoolers. In addition, she makes sure that almost every event is accompanied by an educational activity, whether it be a lesson plan relating to an exhibition or lectures and discussions held before or after a performance. She maintains contact with every school on the island, primary and secondary, and makes sure they all receive invitations for the activities. The aim is for every pupil to visit Cas di Cultura at least once during their time at primary and secondary school. There are 50 primary schools in Aruba: more than enough to keep the theatre busy! 

There is a great demand for resources relating to educational programmes, such as an information centre for educators with practical questions. A place where you can also exchange sample teaching materials and preferred teaching methods or formats, preferably without money changing hands. A platform where students can be commissioned to design innovative material, so that educators do not have to keep reinventing the wheel themselves.

Network and sponsors

Cas di Cultura’s basic budget comes from the Ministry of Culture, under the supervision of Aruba’s Culture Directorate. Income is also generated through performances and exhibitions. Effective networking is an essential part of Vicky’s job and she has many warm contacts in Aruba. In the Netherlands, Cas di Cultura is working to build a network of ambassadors: these are mainly Arubans living in the Netherlands and people who have lived or worked in Aruba for a long time. Her network often acts as a sparring partner and sometimes helps with fundraising. Cas di Cultura is currently looking for a paid representative in the Netherlands to coordinate fundraising efforts, including grants and major donations.


The theatre’s profile continues to rise among theatre-makers, artists and a growing number of social partners. The rental rates are kept affordable, which makes the theatre accessible for performances by dance schools, theatre groups, schools, gospel and pop concerts and a host of other events. Cas di Cultura’s in-house programming is designed to complement what is already on offer.

In 2022, two major productions were staged: Pride on Stage Aruba, a collaboration with Aruba’s LGBTQIA+ community, and a children’s production entitled The Magic Cupboard. A touching story about modern families and acceptance, the latter explored themes of being yourself and finding self-belief and your place in the world. The production moved audience members to tears. In the exhibition space, curator Ana Maria Hernandez organised a series of five exhibitions commissioned by Cas di Cultura, featuring a total of nine artists from Aruba. For Slavery Memorial Year, which starts on 1 July 2023, Cas di Cultura is staging a performance about Virginia Dementricia, an enslaved woman who became an iconic figure in the fight against slavery in Aruba.

Resident partners

In addition to running a theatre, an exhibition space and a number of studios, Cas di Cultura has a number of resident partners. Educampus is an online course for between 200 and 250 children, aged 8 to 18. They meet at Cas di Cultura to receive online classes and coaching from teachers from Aruba and the United States. The strong focus on arts and culture means that Educampus attracts many talented children. They use the ballet studios and the art studio, and are the first to be invited to school performances. Other key partners under the same roof are music school Scol di Musica Rufo Wever and dance school Scol di Baile Diana Antonette, which have been providing music and dance education in Aruba for 70 and 50 years, respectively.

Cas di Cultura is Aruba’s main hub for culture and the arts. There’s a good reason why Vicky and her team call the organisation the ‘Google for culture in Aruba’.

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Bert Schoones 03-05-2023

We received a few responses on the above article, with different experiences with Cas di Cultura. Our article is based on a meeting with Vicky Arens during a working visit in the Netherlands. Possible concerns about present developments at Cas di Cultura can be expressed at the supervisory board members of Cas di Cultururs, accessible by

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