By Samantha Shavell
NBC 6 South Florida
Frost Art Museum
This untitled painting by Leopoldo Romañach is part of the collection donated to FIU.
A South Florida couple have donated 24 Cuban paintings to Florida International University, saying they hope their gift will show the South Florida community the importance of art in Cuban history.
Jorge M. Pérez, the CEO of the Related Group, and his wife, FIU alumna and nurse practitioner Darlene M. Boytell-Pérez, donated the 19th- and 20th-century Cuban paintings, valued at $315,000, to FIU's School of International and Public Affairs and the Frost Art Museum, FIU said Monday.
"We are so excited to be able to contribute to the Frost Art Museum and the [Cuban Research Institute] and to share with students, faculty and the South Florida community the importance of art throughout Cuban history," Jorge M. Pérez said in an email statement.
The donated collection includes portraits and landscapes of rural and city life in Cuba. It will be used as an educational resource at the museum and the school's Cuban Research Institute.
"The CRI is grateful and enthusiastic about the collection," Cuban Research Institute's director Jorge Duany said in an email statement. "It allows us the opportunity to strengthen the university's ties to the South Florida community and broaden our engagement with other local institutions, including Miami-Dade County public schools through on-campus programs."
Cuban artists in the collection include Eduardo Abela, Victor Manuel, Augusto Menocal, Carlos Enriquez, René Portocarrero and José Bedia. The paintings, which focus on race, gender, religion and politics, will serve as a foundation to understanding the contributions of Cuban artists to their society, FIU said.
The donation also included a $250,000 gift to support collection-related work, workshops, exhibitions and scholarships, the university said.
The exhibition, "Eternal Cuba: The Darlene M. and Jorge M. Pérez Collection at FIU," will open at the Frost Art Museum on Oct. 16.