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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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Talks & Tea: Afternoons at the Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens



Talks & Tea offers opportunities for both social and mental connections to the artwork at the Museum, combined with delicious refreshments in a comfortable setting. Once a month, an art historian, artist, or other expert facilitates informational and educational discussions on a variety of topics related to the Museum’s Permanent Collection and special exhibitions. This daytime program is perfect for seniors, lifelong learners, and anyone with an interest in art. The program gives those with a passion for art and learning the opportunity to not only delve into a topic more deeply, but to engage in lively discussions and build relationships. A recent survey participant commented that the Museum does a “nice job of selecting interesting stories to illustrate the artist’s life and influence.” Another said the “lecture was great. I’m looking forward to exploring the exhibit more fully, many times!” After the lecture, enjoy a cup of tea and a plate of cookies and share your impressions with new friends. What’s more fun than bonding over similar interests and a decadent treat?

Talks & Tea is $6 for both Members and Non-Members, but space is limited so please register here or call 904.899.6038. Below is the schedule for the year to come. We hope to see you there! 

This program is made possible through support by The Woodcock Foundation for the Appreciation of the Arts, Inc., National Endowment for the Humanities, The Director’s Circle at the Cummer Museum, the City of Jacksonville, and the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville, Inc. If available, transportation funds enable groups from assisted living facilities who have expressed an interest in the arts to attend.


***Talks & Tea will not be offered in January, July, and August 2017***

October 20 – LIFT

Come enjoy tea and a sweet treat while learning about how the idea for LIFT: Contemporary Expressions of the African American Experience was inspired by the lyrics of “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing” written by the Jacksonville native, Johnson brothers in 1900. From conception to implementation, discover how artists created works that present their views on the complex issue of race relations in contemporary times.

November 16 – Folk Couture

Sip a cup of tea as Chief Operating Officer & Chief Curator Holly Keris speaks about Folk Couture: Fashion and Folk Art. Fashion has always been inspired by unconventional sources and this idea was the concept for Folk Couture. Thirteen established and emerging clothing designers were challenged to create one-of-a-kind ensembles inspired by folk art masterpieces that are part of the American Folk Art Museum’s permanent collection.

December 14 – David Ponsler

Enjoy an insightful talk in the Sculpture Garden by featured local artist and blacksmith David Ponsler. Have some tea and cookies while he offers an in-depth look at his art. Among some of his most known works are the archway at Stockton Park in Ortega and the spiral staircase he created for the Kickbacks Gastropub expansion in Riverside.

February 15 – Academic Splendor

The Dahesh Museum of Art is the only institution in the U.S. that is devoted to collecting and exhibiting European academic art of the 19th century. Associate Curator Nelda Damiano will talk about the collection which features paintings and sculptures by artists trained in the academies and private ateliers of France and other countries. Over a cup of tea learn more about theses Masterworks and the artists who  created them.

March 15 – Constance Spry- The Woman Who Made Flower Arranging an Art

Director of Education Lynn Norris will discuss the journey of Constance Spry and the rise of floral arranging as an art form. She pioneered the country house style of flower arranging and laid the foundation for the style of arrangements in the Cummer Museum’s foyer. Enjoy a cup of tea and a treat while learning about her influence in the field of modern flower arranging.

April 19 – Heroes and Battlefields: World War I Prints by James McBey

Enjoy tea and a sweet treat as Associate Curator Nelda Damiano talks about these historic prints and the war artist who created them.

May 24 – An American in Venice: James McNeill Whistler and His Legacy

In 1879 the American artist arrived in Italy with a commision from the Fine Arts Society of London to create 12 etchings of Venice. He sought to capture a “Venice of the Venetians” and his works depict palazzos and canals more than Venice’s famous landmarks. His prints have become the most studied in history, right after Rembrandt. Whistler’s work has influenced a broad range of artists and deeply impacted his medium. As you sip a cup of tea, Associate Curator Nelda Damiano will discuss his lasting legacy.

June 14 – Ink, Silk, and Gold: Islamic treasures from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Islamic art’s meaning is derived from the material it is made from. This exhibition introduces viewers to the complex artistic traditions of the Islamic world. Enjoy tea and a treat while learning more about how an object’s color, shape, and texture all play a role in expressing that meaning.

September 13 – A Collector’s Eye: Celebrating Joseph Jeffers Dodge

Dodge was Director of the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens from 1962-1972. He not only made significant acquisitions for the Museum, but contributed to it as well. Dodge was a still life painter, heavily influenced by jazz musician Duke Ellington, and he played an important role in the cultural circle of Jacksonville.


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