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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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Search results for project augusta savage

#5WomenArtists – Augusta Savage


Augusta Savage became a gifted sculptor, significant teacher, leader, and catalyst for change. Overcoming poverty, racism, and sexual discrimination, Savage became one of this country’s most influential artists of the 20th century, playing an instrumental role in the development of some of the most celebrated African American artists. A prodigious and highly acclaimed artist in her own right, Augusta Savage created works that elevated images of Black culture into mainstream America. A central figure in the Harlem Renaissance, she worked with other leaders, writers, musicians, and artists to showcase the contributions of African American culture. As a community organizer and teacher, Savage created a bridge between the first generation of Harlem Renaissance artists and subsequent generations of artists.

Augusta Savage at work on Lift Every Voice and Sing (The Harp), 1935-1945, New York World’s Fair (1939-1940). Photographs and Prints Division, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, The New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundations.

Augusta Savage was born to Cornelia Murphy and Edward Fells on February 29, 1892, in Green Cove Springs, Florida. In 1921, Savage moved from Jacksonville, Florida to New York City to further her artistic skills and was admitted to the School of Art at Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art. Like many Black artists of her time, Savage traveled to Paris to study er craft. After her return to New York, she opened her Harlem studio to the public, offering free art education and mentoring to a number of master artists. Because of the success of her studio and dedication to art education, the Federal Art Project of the Works Progress Administration invited Savage to open the Harlem Community Arts Center, which would serve as a model for art centers opening across the nation during the Depression. Shortly after opening the center, Savage participated in the 1939 New York World’s Fair and created her masterpiece Lift Every Voice and Sing (The Harp). After the critical success of her workin the fair, she opened a gallery, the Salon of Contemporary Negro Art, which was the first gallery in the nation to exhibit Black artists. After the closure of the Salon, she went back to teaching and moved to Saugerties, New York. She died of cancer in 1962.

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Happy Birthday, Augusta Savage!

Augusta Savage and The Diving Boy, c. 1939

One of our great African American female artists represented in The Cummer’s collection is Augusta Savage.  You may have seen her work when visiting the current Cummer Legacy exhibit, but did you know that she is a native of northeast Florida? She was born February 29,1892 (leap year!) in Green Cove Springs.  At an early age, she fell in love with sculpting when she used clay she found in the ground to create small animals.

With the encouragement of one of her teachers, she followed her passion to become a professional sculptor working in Jacksonville and then moving north to Harlem in New York. There she was able to go to art school at Cooper Union and became known as a prominent portrait sculptor. Busts of W.E.B. DuBois, James Weldon Johnson and Marcus Garvey are attributed to her. Her rise in talent and popularity made her one of the first visual artists associated with the Harlem Renaissance. Her work led her to study in Paris for a few years.

Augusta Savage, American, The Diving Boy, c. 1939, Bronze, 32 1/2″

Excited by her own work, Savage wanted to pass on her passion for art to the greater Harlem community. Upon returning to New York after her studies in Paris, she opened the Savage Studio of Arts and Crafts which evolved into the Harlem Community Arts Center. Many well known African American artists started there including Jacob Lawrence and William Artis.  She even set aside much of her own work as a sculptor to teach young people.

The Cummer Museum is lucky to have The Diving Boy in Bronze because many of Savage’s work was not cast and therefore has not lasted through the years. Mrs. Cummer acquired this piece in 1939 for her garden where it sat looking over a reflecting pool in the Italian garden.

As an artist, teacher and activist she said, “If I can inspire one of these youngsters to develop the talent I know they possess, then my monument will be in their work.” The Cummer honors her life’s work with the naming of one of our community programs, Project Augusta Savage, where we teach art in two urban Catholic schools and bring the students to the museum multiple times per year to study our collection and garden. We hope that Savage’s passion for the arts lives on in these young students.

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2012 Annual Appeal: How You Support The Cummer

The Cummer would appreciate your support in fulfilling its mission of engaging and inspiring through the arts, gardens and education. Your financial support through a 100% tax-deductible donation, whether $50 or $5,000, will help us stay true to our mission. Below are specific ways your contribution can make a difference:

Art: Your donation to The Cummer will help continue to conserve, display and interpret our growing permanent collection of nearly 5,000 works of art.

Gardens: Your contribution will help our upcoming efforts to resort the Olmsted Garden. A generous donor has already agreed to match up to$200,000 in donations. With your gift, we will be able to reach this goal and add-on to our magnificent gardens.

Photo by Ingrid Damiani

Education: Your support will help provide school children with access to the Museum through Cummer in the Classroom, our outreach program that supports over 4,000 children in the urban core.

Thank you for your continued support to The Cummer!


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#5WomenArtists – Gwendolyn Knight

Written by Guest Curator Jeffreen M. Hayes, Ph.D.

Photo from Wikipedia

Artist Gwendolyn Knight (1913 – 2005) was born in Barbados and grew up in New York. She attended Howard University where she studied with painter Loïs Mailou Jones (1905 – 1998). Knight had to leave school when the Great Depression hit. When she returned to New York, she studied with Augusta Savage, taught in Savage’s studio, and developed a friendship with the sculptor. Savage’s bronze portrait of Knight is a beautiful rendering of the young artist. Fellow artist Jacob Lawrence (1917 – 2000), Knight’s husband, who she met at Savage’s studio, said of the work, “I think of all of Augusta’s work this is surely one of the most resolved pieces plastically.”

painting of a coastal road in Barbados by artist Gwendolyn Knight

Gwendolyn Knight (1913-2005), Untitled (Barbados), 1945, oil on canvas board, 24 x 20 in., Courtesy of DC Moore Gallery, New York, The Jacob Lawrence and Gwendolyn Lawrence Foundation.

Gwendolyn Knight studied with Augusta Savage in Harlem during the mid-1930s. Through Savage, Knight received opportunities to work on the WPA Federal Art Project murals with Charles Alston and teach at the Harlem Community Art Center.

In 1934, Knight met her husband, Jacob Lawrence, at Alston’s “306” studio and they wed in 1941. Though she did not exhibit as frequently as Lawrence, Knight engaged in the cultural community of Seattle, where Lawrence received a tenure position at the University of Washington.

The relationship between Knight and Savage was a strong one: Knight said of her mentor, “By looking at her, I understood that I could be an artist if I wanted to be.”

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Martin Luther King, Jr. Day at the Cummer Museum

The Cummer Museum will hold a special Martin Luther King, Jr. Day event on Monday, January 21, 2019. The event features art engagement and special commemorations from 12 to 6 p.m. with free admission for all. Free admission is made possible through grants and sponsorships from The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida, JAX Chamber, JEA, and the United Way of Northeast Florida.

Jacksonville artist MJbaker will perform at the Museum on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Special programs include art-making activities, live music by MJbaker, and trolley transportation between the Cummer Museum and the Ritz Theatre and Museum (noon to 5 p.m.). An Ecumenical Prayer for Peace organized by OneJax will be held at 3 p.m. in the gardens. The Cummer Café will be open from noon to 5 p.m., and reservations are suggested.

Visitors will also help create a special collaborative “Art Peace” to be shown in the Cummer Museum. Participants will use watercolor resist and paper folding techniques to create quilt squares and paper chains with messages of peace and unity. Visitor artwork will be combined to create a larger display. Guests can participate in this collaborative art-making project at both the Cummer Museum and the Ritz Theatre and Museum.

“It is part of our commitment to our community to provide opportunities for engagement and reflection on this important day,” said the Cummer Museum’s George W. and Kathleen I. Gibbs Director & Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Adam Levine. “The Cummer Museum is committed to being an inclusive arts and culture institution, and we plan to continue to celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legacy of peace beyond this single day.”

Photo by Debra Haskin

While at the Cummer Museum, guests can also experience Augusta Savage: Renaissance Woman, the groundbreaking exhibition featuring the story and artwork of Augusta Savage, a Green Cove Springs native who became an accomplished sculptor and is widely considered a core figure in the Harlem Renaissance. Savage faced racism, sexism, and discrimination throughout her life, which hampered her commercial pursuits. Augusta Savage: Renaissance Woman is the largest exhibition ever organized by the Museum and the most comprehensive exhibition highlighting Savage’s unique story.

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Inspiration Through Local History


Photo by Dennis Ho

The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens and Duval County Public Schools (DCPS) are pleased to announce that Duval County fourth-grade students enrolled at Title I schools have been selected to attend a free school tour of Augusta Savage: Renaissance Woman. DCPS is providing funding for bus transportation (via the Title IV, Part A Student Support and Academic Enrichment grant). Special thanks to the Cummer Museum, DCPS, and local sponsors for making this opportunity available to participating fourth-grade classrooms in Jacksonville’s public schools.

Photo by Dennis Ho

For more than 20 years, the Cummer Museum has been a leader in arts integration incorporating art, language arts, social studies, science, and mathematics into its tours. Augusta Savage: Renaissance Woman, curated by Jeffreen M. Hayes, Ph.D., has brought national attention to a local heroine, whose work as an artist, teacher, mentor, and activist richly represents North Florida history, the Harlem Renaissance, and women artists. This exhibition is a must-see for every member of the community, and we are pleased to partner with DCPS Superintendent Dr. Diana L. Greene to bring local fourth-graders to the Museum.

Photo by Dennis Ho

Fourth-grade curriculum focuses on local and state history. With Augusta Savage’s close ties to Northeast Florida – as a young girl growing up in Green Cove Springs, and as a young woman living in Jacksonville for a short time before moving to Harlem in the height of the Harlem Renaissance – this exhibition inspires students and teachers through the contributions of an important artist from their region. During their tour experience, students will learn about Augusta Savage’s early life in Northeast Florida, look closely at her artwork, and discover the role she played in the Harlem Renaissance movement as a teacher, mentor, and activist. In the studio, students will become sculptors and create their own three-dimensional works of art just as Savage did. Whether students have grown up in Northeast Florida or have only lived here for a short while, this experience will reinforce the fact that people just like them can make a positive impact on the world. The Museum is excited to welcome participating DCPS fourth-grade classrooms and invites schools from throughout the region to plan a visit to the Cummer Museum to experience the artistic, social, and historic impact of Augusta Savage through original works of art.

Photo by Dennis Ho

Augusta Savage School Tour Sponsors: Mrs. Helen Beedy and Mr. Greg Beedy; Ms. Caroline O. Brinton; Randy and Allison DeFoor; Dr. Anne Egan and Mr. George Egan; Ms. Elizabeth Exley; Ms. Janice W. Hall; Mr. Noah Henderson; Ms. Anna Henry; Mrs. Ann C. Hicks; Mr. Alden Howell; Mr. Thomas Larson and Ms. Janine K. Leland; The Law Offices of James F. Waters III P.A.; Mr. Gary Metzner; Ms. Pamela Y. Paul; Mr. and Mrs. Gilbert J. Pomar, Jr.; Mr. Joseph Porter and Mr. Carter Elliott; Mr. and Mrs. Edward Pratt-Dannals; Stephanie and Tom Welchans

Augusta Savage Exhibition Planning and Community Advisory Committee: Carol Alexander; Dustin Harewood; Barbara Harrell; Marty Jones; Princess Simpson Rashid; James Richardson; Adonnica Toler

Augusta Savage Host Committee (to date): Mr. and Mrs. Thompson Baker, III; Sally F. Baldwin; Caroline O. Brinton; Susan and Hugh Greene; Mr. and Mrs. William Harrell; John & Jan Hirabayashi; Mr. Hank Holbrook and Mrs. Pam D. Paul; Peter and Kiki Karpen; John and Nancy Kennedy; The Law Offices of James F. Waters, III, P.A.; Velma Monteiro-Tribble; Rick and Amy Morales; Kitty and Phil Phillips; James Richardson and Sandra Hull-Richardson; Sharón Simmons and Shirley Webb; Nina and Lex Waters; Dr. and Mrs. H. Warner Webb; Mr. and Mrs. Charles B. Zimmerman

Exhibition Season Presenters: Ameris Bank; City of Jacksonville; Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville, Inc.; Robert D. and Isabelle T. Davis Endowment at The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida; The Director’s Circle at the Cummer Museum; The Schultz Family Endowment

Sponsors: Charmaine T.W. Chiu and Ernest Y. Koe; Dr. Elizabeth Colledge; Cynthia G. Edelman Family Fund; The Hicks Foundation; Bob and Monica Jacoby; Dick and Marty Jones; Trisha Meili and Jim Schwarz; Michael Munz; NEA Art Works; Van and Sandra Royal; Mr. Ryan A. Schwartz; Allan Schwartzman; Sotheby’s Prize; Carl S. Swisher Foundation, Inc.; State of Florida; Wells Fargo

Community Partners: Avant Arts; City of Green Cove Springs; GENERATION W; Jacksonville Public Library; JAX Chamber; Leadership Jacksonville; Museum of Science & History; OneJax; Ritz Theatre and Museum; Special Project Partners; TEDx Jacksonville; University of North Florida Center of Urban Education and Policy; University of North Florida Department of Art and Design; Women of Color Cultural Foundation; Women’s Giving Alliance

In-Kind Sponsors: Agility Press, Inc.; DoubleTree Jacksonville Riverfront; The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York Public Library; Wingard

With Publication Support From: Henry Luce Foundation

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