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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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“Urban Spaces, Open Skies: 20th-Century American Landscape” Opens Early




The Cummer Museum’s latest exhibition Urban Spaces, Open Skies: 20th-Century American Landscape opened nearly two weeks ahead of schedule on July 16. The exhibition, which was originally set to open on July 27, draws mainly from the Cummer Museum’s extensive collection of works on paper, featuring more than 30 prints celebrating modern cities and the timeless charms of the country.

Frederick Mershimer, American (b. 1958), Passage, c. 1993, aquatint, Purchased with funds from the Cornelia Morse Carithers Endowment Fund, AP.1994.1.13

Artists have long captured the changing realities of new metropolises, with their busy streets, skyscrapers, harbors, industries, and workers. Iconic symbols of the American urban boom, such as the Brooklyn Bridge and the skylines of New York City and Chicago, exemplify the rapid change in American landscape during the early 20th-century and inspired artists to document it.

Philip Kappel, American (1901 – 1981), Boat Builders, Essex, 20th-century, etching, Purchased with funds from the Cornelia Morse Carithers Endowment Fund, AP.1992.20.34

In contrast, the nostalgia for an idealized, “simple” way of life during this time is portrayed through through representations of wide open spaces, lakes, forests, and fields. The stillness and serenity of the countryside, often untamed or unmarked by humans, offers a break from chaotic urban life. A new appreciation for the natural American landscape was born from the industrial revolution, which artists expressed beautifully.

Charles Jac Young, American (1880 – 1940), More Snow Coming, c. 1934, etching and drypoint, Purchased with funds from the Cornelia Morse Carithers Endowment Fund, AP.1992.20.49

Urban Spaces, Open Skies: 20th-Century American Landscape will be housed in the Jacobsen Gallery until February 3, 2019. Several events are planned in connection to the exhibition, including a Talks & Tea event, an Art Adventures class for children, and a Classical Concert. Reservations for each event can be made on the Museum website.

Joseph Margulies, American (1896 – 1984), Bridges, 1976, aquatint, Purchased with funds from the Cornelia Morse Carithers Memorial Print Collection, AP.1994.2.3

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Cummer Amelia: Year in Review




Cummer Amelia is celebrating more than 10 years of dedicated service to the Cummer Museum. The group’s focus is to connect Nassau County residents to the Museum’s mission of engaging and inspiring through arts, gardens, and education. This year, Cummer Amelia experienced record-breaking attendance, increased volunteer support, new sponsors, enhanced partnerships, and fully funded school tours for Nassau County third and fourth-grade students. Cummer Amelia also joined fundraising efforts for two important initiatives at the Museum, the National Endowment for the Humanities Challenge Grant and the Garden Reconstruction Fund, providing contributions from more than 100 Nassau County donors.

Each year, the Cummer Amelia calendar includes events and programming that inspire lifelong learning, instill a deeper appreciation for the arts and gardens, and raise impactful funds for the Museum. This year, these events included:

  • An October Kickoff, featuring a performance by student musicians and a presentation by local artist and Cummer Amelia member, Kathy Miller.

  • An Artistic Florist Sneak Preview welcomed the holiday season with a fundraising cocktail hour to view the designer’s new showroom.

  • A Lunch, Lecture, & Tours fall program hosted Aja Raden, best-selling author of “Stoned: Jewelry, Obsession, and How Desire Shapes the World”, relating her book to the exhibition Bijoux Parisiens French Jewelry from the Petit Palais, Paris. The spring program featured Sharon Core, contemporary photographer, with a presentation related to her work in the exhibition In the Garden.

  • Cocktails & Canvases was hosted and sponsored by Omni Amelia Island Plantation, giving guests an unmatched experience with artists, mixologists, and chefs. The main event included an immersive culinary and visual arts dinner.

  • Cummer Amelia’s Fourth Annual Garden Walk fundraiser featured tours of four private gardens and a Garden Market offering plants and garden accessories. The event hosted more than 350 guests, volunteers, and vendors. This event provided $8,000 in revenue and in-kind support of $10,000.

  • Marshes & Moonlight invited more than 100 guests to enjoy live music, delicious food, and beautiful scenery. Generously hosted by Brian & Candace Loftus and Tommy & Becky Grimes, this pre-Garden Walk event raised more than $13,000 to fund Cummer Amelia’s outreach for 2019 and gifted more than $15,000 of in-kind support.

  • An Afternoon of Art, in partnership with the Fernandina Beach Branch of the Nassau County Library System, was a very successful series of four lectures focused on the historical impact of women artists. The series was free and open to the public, and attracted 324 guests.

In addition to these special events and programs, Cummer Amelia’s fundraising efforts allowed more than 600 Nassau County students, parents, and teachers to visit the Museum for a day of art education. These trips include time in the galleries and gardens, transportation, and hands-on studio time.

Cummer Amelia was once again recognized at the Director’s Circle level of the Museum’s Ponce de León Society for annual contributions exceeding $45,000 in revenue, as well as $100,000 of in-kind support this year. Sponsorships and partnerships have increased by 75% over the past year.

Thank you to all the members of Cummer Amelia, who contribute not only financially, but also give time and talent to the Museum through volunteerism. Special thanks to Cummer Amelia’s board, sponsors, partners, and community supporters for promoting the mission and goals of Cummer Amelia this year!

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Engaging Local Schools Through Cummer in the Classroom




Each year, the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens partners with underserved urban core elementary schools to promote its mission to engage and inspire through the arts, gardens, and education. Cummer in the Classroom provides PreK3 through 5th grade students with cultural experiences that fully integrate art, creativity, literacy, play, music, and parental involvement, and reflects the belief that the arts are an essential part of school readiness and success. Cummer in the Classroom is the largest educational program that the Museum offers. Students receive four to nine interactions per year, with either Museum staff visiting the school or students visiting the Museum.

“Many of my students wouldn’t have the opportunity to visit the Museum without this partnership” – Denyse Cohen, Sallye B. Mathis Elementary School Teacher

Through the program, participating classes receive at least two field trips to the Museum. The first visit connects students’ grade level curriculum to the Museum’s collection. The second is focused on either a tour of the gardens or a special exhibition. Both of these options offer students an enriching experience. Touring the gardens teaches students about the environment, landscape design, and sculpture through hands-on activities and discussion, while touring the special exhibitions provides a unique experience for students, linking art from various times and cultures to the learning objectives already in place with the Cummer in the Classroom curriculum.

In addition to field trips to the Cummer Museum, participating classes receive outreach visits from Museum Educators, which include language-building exercises, art projects using a variety of media, and appropriately chosen literary and musical components. All curricula used in these visits are developed by Museum Educators in alignment with the Next Generation Sunshine State standards, as well as Duval County STEAM standards (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math). Cummer in the Classroom helps students build critical thinking skills which are useful in all school subjects.

The Cummer in the Classroom program also offers assistance to classrooms, schools, and teachers in the form of donation of art materials, lesson plans, and vocabulary lists. Principals, teachers, and administrators from all schools are also offered development workshops, education credits, and a stipend to further art education.

Additional resources are provided to students and families to enrich their experience and build a stronger community impact, including the ability to take free art classes, as well as access to scholarships that can be used towards Camp Cummer enrollment. All students are also gifted with a free Family Membership to the Museum, which gives Museum access to families who may otherwise not have it.

”We are very thankful to participate in this program. Our students feel as if the Cummer is THEIR museum. Students talked about visiting the Museum on weekends and how happy they were to take their entire family at no cost.” – Dinah Stewart, Central Riverside Elementary School Principal

Cummer in the Classroom is highly beneficial not only to the Museum, but also to thousands of children and families throughout Duval County. The program has created a relationship with students that is sure to stay with them for years, as many students identify the Museum as “their museum”, a place outside of their home and school that connects them to their community. This initiative is helping to engage and inspire children from all backgrounds in the arts.

Cummer in the Classroom would not be possible without donations from generous sponsors. Many thanks to EverBank, The Main Street America Group, Dianne T. & Charles E. Rice Family Foundation, J. Wayne and Delores Barr Weaver, Holland & Knight, and The Rea Charitable Trust for their contributions.

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Middle School Camp Cummer!




Help your middle schooler become the next great artist and sign them up for Middle School Camp Cummer! This is the only comprehensive, fine arts camp in town for middle school students.

For students entering grades six through nine, this camp takes inspiration and creativity to the next level. Students will have the opportunity to explore objects across art history and create original works of art, with techniques and projects that are more advanced and perfect for increasing knowledge, honing skills, and building confidence.

Educators, trained in the fields of art history, fine arts, education, and science, develop lesson plans and support students during their creative process, giving students a deeper look into the art concepts and genres they are learning. This summer, students will work with ceramics and printmaking, specifically making their very own ceramic animal and a lino block print. Camp Cummer offers an authentic experience by providing a hands-on learning that immerses the students into the use of the tools and techniques of the trade.

Middle School Camp Cummer is great for students who want to dive deeper into the arts and learn about advanced techniques and forms. Learn more on the Museum’s website and sign your middle schooler up while there are still spots left.

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Donor Highlight – Sally Barnett and Mary Watson and the Garden Conservancy’s Open Days Program



Mary Watson and Sally Barnett (rear, standing) and Judith Tankard (seated), author of “Legacy in Bloom: Celebrating a Century of Gardens at the Cummer”

Since 2014 Sally Barnett and Mary Watson have spent hundreds of tireless hours dedicated to the success of bringing The Garden Conservancy’s Open Days program to Jacksonville each year.

Open Days unlock the gates to local private gardens, fueling the public’s passion for gardens and gardening through self-guided tours and special programs presented by experts in many fields.

Because of their leadership, Sally and Mary have raised nearly $20,000 and welcomed more than 650 guests in the 5 years this program has been in Jacksonville.

This year’s event was held on Saturday, April 14. It raised more than $7,000 and welcomed nearly 250 visitors, seeing more than 50% increase in both dollars raised and participation. This increase was due in part to the Southern Garden History Society holding their 36th Annual Meeting in Jacksonville this year. Guests toured four beautiful private home gardens and enjoyed gorgeous Jacksonville weather.

The same weekend the Museum was surprised to be gifted two significant donations from national garden organizations, The Garden Conservancy and The Garden Club of America. These gifts, totaling $30,000, will help fund the reconstruction of the historic Cummer Gardens, which were severely damaged during Hurricane Irma.

Left to right: James Brayton Hall from The Garden Conservancy, Rick Morales, and Holly Keris

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Grandpa’s Cough Medicine Updates Name Ahead of Garden Concert




David Bowie once said “Every time I’ve made a radical change it’s helped me feel buoyant as an artist,” and we are sure Brett Bass and Melted Plectrum would agree with Bowie on this. The band, formerly known as Grandpa’s Cough Medicine, has changed their name and is moving back to their musical roots in Florida.

Via Brett Bass and Melted Plectrum’s Facebook page.

In the words of the group’s founder and flat picking front man, Brett Bass, the inspiration behind the name change came from wanting to “step out on [his] own and separate [himself] from the outlaw persona required for Grandpa’s Cough Medicine.” Bass, part of the band for more than ten years, has decided now to use his “platform as a musician to spread positivity and joy,” and changing the name allows him to stray away from “the darker material Grandpa’s Cough Medicine [was] known for.” The ‘Melted Plectrum’ portion of the group’s new name stems from the proper name for a guitar pick, “plectrum”, and the group intends to “melt a few.” While the band’s style will be similar, their music will be more family friendly, influenced by high energy bluegrass tunes from Bass’s time in North Carolina and Tennessee.

Whatever name they choose to go by, we are looking forward to our June 23 Garden Concert with Brett Bass and Melted Plectrum, and hope everyone is excited to enjoy their new tunes!

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