Darius Anderson’s Cuban Connection
Darius Anderson’s Cuban Connection
Sonoma Valley Museum of Art to exhibit North Bay business insider’s unique collection of Cuban visual arts, opening January 19, 2013
17 January 2013 – Sonoma, CA: North Bay business leader Darius Anderson is already widely known for his world-class collection of Jack London manuscripts, first editions and memorabilia. So it is little surprise that it was Sonoma Country’s favorite son that led Anderson to his other collecting passion—for art and artifacts from the island nation of Cuba.
An exhibit of Anderson’s Cuban collection, Revolutionary Island: Tales of Cuban History and Culture, The Sarah and Darius Anderson Collection, opens January 19 at the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art (SVMA) in Sonoma CA.
Anderson is the well-connected consultant, lobbyist and investor whose Sonoma Media Investments group recently acquired The Santa Rosa Press-Democrat and other regional media properties. He is also CEO of Kenwood Investments, a venture fund focused on California development projects, and of Platinum Advisors, a public affairs advisory firm.
Already an avid fan of Jack London adventures at age 16, “I learned that Jack had traveled to Cuba on his honeymoon in 1905,” Anderson recalled. London’s widow Charmian described the couple’s travels in Jamaica and Cuba in her 1921 memoir. “I told myself that one day, I too would visit that exotic place,” Anderson said.
His first visit was love at first sight. “There was a sweetness to the air that enticed me like dark chocolate,” he said, the same sweetness that has drawn him back more than 50 times since. Over the course of years, his fascination grew for the cultural and artistic expressions of the Cuban people in the face of momentous historical events.
From the Spanish-American War in London’s time, to pre-Revolutionary offshore vice capital, to the Cold War hot spot of Anderson’s youth, to the ongoing economic isolation of the present day, “this little island’s impact on the world has been historic,” Anderson says.
How could a small island with a population of just 11 million have such an outsized world impact? Anderson believes the answer lies in the essential cultural character of the Cuban people, combining tolerance and passion that expresses itself in Cuban visual arts across historical periods.
The wide-ranging collection includes graphic and fine arts from the pre-Revolutionary period to the present. Featured themes include commercial arts from Cuba’s native tobacco and rum industries; political poster art from the Cuban Revolution; and contemporary fine art that speaks to Cuba’s unique world role. A timeline of Cuban political and cultural history, illustrated with artifacts, contextualizes the visual art displays.
“We are very pleased to have the opportunity to present this important body of works by a prominent local collector. Darius embodies the qualities of vision, enthusiasm, and community involvement that are essential to the work of any important art collector,” said SVMA director Kate Eilertsen.
Anderson acknowledges that his fascination with Cuban art and culture was fed in part by its forbidden nature. The U.S. government has restricted its citizens from travel to Cuba since 1960, part of a program of economic embargo that Anderson regards as Washington’s “greatest international policy failure.”
In addition to his admiration for the Cuban people, Anderson credits family members for inspiring the collection. He honors his parents for teaching him to find beauty in people and places and his wife Sarah for supporting his passion for collecting Cuban art.
With more than 1,000 members, the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art (SVMA) is the largest visual arts organization in the San Francisco North Bay region. It was incorporated in 1998 as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization to promote the creation, exhibition, and collection of fine arts, to provide a venue for art exhibition in Sonoma, and to offer educational opportunities for people of all ages. It occupies an 8,000-square-foot space at 551 Broadway, just one-half block south of the historic Sonoma Plaza. The Museum purchased the building in early 2001, and completed extensive renovations in March 2004.
A special members’ preview will be held Friday, January 18 at 6 pm. Special programs and events will be held throughout the exhibition. The exhibition will open to the public Saturday, January 19, 2013. Museum hours are Wednesday–Sunday from 11am to 5pm. More information about the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art is available at www.svma.org or by calling (707) 939-7862.
Visit www.jacklondoncollection.com for more information about The Jack London Collection by Sarah & Darius Anderson.