Photograph by Tiffany Manning
Jacob Danner is a modern Renaissance man. His path to opening Anazao Galleries in Avondale has taken him through careers as a furniture designer and builder; residential homebuilder and renovator; priest, bishop, and missionary; carpenter; contractor; and art, artifact, and rare book collector, seller, and curator. He’s also passionate about cooking, landscape design, playing various instruments, and writing poetry.
Anazao Galleries opened in February, near Biscottis in the Shoppes of Avondale on St. Johns Avenue. Danner says the space and all it houses is representative of his world view, that of a Romantic with a capital R.
He calls it Galleries, plural, because of the vast and varied amount of objects within that comprise multiple collections. From contemporary European oil paintings, glass works and sustainably-crafted jewelry to sculptural and functional objects of antiquity, his galleries are in turn modernly stylish and the stuff of an art or religious historian’s dreams.
Arriving to talk with Jacob, we wait as he hands over a fifth century Celtic cross to an eager conservator, who lovingly handles the ancient artifact and leaves with it for further examination. It’s just a day in the expansive life of this ministering gallerist.
Can you tell us about your Romantic world view?
I’m a Classical Romantic. There’s a difference between people being romantic and being a Romantic; one is philosophical. For me, the essence of being a Romantic is engaging the world with all five senses – the whole idea of sensual immersion.
My concepts of beauty and aesthetics are here in this gallery. To me, it is beauty, love, grace, and healing. Life is worth celebrating. There’s a lot of joy in spite of adversity and obstacles, disappointments and heartbreak, there are still things that you want to reach out for and hold onto with an open heart.
God was the first artist and everything He created is just extravagant and exuberant beauty. I believe that from a theological standpoint, God is a spirit, he doesn’t need a body, so the whole idea of incarnation is interesting. Man was His first incarnation and this world was an incarnation of His artistic spirit and vision. Mankind was to be a prophetic representation and voice to the rest of creation and how he acts towards creatures and his fellow man should be reflective of the loving nature of God. My gallery doesn’t have dark themes, but it does have contemplative themes.