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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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Happy Birthday to Janet Fish, Painter of ‘After a Wedding’ from the Museum’s Permanent Collection





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Born in Boston, Massachusetts on May 18, 1938, Janet Fish was raised on the island of Bermuda and came from a family of artists. Her grandfather, Clark Vorhees, was an American Impressionist painter, while her father was an art history teacher, and her mother, Florence Whistler Fish, was a sculptor and potter. Fish knew from a young age that she wanted to pursue the visual arts. She was talented in ceramics, having access to her mother’s kiln, and initially intended to be a sculptor.

She eventually attended Smith College, in Northampton, Massachusetts, where she studied sculpture and printmaking. Later, she enrolled at Yale University School of Art, where she attended from 1960 to 1963. It was while at Yale that Fish decided to change her major from sculpture to painting. Unfortunately, at Yale her realistic approach wasn’t always encouraged. Fish felt that Abstract Expressionism, which is what was being taught at Yale, had little meaning to her. Instead, she was influenced by California painters David Park and Richard Diebenkorn, whose work offered a fresher approach to painting.

Although Fish largely rejected Abstract Expressionism, some of its principles, such as boldness and smooth, flowing brush strokes, influenced her work. Fish is known for her dramatic, still life paintings, where the objects themselves are not the primary players. Rather, the colors and light effects of her works create movement throughout the composition. The arrangement, which takes several days to finalize, reveals her interest in juxtapositions.

Janet Fish became one of the first women to earn a Master of Fine Arts degree from Yale’s School of Art and Architecture. She has been an art instructor at the School of Visual Arts, Parsons School of Design, Syracuse University, and the University of Chicago. Fish resides and paints, in her SoHo, New York City loft and her Vermont farm house in Middletown Springs.

Today, the Museum celebrates her birthday by inviting visitors to view her painting After a Wedding, in the Stein Gallery.

Janet Fish (American, b. 1938), ‘After a Wedding’, 2002, oil on canvas, purchased with funds from the Morton R. Hirschberg Bequest and gifts from the J. Johnson Gallery AP.2005.9.1

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Cummer Museum Junior Docents



The Junior Docents of the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens are students in the sixth through twelfth grades. Each school year they contribute hours to the Museum and the community. They participate in varied learning experiences and create an exhibition consisting of their original artwork.

During this 2016/2017 school year, each Junior Docent created a work based on what most inspired them in the gardens. Their inspirations, represented in acrylic paint on paper, will be on exhibit throughout the summer in Art Connections.

The Junior Docents shared their works with visitors in the gardens on the evening of Tuesday March 28, 2017. Comparing their works to the gardens and speaking of their personal inspiration, Junior Docents were involved in numerous conversations throughout the evening.

“This opportunity really allowed me to connect my personal artistic passion to the beauty of the Museum gardens.” – Caitlin Wiegert, Junior Docent

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Thanks to Florida Blue Volunteers!




Thank you to the Florida Blue Volunteers who offered their support on April 24 here at the Museum in order ensure the success of the 2017 Very Special Arts (VSA) Festival. Florida Blue has been a loyal sponsor of the Cummer Museum for many years, and thanks to their sponsorship, we are able to offer special events such as Florida Blue Free Tuesdays, which allow for free admission, live music, and garden and permanent collection tours each Tuesday evening. Last year, Florida Blue Free Tuesdays served a diverse array of more than 27,000 visitors. The VSA Festival is another huge way for us to give back to the community as an opportunity for students with special needs in the greater Jacksonville area to engage with art, movement, and music, as well as have the opportunity to create their own works of art. The Florida Blue Volunteers worked tirelessly in order to ensure that students attending the festival have the necessary materials to create their masterpieces and enjoy their experience at the Museum to the fullest.

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The “Leaning Virgin”, James McBey & WWI




We’ve all heard of the “Leaning Tower of Pisa”, but who has heard of the “Leaning Virgin”? The “Leaning Virgin” became a legend in Northern France during World War I. It was destroyed in April 1918, and we want to take time this April to remember it in its perplexing glory.

Sergeant John Lord (Australian, 1896 – 1951), ‘Basilica of Notre-Dame de Brebières, Albert, France’, 1916, photograph, Museums Victoria.

The Golden Virgin was a sculpture designed by Albert Roze (1861 – 1952) that sat atop the Basilica of Notre-Dame de Brebières located in the city of Albert, in the Somme region. In January 1915, the Basilica, three miles from battle, was hit by a German shell and the statue fell to an almost horizontal position. It became known as the “Leaning Virgin” to British, French, and German soldiers passing by, infatuated with how it remained attached to the rooftop for years. This peculiar “resistance” fostered many legends; the British army believed whoever made the statue fall would lose the war, while the German army actually claimed the opposite. When German troops took Albert in March 1918, British forces soon retaliated, and the Basilica was sadly destroyed. The German legend turned out to be right: the Allies, whose missiles took down the statue, won the war.

Today, you can visit Heroes & Battlefields: World War I Prints by James McBey, on display until June 25, 2017. This exhibition commemorates the 100th anniversary of America’s entry in World War I with McBey’s haunting etchings of the cities, people, and landscapes affected by the conflict. McBey captured the “Leaning Virgin” in a print while stationed in Albert with British forces in 1917.

James McBey (British, 1883 – 1959), ‘Albert, Somme’, 1917, drypoint, 9 15/16 x 5 7/8 in., Gift of Mrs. James McBey, AG.1961.1.73.

His rendition shows the statue looking over the decimated town as brave soldiers in the foreground make their way to the front lines. A landmark in a once lively market place, the “Leaning Virgin” seems to embody the resilience of a whole town in the midst of its physical devastation.

Although the “Leaning Virgin” and the Basilica were rebuilt to their original splendor after the war, it is important to remember how it symbolized, for many years, the war’s impact on the world.

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#5WomenArtists – Ellen Biddle Shipman




Can you name 5 women artists? It turns out, most people can’t. This simple question calls attention to the inequity women artists face, inspires conversation, and brings awareness to a larger audience. As a part of the #5WomenArtists initiative through the National Museum of Women in the Arts and in celebration of Women’s History Month, we will be highlighting women artists in the Cummer Collection. Museum founder Ninah Cummer was a supporter of women artists. Each of the artists we are highlighting are from the original 60 pieces of artwork donated by Ninah Cummer that are the foundation of our collection. To learn more about women artists, follow the National Museum of Women in the Arts on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, or follow #5WomenArtists. This post is the last of five published as part of our #5WomenArtists series.

When Mrs. Cummer hired Ellen Biddle Shipman in 1931 to embellish her property, she was reaching out to one of the most respected and sought-after landscape architects in the country. Shipman was part of a generation that succeeded in breaking into a largely male-dominated field, and her clients included famous American magnates such as the Fords and the Astors. Her gardens often appeared in magazines, and by 1933 House & Garden had named her the “Dean of Women Landscape Architects”. She shared her passion through many lectures and completed more than 600 projects.

Born to a prominent military family from Philadelphia that often relocated, Ellen Biddle Shipman (1896 – 1950) was introduced to horticulture in her early years while living with her grandparents in New Jersey. However, it was not until she moved to Massachusetts that she began to cultivate her landscaping skills. In 1912, she started her career as a garden designer in Cornish, New Hampshire under the mentorship of architect Charles Platt, known for his interest in Italian gardens. By 1920, she had opened an office in New York City, and she made a point of hiring graduates of the Lowthorpe School of Landscape Architecture for Women, the first of its kind to open the profession to women.

Because of the labor-intensive nature of her designs, few preserved spaces have survived. Among those, however, is the Sarah P. Duke Gardens at Duke University in North Carolina, considered to be one of the most beautiful American college campuses, with its Italianate style. The Longue Vue House & Gardens in New Orleans is still admired today for how it included the architectural design of the house itself into the gardens, cleverly blending interior and exterior spaces.

And of course, there is the Italian garden at the Cummer Museum, one of the jewels of our grounds. Mrs. Cummer’s vision and love for a landscape style she discovered while traveling with her husband in Italy still exists today for us all to enjoy.

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Cummer Amelia Garden Walk and Art Home Tour




Join Cummer Amelia in partnership with Amelia Island Plantation Real Estate for two exciting events: the 3rd Annual Garden Walk at Amelia Island Plantation on Friday, April 7, and an Art Home Tour on Saturday, April 8.

The Garden Walk begins with a presentation by renowned Omni Chef Daven Wardynski, held at The Sprouting Project. After the presentation, guests will enjoy a garden walk of four private gardens. Art demonstrations, live music, and refreshments will be provided along the tour route. Transportation is offered, but limited. Master Gardener volunteers from the Nassau County Extension Service will be at each of the Cummer Amelia Garden Walk venues to help answer your questions. The cost for Members is $20 and $30 for Non-Members.

12:30 p.m. – Check-in at The Sprouting Project, located on Sea Marsh Road on Amelia Island, at the north end of Oak Marsh Golf Driving Range, inside Amelia Island Plantation.
1 p.m. – Presentation by Omni Chef Daven Wardynski at The Sprouting Project.
1:30 to 4 p.m. – Garden Walk of four private gardens.

Artists and musicians include:

Gretchen Williams – Gretchen loves to capture the architecture, beachscapes, landscapes, flora and fauna of Amelia Island, where she resides. Her work can be seen at The Island Art Gallery in Fernandina Beach or on her website.

Charli Leniston – Charli started with a love of clay and steel before realizing that it was time to work in more manageable mediums: acrylic and mixed media. You can view her artwork on her Facebook page.

Pam Vieser – Pam moved to Amelia Island several years ago and fell in love with the beauty of the island and its coasts, as well as the natural flora and fauna. You can see her artwork at 2nd Story Gallery & Studios and PJV Photographic Visions.

Susan Sellner – Susan uses the money acquired from the commissions of her pet portraits to help homeless animals in Nassau County. Private viewings of her complete body of work can be seen in her home studio by appointment or you can also visit her website.

Jonathan Hoyle – Using a unique mix of pop, soul, R&B and Electronica, Jonathan gives an unforgettable performance. To listen to his music, and to learn more about him, you can visit his website.

Lis Krawiecki – Ten years before retiring from her previous job as a social worker, Lis took a pottery class and hasn’t been able to get her hands out of clay since. You can view some of her work at her website.

For additional information, contact Wendy Mayle at 904.899.6007 or at or register now.


Guests can wrap up their weekend with a complimentary self-guided Art Home Tour on Saturday, April 8, through a variety of fabulous properties. Each location will feature artwork by local artists. Begin your tour at the Amelia Island Plantation Real Estate office to pick up your map of the properties included on the tour. The office is located at the Omni Resort Amelia Island Plantation. For further information, please contact Amelia Island Real Estate at 904.277.5980.

Special thanks to our Sponsors and Community Supporters!

Sponsors: Amelia Island Plantation Real Estate; Amelia Island Artist’s Guild and Gallery at the Spa and Shops; CBC National Bank; Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort

Community Supporters: Art On Centre; Amelia Rental and Management; Amelia Styling Salon; Bijoux Amelia; Bar Zin Bistro & Wine Bar; Café Karibo; Claudia Cardinale-Watts with Coldwell Banker; 2nd Story Gallery & Studios; Crawford Jewelers, Inc.; Joseph Cutajar with Sotheby’s Realty; Island Flower and Garden; Julia Hall Interiors, Inc.; New York Nails; Quality Health; The Book Loft; The Plantation Shop; Pam and Pat Troxel with Coldwell Banker The Amelia Group; Harris Teeter; Evelyn Talman of Amelia Island

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