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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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7 Reasons Your Teen Should Join the Junior Docent Program

Aug

28

Seven is a cardinal number expressing amount. Seven is a prime number, divisible only by one and itself. Seven is the number of days in a week, the number of major bridges to cross in the city of Jacksonville. It is seven melodic notes to the diatonic scale, and the seven vibrant colors of the rainbow. Seven is ‘Lucky Seven’, a number of completeness, security, safety, and rest.

Seven is the number of years that a student travels from the beginning of the 6th grade to completion of the 12th grade. And seven is the number of years that a student may safely mature and develop creatively, discovering art, gardens, and themselves, make friends, establish contacts, and build relationships with family and community in the Junior Docent Program at the Cummer Museum.

Why should teens participate in the Junior Docent Program? Here are seven reasons:

1. ART EDUCATION: The program enhances each participant’s appreciation of the arts and their ability to communicate that awareness. They learn skills in the practical use of art styles and develop their use of different art mediums.

2. LIFE SKILL DEVELOPMENT: The program offers students learning experiences that promote understanding, confidence, responsibility, and creativity. It employs a variety of art forms and educational processes that promote character building and leadership skills. 

3. COMMUNITY SERVICE: Students will each perform at least 20 hours of service per year for the Museum and the community by volunteering for public programs, exhibition openings, and behind-the-scenes work. In performing these service hours, the students’ participation in special events and programs develops their skills in working with the public and enhances their understanding of the many staff roles at the Museum. Over the years, Junior Docents have impacted thousands of individuals through their service, while learning to focus not only on their own success, but to contribute to their communities in meaningful ways.

4. EXHIBITION DESIGN: Each year a topic is chosen, and the students are guided through the process of creating an exhibition featuring their own artwork and descriptive labels. Students are supplied with the tools they need to research the year’s topic, instructed in an art medium to create their work of art, and given a platform to discuss what they have learned with other students, adults, and the community at large.

5. MULTI-GENERATIONAL LEARNING: Students in the program range in age from 6th to 12th grade, and take on different leadership and team building roles as they progress through the program, including the Teen Council which empowers older participants to guide and develop younger students through mentorship, organizing team efforts, and guiding others. In addition to working with a diverse group of fellow students, they will also learn to speak and work with people of all ages and backgrounds. 

6. SUPPORTS TRADITIONAL EDUCATION: Guided research, visual representation, writing, problem solving, and public presentations all build on the visual, verbal, and written skills students learn in school. Lectures and instruction from Museum staff and guest lecturers dive deep into selected topics and support State and County standards in critical appreciation, research methods, creative expression, and social processes. 

7. A UNIQUE EXPERIENCE: The experiences students will have in this program are truly like no other. The program strives to go beyond the traditional classroom by presenting unique opportunities in the visual arts and the natural world. The goal of the program is to provide an intellectual challenge for the participants, as well as a safe space to express their ideas, make ‘mistakes’, use trial and error, and employ their critical thinking abilities.

August marks the shifting of energies to return to school, and it is the time to apply to become a Junior Docent. Starting in September and continuing through April, Junior Docents attend regular meetings on Tuesday nights at the Museum. The program is open to all interested students in the 6th through 12th grades.

For more information, please contact Juniordocents@cummermuseum.org.

The Junior Docent Program is funded through a Lifelong Learning Initiative grant from the Woodcock Foundation for the Appreciation of the Arts and by Wells Fargo.

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Ink, Silk, and Gold: The Regions

Aug

22

Ink, Silk, and Gold: Islamic Treasures from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, on display through September 3, 2017, features masterpieces of Islamic art spanning centuries, media, and Islamic tradition. The exhibition features more than 50 items and panels of text, giving the viewer an engrossing background on Islamic history. This is part of a series of blogs that will give you context to the items in the exhibitionIslamic art developed within singular regions, widening its scope and nature. The exhibition presents objects from many different regions, including the ones below.

Egypt and Syria

In the cities of Cairo, Aleppo, and Damascus, architecture and art flourished under the patronage of Mamluk rulers (1250 – 1517) made rich by trade. Elaborate lamps, pulpits, and stands holding Qur’an manuscripts were present in mosques and tombs. Many ornate objects made from brass heavily inlaid with silver and copper, were used at court. These objects often carried the titles and emblems of their noble and royal sponsors as patronage of the arts was an important way to assert and reinforce personal status.

 

Spain, Italy, and North Africa

Islamic Spain was linked to southern Italy, the Middle East, and North Africa by a rich, blossoming network of diplomatic, mercantile, and the occasional military relations across the Mediterranean. Some aspects of Islamic culture became a shared heritage among the Muslim, Christian, and Jewish inhabitants of the Iberian Peninsula, as they were continually engaged in economic and political interactions. Silks from al-Andalus are among the products highly valued by the Christians and many ended up in tombs and church treasuries.

Iran and Central Asia

The Ilkhanid dynasty, founded in 1256, ruled Iran, Iraq, and parts of Anatolia and the Caucasus, and lasted until 1335. Another Turkish dynasty, the Timurids, established rule over Iran and Central Asia from the end of the 14th century until 1506. Luster ceramics and inlaid metal work were artistic innovations borne of the Turko-Persian kingdoms. However, the most significant artistic development from that time was the widespread adoption of paper that revolutionized the art of the book.

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Ink, Silk, and Gold: The Great Empires

Aug

15

Ink, Silk, and Gold: Islamic Treasures from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, on display through September 3, 2017, features masterpieces of Islamic art spanning centuries, media, and Islamic tradition. The exhibition features more than 50 items and panels of text, giving the viewer an engrossing background on Islamic history. This is part of a series of blogs that will give you context to the items in the exhibition

From the 16th to the 18th centuries, the Islamic world was ruled by three great empires. Though these empires experienced times of conflict, they were continually engaged in mercantile and diplomatic interactions with one another.

The Safavid Empire

The Safavid dynasty ruled Iran and the surrounding regions from 1501 to 1726. Nearly all members of the Safavid dynasty were financial supporters of workshops featuring skilled artists. Silk textiles produced in the empire were exported to Europe, which led to conflict with the Ottoman Empire, who aimed to control the silk trade. Artists used silk to create carpets with elaborate patterns. The art of the book flourished in the region as more artists began producing single-page drawings and paintings in unique personal styles.

The Ottoman Empire

Although the Ottoman Empire was established at the end of the 13th century, it did not rise to the status of world power until its conquest of Constantinople in 1453, which marked the end of the Byzantine Empire. At its highest point the empire ruled a territory that reached from Budapest to Baghdad and from Tabriz to Tunis, and included the Islamic holy cities of Mecca and Medina. The Ottoman territory was located at the crossroads of trade between Asia and Europe.

The elite supported flourishing textile and ceramic industries, as well as architectural projects. Textiles were featured in Ottoman court culture as banners, wall hangings, floor coverings, and as clothing worn by rulers and courtiers. The town of Iznik, also known by its ancient name Nicaea, produced the ceramics that were abundant in elite circles. These ceramics first appeared as imitations of Chinese porcelains and then later bore distinctive Ottoman motifs and colors.

The Mughal Empire

Based in Kabul, a Mughal ruler conquered India in the early 16th century and his successors soon came to rule nearly all of the subcontinent via military tactics and inclusive policies of administration. The Mughal ruler followed the Sunni branch of Islam and oversaw a kingdom of mostly Hindus for two centuries, which resulted in the fusion of Hindu and Muslim cultures into one unique imperial culture. Extensive contact with Europeans also contributed to the rich culture of the Mughal Empire.

The Mughals were great patrons of the arts of the book, the copying of Persian as well as Hindu texts and creating a style of Persian, pre-Islamic Indian, and European painting illustrations. Important works of art from the Mughal Empire also include floral and figural carpets and textiles used to embellish palaces, and portraits of rulers and the elites of the empire.

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Ink, Silk, and Gold: The Early Centuries

Aug

08

Ink, Silk, and Gold: Islamic Treasures from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, on display through September 3, 2017, features masterpieces of Islamic art spanning centuries, media, and Islamic tradition. The exhibition features more than 50 items and panels of text, giving the viewer an engrossing background on Islamic history. This is part of a series of blogs that will give you context to the items in the exhibition. Ink, Silk, and Gold is named for the materials that make up the exhibition. Each material is significant within the religion.

Early Islamic art is best encapsulated from the 8th to 10th centuries. That span of time was rife with great political shifts and the gradual creation of an artistic tradition unique to Islamic communities. When the Muslim state conquered the culturally sophisticated regions of land that belonged to the Byzantine and Sasanian empires in the 7th century, it absorbed the culture in those regions as well,  helped shape and develop Islamic art.

The most distinctive art form of this period is the illuminated Qur’an manuscript. Though the Qur’an is essentially an artistic piece borne of oral communication, it assumed a material form during the lifetime of Muhammad. These transferred passages, or codices, make up the pages of the Qur’an and over time, the calligraphy on its sacred pages came to be used on everyday objects out of respect to the divine.

The Islamic world began to break off into separate kingdoms. Distinctive artistic traditions began to define Islamic art, even while common artistic elements persisted.

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Ink, Silk, and Gold: The Materials

Aug

01

Ink, Silk, and Gold: Islamic Treasures from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, on display through September 3, 2017, features masterpieces of Islamic art spanning centuries, media, and Islamic tradition. The exhibition features more than 50 items and panels of text, giving the viewer an engrossing background on Islamic history. This is part of a series of blogs that will give you context to the items in the exhibition. Ink, Silk, and Gold is named for the materials that make up the exhibition. Each material is significant within the religion.

Ink defines forms and articulates detail on nearly all Islamic art that takes place on paper. The Qur’an and the Hadith directly connect ink with Creation as Islamic tradition says that first thing God created was the pen. The Hadith refers to sayings attributed to Muhammad and the Qur’an is the collection of Islamic scriptures. In Islamic culture, ink is also associated with morality and intellect, and it is considered a sacred practice to copy scripture from the Qur’an in ink.

Silk weaving was an important Islamic art form as early as the 7th century, when Muslims conquered the Byzantine and Sasanian empires, which were silk-producing regions. They adopted some existing practices regarding silk and shaped new cultural uses, such as khil’at (Arabic for “robe of honor”). The gifting of a silk robe by an Islamic ruler to a visiting head of state or a subject was a way of establishing the balance of power between them.

Gold is universally-known as a desirable material that represents the status of the elite. Islamic art features gold that has been cast to make vessels and jewelry, woven into textiles, inlaid into bronze, and painted onto the pages of manuscripts. Beliefs about the properties and proper uses of gold were present in fashion, finance, the Qur’an, Hadith, and Islamic law. The Qur’an reads that gold will be a common sight for those who are found worthy on the Day of Judgment and will be “adorned with bracelets of gold” and will dine with “dishes and goblets of gold.” It was also believed that excessive use of gold could lead to arrogance and the Qur’an warns against hoarding the precious metal.

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Riyaaz Qawwali Brings South Asian Music Tradition to Northeast Florida

Jul

25

The people of Jacksonville will have a chance to experience the fusion of Islamic tradition and contemporary artistry that is Riyaaz Qawwali this summer. The concert is an extension of Ink, Silk, and Gold: Islamic Treasures from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston that will run until Sunday, September 3.

Riyaaz Qawwali is a talented musical group of South Asian musicians representing an eclectic collection of diverse religious and cultural backgrounds. While the members of Riyaaz Qawwali live in the United States, they are originally from India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan.

What is Qawwali? Qawwali is a Muslim musical tradition that dates back more than seven centuries and is still popular today in certain areas of Bangladesh, Pakistan, and India. A devotional style of music, Qawwali is largely associated with Sufism, an Islamic practice that focuses on personal enlightenment and the actualization of Truth.

Riyaaz Qawwali strives to bring the Qawwali style of music to new places and new audiences, and the unique musical style includes elements not found in other South Asian music. Riyaaz Qawwali takes the style one step further by fusing traditional Qawwali music with the work of well-known South Asian poets. The ensemble’s various religious and ethnic backgrounds send a message of unity and oneness while exposing younger generations across the world to their music.

The concert will be held August 25 from 7 to 9 p.m. Tickets are $30 for members, $40 for non-members, and registration is required to reserve a seat at the show! For further information or to register, please call 904.899.6038 or register online.

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