Cuba Ocho in Little Havana, Miami is also a cultural and research center that houses treasures and history rescued and preserved by collector Roberto Ramos.
Roberto has dedicated his time researching the history of Cuban Art from 1800 until 1958 because in 1959 when Castro comes to power in Cuba, and years following after that, the government erased all that history.
He started collecting art when he was just 17 years old in Cuba. A man gave him a painting called the saxophonist from Carlos Sorrino, a supposed famous artist. He tried to sell it but nobody recognized the artist. Roberto found out after a lot of research that this Cuban artist was indeed famous but he had to leave the country, when he left the government erased all his history, his name was never included in any book, his name was taken from the museums. After that he was encouraged to researched other artists that their names were also erased.
He devoted his time to recover his country's Art history.
In 1992, his first collection of 14 paintings were hidden in a small little boat and he came to America with them. He then started asking friends and family in Cuba to send him books, newspapers, etc. as they were not available in the US. to do research and document names and times...
His collection is over 600 painting. They all have a story to tell even the furniture which it was obtained from a private club in Miami Beach once owned by Frank Sinatra. He went one time to make a film and noticed there was a lot of things that they were going to dispose. They were actually about to hire a company to take all that trash and the company was going to pay 28K but Roberto told them that he would do it for free and he took all that old wood and transformed it into new furniture. These tables are made with that wood, he added the wheels. This furniture gives the place a look of the good old days of havana 1950s.
You can do research here, say if you are doing a paper for school or researching a Cuban artist, most likely you will find information in his library collection.
He wrote a book called "great masters of Cuban art" and he documented in the book artists from 1850 to 1950. It features 62 Cuban artists. This impressive collection is featured at the Daytona Beach Museum. That collection will be touring museums all across the USA.