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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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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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The Cummer Museum Lends Artwork to New Exhibition at Norman Rockwell Museum




The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens is thrilled to be part of an upcoming exhibition at the Norman Rockwell Museum, located in Stockwell, Massachusetts. The exhibition, titled Keepers of the Flame: Parrish, Wyeth, Rockwell and the Narrative Tradition, examines the influence of European painting styles on great American illustrators such as Norman Rockwell, N.C. Wyeth, and Maxfield Parrish. The Cummer Museum has lent its painting Première Rêverie [Young Love] by French artist William-Adolphe Bouguereau to Keepers of the Flame.

William-Adolphe Bouguereau (French, 1825-1905) Première Rêverie [Young Love], 1889, Oil on canvas, 62” x 36 ½”.

The pieces on display in this exhibition aim to trace European influences across several artistic time periods and connect the many teachers who passed “the wisdom, knowledge, and techniques of the ages to the next generation of creators”. Keepers of the Flame traces the evolution of painting styles from Renaissance Italy to the opulence of Baroque and Rococo styles, to the famed French academies of the 19th century, into the works of groundbreaking American painters of the 20th century.

By uniting more than 85 works spanning 500 years of artistic development across America and Europe, Keepers of the Flame is an extraordinary exhibition cataloging how even the most progressive art from mid-20th century America has its roots in the classical styles of Europe.

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The Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens Welcomes Bob Colacello for a Lecture on the Pope of Pop




Did you know that Bob Colacello, one of New York’s most eccentric and interesting personalities, will be presenting a lecture at the Museum on July 19 about Andy Warhol? Born in 1947 in Brooklyn, New York, Colacello started his career while still a student at Columbia University’s Graduate School of the Arts by writing film reviews for “The Village Voice,” at which time his review of the Andy Warhol film Trash caught the eye of the artist, and the rest is history.

Colacello became the editor of Warhol’s “Interview” magazine and from 1971 to 1983 it was one of the most popular lifestyle magazines of the era. Colacello’s monthly column “OUT” was notorious for showing off the shenanigans of his social life and often included candid images of famous friends, taken using his small Minox 35mm camera.

In 1990, Colacello published “Holy Terror: Andy Warhol Close Up,” which revealed the inner workings of Warhol’s famed studio, The Factory. The book offers intimate insights into Warhol’s work and life — allowing readers the opportunity to see the many sides of one of the most influential men in pop culture. “The New York Times” noted that “Of the reminiscences that have appeared to date, Colacello’s ‘Holy Terror’ is certainly the best-written and most killingly observed,” and George Plimpton deemed the book “a must for anyone even vaguely interested in Andy’s life and times.”

Since 1984, Colacello has been a special correspondent for “Vanity Fair”, and can more recently add museum curator to his extensive repertoire. In a “Vogue” interview regarding his first exhibition, he explains why he chose the title Age of Ambiguity, noting that “We live in a very mixed-up, confused, even chaotic time” and that artists “tend to echo the times or even predict the times.” The exhibition features both abstract and figurative works from artists whom Colacello has met throughout his career (including a piece by Warhol).

Andy Warhol (American, 1928 – 1987), Ten Portraits of Jews of the Twentieth Century, 1980, Silkscreen on paper, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Daniel M. Edelman, AG.2012.4.1 – 10

The July 19 lecture at the Cummer Museum is sure to inspire and entertain, while simultaneously providing a peek into the colorful life of New York socialites. Learn more about Portrait of the Pope of Pop: Andy Warhol with Bob Colacello.

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The Art & Architecture Tour and 4 Feat for Restoration: Donors Find Unique Ways to Give Back to the Museum




The Cummer Museum is blessed to have so many passionate advocates in our community, including donors, volunteers, and members. This quarter, we are highlighting the great work of longtime supporters who fit into all three categories: Kenyon Merritt and the team at Richard Skinner & Associates. As volunteer fundraisers, both found inspired ways to combine their passion for the Museum with their outside interests in a way that amplified their institutional impact.

Architect Richard Skinner discussing the architectural features of one of the private homes on the Art & Architecture tour

Architect Richard Skinner, Pattie Houlihan, and the rest of his team have been generously volunteering their time and talent to organize the Art & Architecture tour each year since 2009, but 2018 was a record year for the event, raising more than $50,000 for the Museum’s mission-based programming! Featuring a personally guided tour by Richard, with commentary on art by Chief Operating Officer & Chief Curator Holly Keris, the February event invited attendees to visit three beautiful homes in Riverside, Avondale, and Ortega to explore the intersection of architecture, art, and nature.

“Pattie and I have enjoyed our association with the Cummer and support it in every way we can,” Richard said. “The Art and Architecture Tour has engaged patrons and artisans from all over Jacksonville and the beaches, and we are pleased that it has also been an effective fundraiser for the Museum.”

A special thank you to all of the sponsors for this event and the Clarkson and Stein families for generously opening their homes for the tour.

Kristen Zimmerman (left) and Kenyon Merritt (right) following the 2018 Gate River Run

After learning about the destruction of the Museum’s historic gardens during Hurricane Irma, Kenyon Merritt wanted to do something to help support the reconstruction. She decided to run the 2018 Gate River Run, along with Cummer Museum staff member Kristen Zimmerman. Kenyon started a campaign, 4 Feat for Restoration, and asked her friends, family, and colleagues to donate to the Museum in support of her race … and was she ever successful! On March 10, both Kenyon and Kristen crossed the finish line with smiling faces and Kenyon ultimately raised more than $8,000 for garden restoration.

“Post-Irma photos of our devastated gardens [at the Cummer Museum] were nearly unbelievable; the destruction was astonishing,” said Kenyon. “I felt compelled to do something. Running and fundraising intersect in my Venn diagram, ‘my happy place.’ My good friend and Cummer Museum Registrar Kristen Zimmerman and I vowed to train and race the Gate River Run in exchange for contributions supporting garden restoration.”

If you have an idea for something you would like to do to raise money for the Museum’s mission, we would love to hear from you! Guidelines and information on how to submit proposals can be found below.

Third-Party Fundraisers Policy

Third-Party Fundraiser Application

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