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The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens is committed to engage and inspire through the arts, gardens and education. A permanent collection of nearly 5,000 works of art on a riverfront campus offers more than 95,000 annual visitors a truly unique experience on the First Coast. Nationally recognized education programs serve adults and children of all abilities.

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The Chef’s Canvas: The Italian Garden

Dec

27

Photo by Agnes Lopez

Today’s recipe from “The Chef’s Canvas” is a gnocchi dish that was inspired by the Italian Garden!

Handmade Gnocchi with Sweet Pea Purée, Oyster Mushrooms, and Crispy Guanciale
Serves 4

Handmade Gnocchi

2 large Idaho potatoes (about 1 pound), peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more as needed for proper consistency
½ cup finely grated Parmesan
2 pinches white pepper
1 teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 large farm egg, whisked

Place potatoes in a large pot with enough water to cover by one inch. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook until fork tender. Rice potatoes through a food mill, distributing them evenly onto a large cutting board.

Allow riced potatoes to cool until lukewarm. This allows the excess moisture to evaporate.

Sift flour over potatoes in an even layer, which should be about the same height as the potatoes. Sprinkle Parmesan, white pepper, sea salt, and nutmeg on top of potatoes and flour. Fold dry ingredients together on top of cutting board using an offset spatula until well incorporated. Form mixture into a pile and create a well in the center. Pour whisked egg into the well and slowly incorporate into dry ingredients by hand until dough is crumbly and begins to come together. If dough is sticky and hard to work with, add more flour as needed. Form dough into a loaf and let rest for 30 minutes. Cut off small pieces of dough from the loaf and roll into ½-inch thick ropes. With a sharp knife, cut each rope into ½-inch pieces. Lightly pinch the center of each piece to create a small indention. Dust lightly with flour.*

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook gnocchi in boiling water until they begin to float.

Continue to cook for 1 to 2 minutes more.

Strain and set aside until ready to use.

*At this point you can freeze gnocchi in a single layer on a sheet tray. Once frozen, gnocchi can be stored in an air-tight ziploc or vacuum-sealed bag in the freezer for up to 6 months. Cook frozen gnocchi following steps above.

Sweet Pea Purée

10 ounces fresh or frozen sweet peas
¾ cup heavy cream, warmed and divided
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon white pepper

Blanch peas in salted boiling water for about 1 to 2 minutes. Shock peas in an ice bath to stop the cooking process and preserve the the bright green color. Strain peas, and place in a blender. Add ½ cup hot heavy cream and purée until smooth. Stir in salt and white pepper and set aside. When ready to serve, slowly reheat the purée and remaining ¼ cup heavy cream over medium heat, stirring constantly, until well incorporated and hot.

Crispy Guanciale

4 ounces guanciale, pancetta, or bacon, very thinly sliced

Ask your local butcher or deli counter to slice the meat for you in order to get it paper thin.

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.

Arrange slices in a single layer on a parchment-lined sheet tray. Bake until crispy, 20 to 25 minutes, without allowing them to brown too much.

To finish and plate:

3 tablespoons canola oil, divided
8 ounces oyster mushrooms, cleaned and broken into individual pieces
4 cups Gnocchi, blanched
1 cup vegetable broth
½ cup grated grated Pecorino cheese, plus more for garnishing
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 cup warm Sweet Pea Purée
Crispy Guanciale
8 snow peas, blanched and julienned on the bias
¼ cup assorted sweet herbs (basil, tarragon, dill), pea shoots, or microgreens, for garnishing
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat 1 tablespoon canola oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and sauté until slightly brown and tender. Season to taste with salt and set aside on a plate lined with a paper towel. Wipe the pan clean if necessary.

Heat remaining 2 tablespoons canola oil over medium-high heat. When oil is hot, add gnocchi to the skillet and allow it to sear, without stirring, until golden brown. Flip gnocchi and sear on the other side.

Add sautéed mushrooms and cooked until warmed through. Add vegetable broth to the pan, cooking a few minutes more until heated through and gnocchi is plumped. Remove gnocchi from heat and swirl in the Pecorino and butter until both are melted and incorporated. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

To serve, place ¼ cup of the warm Sweet Pea Puree’ in the bottom of a shallow bowl. Using a slotted spoon, place about 1 cup of the gnocchi and mushroom mixture on top of the purée. Top each bowl with Crispy Guanciale, julienned snow peas, and grated Pecorino. Garnish with sweet herbs, pea shoots, or microgreens and serve.

Pair with your choice of red or white wine – both pair perfectly with this complex and delicious dish – and enjoy!

Ellen Biddle Shipman
American, 1869 – 1950
The Italian Garden
1931
Built by Arthur and Ninah Cummer, named in memory of Margaret Baker Berg

Arthur and Ninah Cummer built the Italian Garden in 1931. The couple had recently returned from Italy, where Mrs. Cummer became enchanted by the Villa Gamberaia, just outside of Florence.

Designed by noted landscape architect Ellen Biddle Shipman (1869 – 1950), the Italian Garden echoes the design of Villa Gamberaia’s gardens, with its long pools, clipped hedges, and vine-covered gloriette. Although Shipman’s involvement in the Italian Garden initially faded from history, her role became apparent when a set of plans was discovered in the designer’s archives at Cornell University. This led to a restoration of the garden in the 1990s.

“There is a parallel between my appreciation of the Italian Garden’s beauty, its layout, symmetry, curves, arches, and lines, and a similarity to how I work with ingredients. I choose ingredients for a dish based on flavor first, and also for their color, texture, shape, and visual interest when plated together.

The garden is a creative, living expression of a framework that has grown with time and the seasons. While the garden was designed and planted many years ago, today one can enjoy its evolving beauty, much as a person can enjoy a classic dish with slightly new ways of interpreting the ingredients or techniques used to prepare it.

I spent many hours with my son when he was young in this garden. Together, we explored the variety of colors, shapes, textures, and smells, and I marveled at his delight in the discoveries he found. This is similar to how we as humans enjoy food and flavors. Ingredients bring out different nuances and the layers of aroma, texture, visual appeal, and taste can excite every sense.” – Tom Gray, Owner and Chef of Moxie Kitchen + Cocktails

“The Chef’s Canvas” is a cookbook created to honor the Museum’s permanent collection. The book is a treasure trove of artistic masterpieces, from the Museum’s galleries to kitchens throughout the diverse food scene in Jacksonville. This collaboration is like nothing the Museum has done before, and we look forward to sharing select recipes and the pieces of art that inspired them with you in The Chef’s Canvas Recipe Series.

“The Chef’s Canvas,” a work of art itself, was born of the idea that art fuels inspiration in all aspects of life, including in the kitchen. This unique collaboration allowed Jacksonville’s culinary experts to explore the collection and leave with the inspiration to create delicious, beautiful dishes, desserts, and cocktails. This series aims to give you a taste of Jacksonville’s culture, flavors, and artistry.

 

 

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Art for Two: Creating Personal Perspectives

Dec

27

By Meredith Tousey Matthews, Instructor

Art for Two participant Poppy rolls printing ink over her cardboard collage before printing a collagraph of her cityscape

A Day in the Class

A group of 3- to 5-year-olds are in the studio, crouched down in front of a line of stools that each have an identical object atop them. Peering with one eye open, they begin to giggle as they realize that the object closest to them looks much bigger than the ones farther away, even though they’re actually the same size. “This one is in the foreground!” says one of the kids, pointing to the first object.

We have just been visiting the landscape paintings in the traveling exhibition, Mediterranea. Sitting together below one of the pieces, we read a book about a wolf in search of the best view in the world. While standing at each painting, and looking at each illustration in the book, we noticed the three main parts of a landscape that serve to give it space — foreground, middle ground, and background.

The studio is set for an Art for Two lesson on the three zones seen in landscape paintings

Now, we are in the studio, preparing to create our own landscape paintings, but first we have some fun with the concepts we talked about in the gallery. After the “relative size” experiment with the stools, we put together a landscape puzzle in three pieces, and find some more examples of the three landscape zones. Then, just like the wolf in the story, we start to envision our own perfect view. Drawing with crayon, the children create three zones in their landscapes, and add watercolors, bringing their views to life. Playing in the background is some Spanish guitar music, harkening back to the Mediterranean, where we started.

An Art for Two participant’s best-view landscape painting

About the Class

The Art for Two class meets every second Saturday of the month from 10:30 a.m. to noon. 3- to 5-year-olds are accompanied by an adult, and each class has a theme prompted by the Museum collection, traveling exhibitions, or the gardens. Incorporated into each theme is a related element of art and a principle of design that informs a studio project for the children to take home. Making these connections between great works of art and landscape design and the personal creation of art creates a holistic museum experience. Seeing that a work of art is not the objective result of skill-building, with a good or bad result, but rather the subjective response to life, open to individual judgement, is empowering. The enchanting part of watching preschool-aged children talk about and create art is that, for the most part, they haven’t come to know any other mindset. They are in the process of building their own perspective, their response to life, and art impacts them easily and fluidly.

The multi-faceted approach to each class’s theme is inspired by three modern educational doctrines. First, that of seminal art education theorist, Dr. Howard Gardner of Harvard University, who developed the theory of multiple intelligences. Gardner proposes that there exist eight different types of intelligence — rather than just one — which dictate how individuals best learn and process information. Someone who has high linguistic intelligence would be called “word smart,” for example, and one with high interpersonal intelligence would be considered “people smart.” Well-rounded education, therefore, offers lessons from a variety of perspectives and utilizes a variety of approaches to allow for learning that is better absorbed and applied by all.

A similar theory, focused particularly on art and developed by Harvard’s Project MUSE, is that of the five entry points, or windows, through which an individual may approach a work of art. Some may be naturally inclined toward an interest in a work’s philosophical meaning, while others may be excited by its aesthetic qualities — its rhythm, color, texture, etc. Still others may enjoy the story within a work, and find themselves almost unconsciously creating a narrative, with characters, when viewing a piece of art. The important takeaway is to offer learning experiences that open each window.

Finally, just as there is a scientific method, there is an art criticism method, which is used by all Cummer Museum educators when viewing works of art with a group in the Museum. Standing with a piece, we are asked to consider, in order, a description (What do you see?); an analysis (Why? and How?); and an interpretation (What does it mean? What feelings does it provoke?). Then, we make a judgement.

Using the art criticism method, and the work of Gardner and MUSE, art becomes accessible to all viewers. When one’s response to art is validated and understood, the act of viewing art becomes an empowering personal experience. When lessons that apply these approaches are presented to preschoolers, an important foundation is made — one that establishes comfort in the museum setting, engagement with art and the natural world, and confidence in creation. Changing up the movements and trains of thought is also useful at this age, and the Art for Two class is ultimately a morning of pure creative fun.

A cityscape collagraph print made in Art for Two

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November Garden Reconstruction Update

Dec

12

The upper tier of all three gardens reopened on November 11 –  the Museum’s 56th anniversary! Although the lower spaces must continue to stay closed, you will be able to visit the Cummer Oak and see Diana of the Hunt and some of our other sculptures.

After several weeks of hard work, we were finally able to finish debris removal following Hurricane Irma – resulting in 12 dumpsters full of lumber, a stand-up paddle board paddle, plant material, trash, and various other waste. We also came across several water moccasins.

During our cleanup efforts, we have also been able to have our onsite well repaired and power restored to the pump house, which allowed irrigation zones to be run for the first time since the storm. This is critically important as fresh water is needed to help lower the electrical conductivity (EC) of our soil. During the storm, the gardens were submerged under about four feet of brackish water from the St. Johns River, leaving behind salt deposits that affect plant health and ability for new plants to survive in the space. The first round of soil tests, completed immediately following Irma, showed that none of our gardens had plantable soil conditions. The second round showed some improvement, and we are now repeating these tests every other week, in conjunction with a heavy watering schedule to help flush the soils. It may take several months to see enough of an improvement to be able to start replanting.

The work of testing the soil is being done by the University of Florida, through the Duval County Extension Office. Did you know their lab provides free pH testing for any Jacksonville resident? They also have Master Gardener volunteers to answer plant and insect questions five days a week from 9 a.m. to noon and 12:30 to 3:30 p.m.

As we move forward, Museum staff is talking with partner gardens throughout the southeast who are currently or have previously experienced similar storm-related damage. We are also building a team of advisors who will work with us to plan the next steps of reconstruction, working toward a solid plan and timeline that we will share with you in the coming weeks and months.

In the meantime, we are thrilled to announce that beginning in January we are launching Inspired Palates: A Dinner Party SeriesThis three part, themed dinner series will support garden reconstruction. Choose from an Italian family-style feast, an posh English-inspired pub crawl, or a swanky Southampton soirée, or purchase tickets for the series.

Thank you as always for your support of the Cummer Museum and your patience as we work to recover from Hurricane Irma.

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October is Art Beyond Sight Awareness Month

Sep

30

October marks Art Beyond Sight Awareness Month in museums and cultural institutions around the world. As part of its ongoing effort to raise awareness of disability, accessibility, and inclusion, the Museum displays its annual exhibition of artwork from the Women of Vision program during this month. Installed in the Museum’s Art Connections area, the show is open to the public and features works of printmaking, ceramics, painting, and sculpture.

The Museum’s Art Beyond Sight programs provide specially-designed art education and art-making experiences for individuals who are visually impaired including: touch tours of the Museum; classroom outreach to the Florida School for the Deaf & Blind; and the Women of Vision program, a group that has made the Museum their meeting place for the past 18 years.

The Women of Vision program represents an exceptional group of women and celebrates the communicative power and beauty of the visual and literary arts. During monthly visits to the Museum, the program’s participants record their memoirs, write expressive poetry, explore the gardens and galleries, and create art using paint, clay, collage, and printmaking. This artful program serves as a vehicle for personal reflections, a symbol for the transformative nature of art, and a model of accessibility for the community.

The Cummer Museum also provides guided Touch Tours to visitors who are blind or have low-vision. During Touch Tours, visitors are permitted to handle pre-selected works of sculpture from the Museum’s permanent collection while wearing latex gloves. These tours are led by Museum Educators who also provide verbal description of objects and surroundings.

The most recent Touch Tour at the Museum welcomed 33 individuals from the Jacksonville chapter of the National Federation of the Blind. Participants on this tour exhibited authentic enthusiasm as they engaged with sculptural works in the galleries and botanical objects in the gardens. As one visitor excitedly told us, “They don’t let you do this in other museums!”

To schedule a Touch Tour or to request other accommodations, including ASL interpretation, please contact the Museum’s Accessibility Coordinator at 904.899.6002, or by email at accessibility@cummermuseum.org  at least two weeks in advance of your visit. Standard tour rates apply.

SPONSORS:

Baptist Health
Mr. Michael DiAngelo in Memory of Susan A. DiAngelo
The W.W. & Eloise D. Gay Foundation
Johnson & Johnson Vision Care

 

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Celebrate the Environment at the 4th Annual Envirofest!

Sep

29

 

The 4th annual Envirofest is just around the corner! On Saturday, October 7, 2017, the Cummer Museum and Jacksonville’s Environmental Protection Board will host this free family-friendly event that seeks to cultivate curiosity, respect, and understanding of the Jacksonville community’s shared natural environment, and the plant and animal wildlife in and around the city’s neighborhoods.

This event offers learning opportunities that encourage individuals to better understand sustainable practices and their importance in conserving natural resources. Guests will enjoy live music from local musicians, interactive booths and projects from environmentally-conscious vendors, eco-friendly hands-on art activities, and the opportunity to watch local artists in action as they create artwork.

Envirofest will be jam-packed with fun for kids of all ages! Attendees can:

This free fun-filled day will surely be a unique educational experience that the entire family can enjoy.

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The Chef’s Canvas: Cafe L’Avenue, Paris

Sep

29

Photo by Agnes Lopez

Today’s recipe from “The Chef’s Canvas” is a delectable dessert inspired by Cafe L’Avenue, Paris. Created by Sweet Theory Baking Co., this dessert is free of gluten, eggs, dairy, soy, and peanuts. But don’t let that fool you into thinking it is anything short of delicious!

ESPRESSO CHOCOLATE TART WITH ST. GERMAIN-MACERATED BERRIES, BOURBON VANILLA BEAN COCONUT CREAM, LAVENDER CARAMEL, AND FLEUR DE SEL
Serves 10 – 12

Macerated Berries

3 cups mixed berries
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
Juice of half a lemon
⅓ cup St. Germaine elderflower liqueur

Gently toss all ingredients in a large bowl. Refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight.

Tart Shell

2 cups Bob’s Red Mill all-purpose gluten-free flour
½ cup sweet white rice flour
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
⅓ cup confectioner’s sugar, sifted
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 vanilla bean, halved, seeds scraped
8 tablespoons coconut oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl, sift together flours and xanthan gum. In another medium bowl, combine confectioner’s sugar, salt, vanilla bean seeds, and coconut oil. Add the flour mixture to the oil mixture in two batches, until a soft dough forms.

Drop the dough into a 10-inch tart pan with a removable bottom and carefully press into the pan, trying to keep the dough as thin and evenly distributed as possible, particularly around the scalloped edges. Shave off any excess dough with a knife. Cover the pan and refrigerate for 10 to 15 minutes.

Once chilled, prick the shell with a fork all around the bottom and bake for 16 to 20 minutes until golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool while you prepare the filling.

Espresso Chocolate Filling

2 cans full fat coconut milk
10 ounces bittersweet chocolate
3 tablespoons coconut oil
⅓ cup agave nectar
2 tablespoons espresso
⅛ teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon fleur de sel, for garnish

Scrape the thick, white cream layer off the top of the two cans of coconut milk (Do not shake your coconut milk cans!), leaving the liquid behind. Set aside.

In a double boiler, melt the chocolate until completely smooth. Remove from the heat and stir in the coconut cream, coconut oil, agave nectar, espresso, and sea salt. Pour into cooled tart shell, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours until completely set. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

Lavender Caramel

¾ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup water
¼ cup agave nectar
1 ½ teaspoons lavender
2 tablespoons soy free Earth Balance butter
½ cup plain coconut creamer
¼ teaspoon sea salt

In a medium saucepan on medium-high heat, combine the sugar, water, and agave nectar. Heat until the sugar dissolves, then increase heat to high to bring the mixture to a boil. Boil until caramel is a medium amber brown color, around 5 to 7 minutes.

Remove from heat and add in lavender, Earth Balance, and coconut creamer, whisking quickly to combine. Allow caramel to sit for 15 minutes, then strain out the lavender buds.

Bourbon Vanilla Bean Coconut Cream

2 cans full fat coconut milk, chilled
⅓ cup confectioner’s sugar, sifted
1 vanilla bean, halved, seeds scraped

Place cans of coconut milk in the refrigerator 6 hours or overnight to chill. Once cold, scrape off the top, thickened cream, leaving the liquid behind.

In a chilled metal bowl, beat together the coconut cream, sugar, and vanilla bean seeds with a hand mixer until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

To serve:

Remove tart from the refrigerator and garnish with fleur de sel. Carefully portion out and cut the tart, serving it with the macerated berries, bourbon vanilla coconut cream, and lavender caramel.

Richard Emile Miller
American, 1875 – 1943
Café L’Avenue, Paris
c. 1906 – 1910
Oil on canvas
Purchased with funds from the Cummer Council
AP.1985.1.1

Richard Emile Miller was one of an American group of expatriate artists who settled in Giverny, France to be close to Claude Monet and a part of the Impressionistic movement. Although it wasn’t popular with Americans initially, Impressionism soon became an accepted artistic style and modern way to represent life. Café L’Avenue, Paris depicts a lively café, and the rich brushstrokes mimic the energy of the painting’s subjects.

“Early 20th-century Paris is easily one of the most intriguing and inspiring periods in history to me. The café scene Miller painted perfectly embodies all the opulence and glamour of pre-war Paris: civility and elegance the overwhelming theme on the inside, while I imagine the streets outside abuzz with a more ‘la boheme’ philosophy, courtesy of the influx of artists residing in Montmartre. The clash of traditional and unorthodox has been prevalent throughout my life, and perfectly embodies what I aimed to achieve in this dish. Miller’s love for Paris is undeniable in this piece. I wanted to mirror that adoration with an indulgent dessert highlighting a few of my favorite French-sourced ingredients, while being mindful of color and composition. The unconventional comes into play in an otherwise traditional-looking tart by way of ingredients. A tart sans butter? I hope the French can forgive me for my radical ways.” – Katie Riehm, owner of Sweet Theory Baking Company, on Cafe L’Avenue, Paris (c. 1906 – 1910)

“The Chef’s Canvas” is a cookbook created to honor the Museum’s permanent collection. The book is a treasure trove of artistic masterpieces, from the Museum’s galleries to kitchens throughout the diverse food scene in Jacksonville. This collaboration is like nothing the Museum has done before, and we look forward to sharing select recipes and the pieces of art that inspired them with you in The Chef’s Canvas Recipe Series.

“The Chef’s Canvas,” a work of art itself, was born of the idea that art fuels inspiration in all aspects of life, including in the kitchen. This unique collaboration allowed Jacksonville’s culinary experts to explore the collection and leave with the inspiration to create delicious, beautiful dishes, desserts, and cocktails. This series aims to give you a taste of Jacksonville’s culture, flavors, and artistry.

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