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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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Preview of Garden Month




This years Garden Month is filled with exciting events for the whole family. Stop by the Museum this March for a fun-filled month. The festivities begin on Saturday, March 4, with the Garden Month Kickoff and Plant Sale. Celebrate the coming of spring at this free family day, by purchasing new plants from local vendors and enjoying plein air painting, live music, family art activities, and garden tours throughout the day. No registration is required for this event.

Then, on March 9, join Laura Haley for a Floral Arranging class to learn how to create beautiful arrangements using materials found at your local grocery store. On Friday, March 10, you will be able to relax under the stars in the beautiful Cummer Gardens with a concert, starring The Chris Thomas Band. Guests may bring chairs, picnics, and beverages, or you can place an order for pick-up at the Cummer Café.

On March 15, guests can enjoy an insightful Talks & Tea with a discussion by Director of Education Lynn Norris, on Constance Spry: The Woman Who Made Flower Arranging an Art. You can also join Lynn on March 21 as she takes you on a journey through the History of Western Art.

Wednesday, March 22 brings a Distinguished Lecture with P. Allen Smith who has a passion for American style. Smith is a television host, designer, gardening and lifestyle expert, and is one of America’s most recognized garden and design experts, through his public television programs: P. Allen Smith’s Garden Home, P. Allen Smith’s Garden Style, and P. Allen Smith’s Garden to Table. He is the author of numerous garden-related books, including “Bringing the Garden Indoors: Container, Crafts, and Bouquets for Every Room” and the cookbook “Seasonal Recipes from the Garden.” Inspired by the ferme ornee concept for Monticello, Smith created his own Moss Mountain Farm as a demonstration ground for principles of good design, conservation, and stewardship. Take a virtual tour of Moss Mountain and see how Smith is creating a new chapter in the evolution of the classic American farm. You won’t want to miss this lecture.

“Seasonal Recipes from the Garden,” showcases the bounty of each season with recipes arranged according to when ingredients are at their garden-fresh best. He features 120 Southern recipes peppered with wit, personal anecdotes, gardening tips, and cooking tricks. He also includes a short how-to guide in the back of the book which includes information about the food he grows in his garden and some simple ideas on how readers can do the same. This book will be available for purchase at the Cummer Shop, and Smith will be available to autograph the purchase prior to his lecture.

On Saturday, March 25, join the Museum for Garden Conservancy’s Open Days Program. Guests will be able to tour a number of private gardens throughout the Riverside neighborhood, and knowledgeable volunteers will be on hand in each garden to answer your questions throughout the day.

Garden Month wraps up on Tuesday, March 28, with the third of a four part lecture series: The Search for Paradise: A History of Western Gardens, 19th and Early 20th Century English Gardens. Join Director of Education Lynn Norris and explore the era of country house gardens, designed by J.C. Loudon, William Robinson, Gertrude Jekyll, and Vita Sackville-West, followed by a walk through the Cummer Gardens.

You won’t want to miss any of these events!







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Ready or Not



As a way to continue the conversations around LIFT, the artists involved, and the content of the artwork, this series of blogs will be looking at the artists’ work moving forward, their future exhibitions, and the direction their artwork has taken since creating pieces for the LIFT exhibition.


The Rooms Where it Happens

Firmly nestled in one of Jacksonville’s esteemed boroughs, Springfield, all things are stirring around the house. Springfield is the home of Porchfest, a new mural, and soon two new breweries; it’s redeveloping. The neighborhood feels different, and Anthony Aiuppy, Thony to those who know him best, loves this area. He is proud to call Jacksonville his home. Thony’s home studio is marginally off limits to his beautiful children, who are currently demanding his attention. Melissa, a pianist and a teacher, is managing the chaos of expressive artistic children who range in ages. The oldest and youngest tinker around with the ivories showing off their skills, while Melissa and her middle child rest comfortably on their couch. Artists are all around, figuratively and literally, as the Auippys are quite the art collectors themselves.

Thony’s paintings are in good company on the walls. There are works of art from artists Steve Williams, Tom Hager, and Madeline Peck Wagner. “We don’t really have storage for paintings, so I just hang them around my house,” he says. Paintings cover their walls from the living room to the den and flow into their kitchen. The paintings in the place where he eats show Thony’s real hunger. He has been experimenting with his Worker Series.

Since September 26, 2016 he’s been doing weekly art classes with children. He does not deny he has been influenced; he is elated by the full circle of now being in an exhibition (LIFT) with his former and favorite art professor, Dustin Harewood. He is upping his technique. More colorful backgrounds are occurring than the muted palette he has been establishing as his signature style. It feels exciting and new, but still Thony. He’s marrying his Southern Gothic narrative to his Worker Series.

“I know what it’s like to work a graveyard shift. I didn’t go to college until I was 25. My creative process comes from my background in manual labor. Making art is a manual labor job.”

The physicality in artmaking is always there. Yet it is not the perception. [Artists are still lampooned as if they are young men in Paris, sitting idly, and drawing beautiful women.] In Thony’s truth it is more like being a blue-collar worker. There is physical labor that goes into using the tools to building frames, stretching canvases, and mounting them down. “There’s a lot of sweat and blood.”

Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough

The father of three is already focused on his artwork for 2018. “I am going to continue my theme with the ‘Workers’, but more like in the narrative form, like the paintings from the Cummer Museum.” His smaller works are snapshots of that southern living, and paintings like the ones in LIFT, let him give a fuller narrative to his art. “I like the way that both of them work. It kind of fills in the space. There is something going on in that space.”

At the time of this interview, Thony was getting ready for two shows, one solo. In the exhibition Till We Have Faces at the Karpeles Manuscript Museum, he will be revisiting more than 50 of his paintings. The other is a group show, A More Perfect Union: Explorations for Human Rights, which opened February 3 at the Space Gallery. Thony loves the idea of displaying art close to home. A mixture of southern landscapes, plantation houses, drawings, and his Worker series will line the walls of the Karpeles, while in A More Perfect Union, he will be reunited in displaying art with fellow LIFT artists Overstreet Ducasse, Princess Simpson Rashid, Chip Southworth, and Roosevelt Watson III. By the end of February all three shows will come down.

Working Day and Night

“An hour in the morning is worth two in the evening” – Chinese Proverb

A friend recently inquired about how he juggles it all – “It doesn’t feel like it’s a lot when you are doing your calling.” Thony credits the Cultural Council for allowing him to take the Creative Capital workshop. Out of it he developed some creative planning skills. “That really helped me to schedule and maximize the time I have,” he said. Thony would rather paint in the morning rather than at night, the time where most artists thrive, but he knows that’s when he needs to be resting.

“We plan our lives. We have a family monthly calendar. I have a weekly planner and then within it I have a daily calendar, so I know what days I have studio time and I know what days I have a date night, and I know like, family.”

As the coffee maker goes off in the morning, “I hear that thing, I’m up. I’m awake, alert, and I got coffee.”

Even his studio time is well-calculated, “From about 5 or 5:30 a.m. to 7:30 or 8:00 a.m., that’s studio time.” He lives by his own adage, “If you don’t plan it, I don’t think you will be able to do much.” And there isn’t much Thony isn’t doing. Not only is he in a successful and nationally-recognized exhibition, he himself was recently acquired by the Museum of Contemporary Art in Jacksonville, as the J. Wayne and Delores Barr Weaver Educator. This is where Thony has shifted his focus. Less nostalgia than necessity has Thony seeing Jacksonville as one big “Choose Your Own Adventure” book.

His choice is for the Downtown Core to become the main place for arts education integration; he’d love art to be a focused core subject. STEM is picking up STEAM, and if you are on Laura Street on a weekday, you will see yellow school buses filled with curious children flooding the doors of MOCA being welcomed by “The Weaver” educator. At 36, teaching is Thony’s true calling.

“They made a mistake in the 70s and now they are like arts should be core subjects and they are cramming it down kids throats! You have a whole generation of adults in this city who never ever got arts education. It was stripped from schools, there were no field trips.”

Art appreciation has to be taught and developed; what happens when those adults have children? Most don’t have cultural context to identify how the arts could affect the community. The arts are viewed as soft subjects or inferior; this can be your perspective if your exposure to art was taking a liberal arts class to pass your undergraduate studies. Arts aren’t valued and artists even less as Thony sees the issue, “There’s a problem here!” There was an incident recently at MOCA where a photo was viewed as indecent. The community came out and showed their support and stood with MOCA, which rolled into a believing-in-MOCA campaign. Thony’s belief is that incidents like this can be tempered in the future by more art education.

“I like educating kids, but also adults. Part of teaching to me is to equip parents so that if they don’t know a style or certain artists, they won’t be dismissive of art.”

That might be the most important thing Thony will ever do for the city, “Like ever!”

You Betta Work

“Our city has no identity,” says Thony. He knows there is no perfect solution to fixing this problem… well maybe one. “Stick around instead of just dipping out. OK. Instead of trying to go to a larger market where the resources are tapped out, stay here. Yes there are some hoops, but you can basically do whatever you want to do creatively.” There is this perception of Jacksonville being a big little town or the next big city. He is preaching to the choir, “This city has opportunities, but you have to get to the point where you make your own.” Thony is beyond committed to making this a better community. “I’m in place I would have never thought I would be last year,” referring to his new gig at MOCA.

In 2015, Thony was hustling, he had several exhibitions, “I was creating a ton of work.” He was teaching adult classes, teaching at Reddi Arts, art camps, and at University of North Florida. He wasn’t satisfied, but he kept pushing. Being a demonstrating artist with the Cummer Museum, especially during the VSA Festival had its privileges.

He was affected by teaching in communities where poverty is abundant but not always evident. When your socioeconomic status is light your awareness of that can be dulled by your environment. He learned a lot working with those students. “I didn’t know not to say boy.” It was a learning lesson for all. It made his intensity for justice grow deeper. He is trying to live by the words of MLK by not judging someone by the color of their skin but the content of their character.

You can see that in the work in LIFT, particularly in the piece Stony the Road. It was at one of those “hustling” exhibitions where then Cummer Museum Director Hope McMath gave him the beginnings of what LIFT would be. She vocalized her intention for his work to be a part of the exhibition. Maybe that is why Thony was one of the first artists to fully complete his work. At the shared meeting of participating artists, all were dumbstruck around the room when he voiced he was finished. Most of the artists were in the middle of their works, and one had not even begun.

He is under no allusion that Jacksonville will be adopting these thought processes anytime soon. As an exhibiting artist he knows the necessity of doing exhibitions outside of your city. But you will not hear him bad-mouthing Jacksonville in the process. A very audible voice came to Thony while at church off of McDuff Avenue. It said, “You need to be for the city.” It freaked him out and rightly so. Ever since graduating from Savannah College of Art and Design, he has tried to leave Jacksonville. The old mafia cliché wouldn’t turn him loose; he was locked in. His belief is that as a society we place an intrinsic value on art but not on financially providing sustainability. He recounts a story of a gallery (X Nylo) where he used to help curate shows and provide the necessary resumé-building skill of exhibiting artists in Springfield. “I loved doing that, providing opportunities for artists. But dollars… money.” It’s no secret that galleries are hard to sustain here. The collector’s list is short, and the perception again is people think they cannot afford to buy artwork. “There is no market, unless your gallery is also attached to a frame shop.”  The gallery had two seasons and then ran out of resources. “Shops close up. You have to have the lights on and have a key for someone to see your stuff.”

This is the reality. There are artists here short-selling others but that goes with educating. Thony is ready to teach.

“I could go anywhere I want to, but here I get to stay and I get to play, and I have a part to make something happen. I’m here to live, work, and make cool stuff.”

Thony knows he is being called; Jacksonville needs an Ambassador to say, “I am staying here,” but who?

Greatest Love of All

The assimilation of a general blanketed whiteness in America has denigrated the Sicilian heritage of the Auippy name, “It originally had an “a” at the end, but at Ellis Island they Amercanized it, and put a y.” Auippa no more. This country has had a long history at removing culture and heritage by attaching last names to its non-citizens. Some are immigrants, others were forced into assimilation never having the opportunity to immigrate; forced to continue to bear the name of their former oppressors as now inclusionary citizens. America’s history has never been as shiny as we would like to remember it. “They actually mention my Great Uncle in the movie CasinoJoey Doves.’ I’ve got it bad on both sides. On my Mom’s side I’m like 16th-generation descendant of Jessie James. Bad blood. But we don’t talk about that,” he laughs. Yes family history is complicated and rarely do we like discussing our faults.

Museums can be safe spaces to engage these difficult topics. The background of art opens the viewer up to feelings that are often not vocalized. It’s why Thony appreciates the programming the Cummer Museum has offered during the run of LIFT. It’s in one of these programs he forged a deeper bond with artists Ingrid Damiani, Princess Simpson Rashid, and Roosevelt Watson III. “I gained two sisters and a brother.” They performed under the tutelage of Folio Weekly’s Best Actress of 2016, Barbara Colaciello. Thony reflects on how this exhibition changed his world and his view of community. Not only do you need an “I” but you need a “U” for community.

“I think that [Martin Luther] King hits it, and I personally aspire to it; I want it to be my default. I love people. I hope people are honest enough when I’m being a jerkface. Some of the LIFT stuff is unconscious bias, but YOU have to learn from that.”

Museums and libraries are learning how to help people curate those conversations. Barbara Colaciello will again weave something together for the closing day of the exhibition to be held on February 12, 2017. Too often, Black heritage is told by others, who shape the narrative based on their perspective, creating an inauthentic view of our collective history. Though contemporary elements are necessary to help redevelop that intention, it is good to reach out to the greater community and ask a question before assuming you have the answer. As LIFT is getting closer to lifting off, other exhibitions around the city, like the black-women-centric-focused exhibition KESHA: A Black Female Experience of Identity and Race, at the Main Library in the JMS Gallery on the 1st floor, will continue those conversations. It will be interesting to see how Jacksonville will be viewed in a few months. History is happening here all the time. Thony hopes to see more progression and inclusion. He is focused on birthing new collectors. The children of today will be his future,

“That’s why I’m in the job I’m at. I am on a mission to provide more opportunities for families to get engaged in the cultural world around us, mainly through Contemporary Art. It’s the most diverse.”

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Distinguished Lecture: Dr. Katie Hanson




Jean-Léon Gérôme, ‘The Marble Work’ (‘Le Travail du Marbre’), 1890, Oil on canvas, 19 7/8 x 15 9/16 inches, © Dahesh Museum of Art, 1995.104.

With thousands of works on view at the official Salon exhibition in Paris, how could an artist stand out and gain renown? Within the confines of Academic training, how could a painter not just distinguish himself but achieve international acclaim? Highlighting the work of Alexandre Cabanel and Jean-Léon Gérôme — two painters featured in Academic Splendor: Nineteenth-Century Masterworks from the Dahesh Museum of Art — Dr. Katie Hanson will explore how artists did just that. She will also share some (perhaps unexpected!) points of contact between these Academic artists and key figures of the avant-garde.

Dr. Katie Hanson is Assistant Curator at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, where she is responsible for the European paintings post-1800 and recently curated the special exhibition Pairing Picasso. She is currently organizing the touring exhibition La Parisienne: Portraying Women in the Capital of Culture, 1715-1965. She holds an MA from Williams College and Ph.D. from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. Her publications include contributions to exhibition catalogues and scholarly journals addressing artists from Jean-Honoré Fragonard to Henri Matisse.

Dr. Hanson will speak at the Cummer Museum on Thursday, February 16 from 6:30 to 8:30. Cost for Members is $30, Non-Members $40, and registration is required.


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Arthur and Ninah: A Valentine’s Day Post




“…and it means every thing in the world to me—because I love you more and more and I am looking forward to peaceful happy days in our lovely home and garden—With a heart full of devotion—Yours as always,


Arthur Cummer met Ninah May Holden at the University of Michigan. Ninah received her Bachelor of Arts degree in 1895, and two years later, Arthur and Ninah were married in Michigan City, Indiana. After their marriage, they moved to Jacksonville. Although Ninah valued her independence and individuality, it is clear from this letter—written by Ninah to Arthur—that she loved him deeply.

In 1903, Arthur and Ninah built a large Tudor-style house, with a sweeping drive and immaculate gardens. The first formal garden—an English style—was added in 1910 and was replanted with hundreds of beautiful azaleas. In 1931, the Italian Gardens were created, patterned after the famous garden of the Villa Gamberaia. Towering above it all was a majestic 175-200 year-old live oak tree, with a canopy spanning 150 feet. This oak tree is now known as the Cummer Oak.

This Valentine’s Day, bring your sweetheart to the Cummer Museum to enjoy a romantic stroll through the gardens, walk hand-in-hand along the St. Johns River, or sit under the shade of the Cummer Oak. Maybe, just maybe, you’ll be able to feel the love that Arthur and Ninah felt for each other.

The Museum is open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Tuesdays, so you’ll be able to spend all day exploring the campus. Don’t forget to stop by the Cummer Shop to buy something beautiful for your beloved.


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Marie-Victoire Lemoine (French, 1754 – 1820), ‘Portrait of a Youth in an Embroidered Vest’, 1785, oil on canvas, 25 5/8 x 21 1/2 in., Purchased with funds from the Cummer Council, AP.1994.3.1.

Our beautiful painting by Marie-Victoire Lemoine, Portrait of a Youth with an Embroidered Vest, has embarked on a national journey! It is currently part of a fascinating exhibition presented at the Cornell Fine Arts Museum, in Winter Park, Florida. The Black Figure in the European Imaginary (January 20 through May 15, 2017) explores “the manner in which the visual arts of Europe imagined black people during the long nineteenth century (c. 1750 — 1914),” according to the exhibition curators.

Our painting will then continue its “tour,” with a stop at the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C., where it will be featured in the exhibition America Collects Eighteenth-Century French Painting (May 21 through August 20, 2017). As mentioned on the NGA’s website, the exhibition “tells the story of the collectors, curators, museum directors, and dealers responsible for developing an American appetite for the French rococo and neoclassical styles.”

Marie-Victoire Lemoine (1754 — 1820) shared her passion for the arts with two of her sisters, who were also artists. She studied with the history painter François Guillaume Ménageot (1744 — 1816) and developed a keen talent for portraiture and for elegantly capturing her sitter’s emotional disposition. She first exhibited her work at the Salon (the most important exhibition in Paris) in 1796. One of the paintings she submitted, The Interior of an Atelier of a Woman Painter, is now at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

She would go on to display portraits and genre scenes at the Salon intermittently until 1814. The importance of the Salon is explored in Academic Splendor: Ninteenth-Century Masterworks from the Dahesh Museum of Art, opening at the Cummer Museum on January 27.

Since Portrait of a Youth with an Embroidered Vest entered the Cummer Museum’s Permanent Collection, there has been much speculation about who the sitter is. It was once thought to be a portrait of the well-known Louis Benoît Zamor, a protégé of Madame Du Barry (1743 — 1793), the last mistress of King Louis XV. Du Barry expelled Zamor from her home after he sympathized with the French Revolution. His testimony against Madame Du Barry was a contributing factor to her execution by guillotine in 1793. Given the richness of his attire, another hypothesis is that the young man may be Scipio or Narcisse, both linked to the house of the Duchess d’Orléans, born de Bourbon-Penthièvre (1753 — 1821), for whom the artist worked.

Exhibitions like the ones in Winter Park and Washington D.C. encourage new research that help us solve such mysteries. However, sometimes, even thorough research yields little result because critical documents have been lost or destroyed. Sharing our artworks with museums in other cities is also a great opportunity for the Cummer Museum to reach new audiences across the country and the world, and allow them to discover our rich Collection.

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Julius Rosenwald: Businessman and Philanthropist




On February 1, the Cummer Museum, in collaboration with our colleagues at MOSH and more than 40 northeast Florida organizations in “Voices of Hope,” will present the film Rosenwald, about philanthropist Julius Rosenwald. This film sheds light on the silent partner of the pre-Civil Rights movement and his ties to Jacksonville and artist Augusta Savage. There will be a discussion following the film, led by retired Director of New York’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Howard Dodson.

Julius Rosenwald was born in 1892 to Jewish parents who emigrated to America from Germany during Abraham Lincoln’s presidency, in a house just a block from Lincoln’s home in Springfield, Illinois.

When he was 16 years old, Rosenwald was apprenticed to his uncles, who were clothing manufacturers in New York City, where he learned the trade. By the time he was 30, he had obtained moderate success as a business owner making ready-to-wear men’s suits. This led him to becoming a partner in Sears, Roebuck & Company. He eventually purchased the company, implementing a rational management philosophy and a diverse product line. In 1908, Rosenwald was named president of the company, and after 17 years was appointed Chairman of the Board, a position he held until his death in 1932.

In 1911, Rosenwald met Booker T. Washington, and the two became friends, even visiting each other’s homes. Soon thereafter, Rosenwald made his entry into large-scale philanthropy by establishing the Rosenwald Fund, which donated millions of dollars in matching funds to support the education of African American children in the rural south. Together with Washington, he built more than 5,000 state-of-the-art schools for African American children across the south, which became known as “Rosenwald Schools”. After a long philanthropic career, Rosenwald died at his home in Highland Park, Illinois, on January 6, 1932.

Howard Dodson, retired Director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture will be leading the discussion following the screening. The Schomburg Center is one of four research libraries within the New York Public Library and is recognized as one of the leading institutions of its kind in the world. An international research and cultural icon located in Harlem, the Center has collected, preserved, and provided access to materials documenting black life, and promoted the study and interpretation of the history and culture of peoples of African
descent. The Center attracts scholars from across the nation and the world who utilize the Center’s comprehensive collection of general, rare, and unique materials to deepen their knowledge of and scholarship about the African American experience and the African experience in the Diaspora.

Mr. Dodson served as Director of the Schomburg Center for 25 years. During his tenure, the holdings grew from 5 to 10 million items, and the attendance tripled to around 120,000 visitors a year. He secured the collections of Melville J. Herskovits, John Henrik Clarke, Lorraine Hansberry, Malcolm X, and Nat King Cole, among others.

Rosenwald, directed by Aviva Kemper, documents his life and philanthropy. To learn more about the film, and to watch the trailer, visit For further information or to register for the viewing, please call 904.899.6038 or register now.


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