Skip to main content

The Latitudes Podcast featuring Charles 'Chuck' Collins

Painting our humanity with Charles 'Chuck' Collins


When you trade in art, that is a very sacred space in which to operate. So we need to address, what does it mean for us to be conscious? Conscious as collectors, but also conscious as a collective. - Charles 'Chuck' Collins

In episode 7 of the Latitudes Podcast, host Refiloe Mpakanyane talks to San Francisco based Charles 'Chuck' Collins. Whether working in law or sitting on the board of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Collins’ career has always bent toward improving the lived experiences of communities. This theme is baked into the conversation which focuses not only on what art and design tell us about ourselves (and our condition) but why art is so pivotal to our shared growth and humanity. Collins zooms in from the macro perspective of historic legacies that encourage the devaluing of African art (and artists) and takes us into an almost step-by-step process of how an intentional, global community of collectors, can elevate African art using their influence, their reach and one of Collins’ favourite things: “a good plan”. Humanity is at the heart of Collins’ championing of the visual arts and it shines through profoundly in this interview.

Charles (Chuck) Collins is the Presidential Fellow at the University of San Francisco and the President Emeritus of the YMCA of San Francisco where he served for nearly two decades as President and Chief Executive Officer. He is also the Special Advisor for Youth and Climate Initiatives to the Secretary General of the World Alliance of YMCAs in Geneva. Collins was the President and Chair of WDG Ventures, Inc. which was engaged in investment and development of commercial and residential real estate. He has practiced law and was a former Deputy Secretary of the Business, Transportation and Housing Agency for the State of California. He has an extensive domestic and international development background. Collins is the 2019 recipient of the Silver Spur Award that recognizes outstanding achievements that exemplify the highest aspirations of the Bay Area. He serves as President of the San Francisco Arts Commission, the boards of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (Vice Chair) and the Commonwealth Club of California, and the Community Council of the of the UCSF Center for Community Engagement. He is a member of the Monuments and Memorials Task Force for the City and County of San Francisco.

As a trustee of Williams College, he served on the board of the College Art Museum. He has served on the board of the Clark Art Institute and was board chair of the San Francisco Art Institute. He is the author/senior editor of two books, The African Americans and A Day in the Life of Africa. Collins is a graduate of Williams College with a double major in history and art history (honors), the Athens Center for Ekistics (Diploma), the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Master of City Planning/Outstanding Graduate Student Department of Urban Studies and Planning) and Harvard Law School.

We have to build a type of resilience, a durability, an interconnection. We have to really take charge of the narrative and that's not going to happen without us understanding who we are, where we want to go, how do we sustain this, and what are the elements towards sustainability that really bring forth generation after generation, so that this moment is catalytic, that it is a spark, and it has ignited something. - Charles 'Chuck' Collins

Photo by Craig Merrill, featuring SF MoMA former Trustee and Vice President Kamala Harris, Trustee Chuck Collins and Paula Collins at an SFMOMA welcome dinner in 1998

SFMOMA, view from Yerba Buena Gardens; photo by Henrik Kam, courtesy SFMOMA

About the Latitudes Podcast

Hosted by dynamic broadcast journalist and penchant for the arts Refiloe Mpakanyane, The Latitudes Podcast, which is the only podcast dedicated to contemporary African art, is an immersive and engaging platform that builds a new layer of access to the contemporary visual arts from Africa.

Latitudes is now a pan-African platform with a global audience, and this podcast is an additional discoverability tool for global audiences to uncover African art and learn about the featured topics and speakers.

Season one of the Latitudes Podcast explores new ways of accessing and thinking about the contemporary visual arts from Africa, while building a robust archive of thought leadership.

About Refiloe Mpakanyane

Refiloe Mpakanyane is a broadcast journalist, with a penchant for the arts. Known for her love and support of local African literature, art and artists, Mpakanyane has an Honours Degree from the Wits School of Journalism and majored in International Relations, Media Studies and English Literature for her undergrad. Her firm grounding in the critical, analytical and creative thinking of the humanities discipline has underpinned her passion for broadcasting, leading her to delve into working not only behind the scenes in radio and television production, but in front of the camera and hosting her own radio shows as well.

About Latitudes Online

Latitudes Online is the world's leading online marketplace for art from Africa. Discover and buy artworks from over 1,700 artists and enjoy editorial from leading voices on the continent. When you buy from Latitudes Online you have peace of mind that your artwork will be safely delivered to you in perfect condition. Click here to start your collecting journey.

About iTOO Artinsure

iTOO is a collective of industry leading experts across a range of special risk insurance offerings. Art and collectables are a fast growing asset class around the world. Representing years of value that could diminish in a matter of seconds, it’s critical to take the time to insure with an expert who understands the length and breadth of the industry. Damage, an increasing rise in cultural crime and forgery can translate to serious loss in terms of your appreciating works and collectables.

Further Reading In Articles

African Artist Directory

Back to top