Art – The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens To engage and inspire through the arts, gardens, and education. Sun, 10 Nov 2019 16:06:57 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Arts4All Recap Tue, 02 Jul 2019 12:47:54 +0000 By Museum Educator Danielle Garcia

Photo by Michael LeGrand

As a new Museum Educator on the team, it was my first time participating in the Arts4All Festival. I was constantly told that even with all our preparation, nothing could truly prepare me for the Festival until I experienced it for myself. This year the Festival ran from April 30 to May 3, and we worked with nearly 1,000 volunteers to serve approximately 1,400 students and 600 teachers from the greater Jacksonville area.

Photo by Michael LeGrand

Once the students arrived at the Museum, they visited different Art Stops throughout the galleries, gardens, and Art Connections, the interactive center. They explored many different art forms, from painting, working with clay, and creating paper collages to dancing, playing with drums, and creating digital masterpieces. “All of the Art Stops made them feel successful,” says Gina M., a teacher at Ridgeview Elementary, commenting on the Festival programming, “My students need many opportunities to interact with others… The Arts4All Festival gave them that opportunity in a highly motivating way.”

Photo by Michael LeGrand

With the help of so many wonderful volunteers, we finished the week with flying colors! Jose P., one of the volunteers, reflected on his experience and shared, “I really enjoy seeing the kids so excited and engaged in their art projects. I believe that the experience helps them grow socially, artistically, and personally. I hope to contribute smiles, encouragement, and positivity for the kids and to assist staff in making the Festival successful.”

Photo by Michael LeGrand

In the months leading up to the Festival, I went on numerous visits to different schools through the Museum Access for Kids, Florida School for the Deaf and Blind’s Blind Ambition Art Club, and Arts4All outreach programs. To get them excited about their field trip to the Museum, we created nametags with fun, multi-colored yarn and markers. Seeing all of their smiling faces again at the Museum, wearing the nametags we designed together, greeting me with “Hey, I remember you! You visited us!” and giving me big group hugs was worth every effort to put on this amazing experience for them that I know they’ll remember for a long time.

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On the Road: ‘Return from the Harvest’ Tours the Country Wed, 10 Apr 2019 19:46:55 +0000 Written by Registrar Kristen Zimmerman

William-Adolphe Bouguereau (French, 1825 – 1905), ‘Return from the Harvest’, 1878, oil on canvas, 95 x 67 in., Purchased with funds from Membership Contributions, AP.1964.2.1.

One of the Cummer Museum’s largest, heaviest, and most important paintings, which has not left the walls of the Museum since 1995, is now on a three-venue tour as part of a major exhibition, Bouguereau & America. The painting, William-Adolphe Bouguereau, Return from the Harvest, c. 1878, will travel to the Milwaukee Art Museum, Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, and the San Diego Museum of Art through January 2020. The Milwaukee Museum of Art has put together an interactive website to map the provenance of the works included in the exhibition.

The Museum has a rigorous and thoughtful process when it comes to lending works of art to other Museums and institutions. Our Curatorial team must consider the safety of the artwork, the thesis and scholarly merit of the exhibition, and whether the borrowing institutions are accredited by the American Alliance of Museums or are museums with which we have established relationships.  While the decision to participate in an exhibition is not one that is made lightly, it can often further the research on the work of art and provides the opportunity for audiences around the country to have access to a piece they would not otherwise experience.

The painting being placed into the travel frame, where it will be secured.

Bouguereau & America explores Bouguereau’s popularity in the United States during the late 1800s and the desire of serious collectors to add his work to their growing collections. Return from the Harvest was commissioned by Alexander T. Stewart in 1874. Stewart was a self-made millionaire of the Gilded Age and is very typical of the type of patron for whom the artist painted. In addition to these commonalities, Return from the Harvest illustrates the remarkable ability Bouguereau had in adapting the work of Italian Renaissance artists into more modern concepts. Here, Bouguereau depicts a scene that can at once be seen as having themes that are both distinctly Christian and distinctly pagan. If not for the title, it would be easy to wrongly assume the subjects to be that of Virgin and Child. All of these factors make our painting a crucial component to the exhibition’s thesis.

The painting, now secured in its travel frame, will be placed inside a larger wood crate for transport.

Of the 50 paintings in the exhibition, our piece is the second largest, coming in at a stifling 10 x 7 ½ ft. One of the most daunting challenges with lending a work of this scale is to ensure the painting is packed and transported safely to each venue. Simply to remove the painting safely from the wall takes a team of six art handlers. Due to the weight and ornate style of the frame, the painting is then secured into a travel frame before being placed in the outer crate. Each time the piece is moved, the Museum sends a courier from its Curatorial team to oversee the removal from the wall, packing, transportation, unpacking, inspection, and re-installation at each venue. Prior to the piece being hung on the wall at a new venue, a conservator must inspect the piece thoroughly to review its condition, check for damage, and note any changes since the last time it was inspected.

Onto the truck it goes. Bye bye Bouguereau!


Over the coming year, Return from the Harvest will make its way across the country and back home to the Cummer Museum. If you happen to be traveling to Milwaukee, Memphis, or San Diego, stop in to view the exhibition, learn more about William-Adolphe Bouguereau’s impact on the art world, and visit with a familiar work of art from home.

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New Name, Same Incredible Program! Tue, 09 Apr 2019 12:45:26 +0000 Written by Museum Educator Mary McBride

Arts4All, formerly the VSA Festival, originally launched in 1995. The Museum’s annual festival, underwent a name change this year to align with Florida’s leading arts access organization, Arts4All Florida, formerly VSA of Florida. Developed in alignment with the guiding principles of VSA, the International Organization on Arts and Disability, part of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Cummer Museum’s Arts4All Festival has become a national model, receiving consistent local and national recognition in its field.

The annual Arts4All Festival at the Museum, presented by Citi, invites students with different abilities from the greater Jacksonville area to visit the Museum to experience art through all of their senses. Over the course of four days, nearly 1,600 children and 700 teachers and chaperones from three counties will visit the Museum to experience art-making, movement, and music throughout the campus. In addition to Museum staff, nearly 1,200 volunteers will fill the Museum to lead groups through the Museum and provide one-on-one interactions with students.

In the galleries, gardens, and studios, students are able to express themselves creatively through hands-on art-making, music, and movement, themes that have been at the heart of the Festival since it began. Unique to the Cummer Museum, art-making activities are not just for the studios, but take place directly in the galleries surrounded by original works of art, as well as the Museum’s historic gardens. Musical storyteller Ajamu Mutima and multi-instrumentalist Arvid Smith use music as a powerful tool to engage and inspire children at the Festival. They create unique interactive musical experiences, inviting visiting students to get involved in the performance by dancing, clapping, singing, and trying out the instruments. Students are also given time to independently explore the Museum’s interactive area, where they can create art, handle art reproductions, dance, and play at their own pace.

The event allows each student to participate in the creative process and to demonstrate their own artistic abilities. Teachers from last year’s Festival said:

“This experience was good for student self-esteem. When they saw some of the projects, their first reaction was, ‘I can’t do that.’ But as they started to work and realized that there was no wrong way to do it, they really enjoyed the activities. They were so proud of their work. The activities help establish a sense of accomplishment, which definitely translates into learning in all areas.”

“Some of our students have never been to the museum. Having the opportunity to expose children to this incredible art, cultural, social experience is great for their self-esteem. The museum staff and volunteers do an incredible job of making the students feel successful, special, and acknowledged. They are so encouraging and supportive of each student’s effort. This has such a positive impact on the student’s self-esteem.”

“My students truly enjoyed their experience at the Festival. They loved the interactive, hands-on activities. I believe it helped them with their knowledge of what they can do on their own as well as brought out the creativity in them.”

The 24th annual Arts4All Festival at the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens will take place Tuesday, April 30 through Friday, May 3, 2019. If you are interested in supporting the program, please contact Hannah Oberholtzer at 904.899.6028. The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens would not be the vibrant civic and cultural resource it is without the philanthropic support of our community. It is only through this generosity that the Museum is able to fulfill its mission to engage and inspire through the arts, gardens, and education.

The 2019 Arts4All Festival at the Cummer Museum is presented by:

Festival Champions:
Chartrand Family Fund
DuBow Family Foundation
Next Generation Foundation
Duval Motor Company
Jersey Mike’s Subs
Red Coat Grant – The PLAYERS Championship
SABEL Foundation

Friends of the Festival:
Acentria Insurance
Ally Financial
Arts4All Florida
Coordinated Benefits Group
Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville
Director’s Circle at the Cummer Museum
Duval County Public Schools
Pam and Jake Ingram

Italian Art Lecture Series Tue, 26 Mar 2019 16:26:44 +0000 Written by Membership Officer Brittany Nazario

This past year, both Cummer Beaches and Cummer Amelia collaborated with local organizations to present a three-part lecture series on Italian Art. Cummer Beaches was first to host the series in September, October, and November of 2018. The series was in partnership with the Beaches Museum, who hosted the lectures in their historic Chapel. Cummer Amelia followed with the same series on Italian art in January, February, and March of 2019. The series was hosted by the Fernandina Beach Branch Library. Each lecture filled to capacity and were thoroughly enjoyed by all who attended.

Dr. Debra Murphy, University of North Florida

The Professor of Art History at the University of North Florida, Dr. Debra Murphy, presented the lecture series. She has been the inaugural chair of the Department of Art and Design at UNF since 2004. She has been recognized for outstanding teaching by UNF, the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville, and the Southeastern College Art Conference. She has also been honored by the university for her founding of the department’s Italy program, which recently celebrated its tenth year. Dr. Murphy has long been a member of the Cummer Museum and has written a book on its early director, Joseph Jeffers Dodge. She has also written on the Museum’s The Holy Family, attributed to Giorgio Vasari.

In part one of the lecture series, “Florence: The Cradle of the Renaissance”, Dr. Murphy explored one of the most spectacular flowerings of creativity in the history of art against the background of such titans as Donatello, Ghiberti, Brunelleschi, Michelangelo, and Raphael. Renaissance works from the Museum’s collection such as the Madonna of Humility with Angels by Agnolo Gaddi, the Portrait of Bartolomeo Compagni, by Pier Francesco Foschi and The Holy Family by Giorgio Vasari were examined in the broader context of Florentine art.

“Rome as a Center for the Arts” was the title of the second lecture in the series. This presentation focused on the Eternal City as a source of opportunity and patronage for artists such Michelangelo, Raphael, Bernini, and countless others. The central role of Rome as an artistic and training hub was sustained by the presence of wealthy merchants, bankers, ecclesiastic figures and, of course, the Church. Artists from all corners of Europe, and later the United States, from the 15th century forward, flocked to the Italian city. Works from the Museum’s collection offer many examples, including paintings by Claude Lorrain and Charles-Joseph Natoire, which Dr. Murphy highlighted during the discussion.

“Caravaggio and the Drama of Baroque Art” culminated the three-part series. Although he died in 1610, Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, the bad boy of Baroque art, cast a long shadow over most of the 17th century. Numerous artists were influenced by him while others rejected his dramatic and realistic approach. Dr. Murphy showed selections from the Cummer’s impressive Baroque collection, including an early work by Peter Paul Rubens, which were discussed in the context of Caravaggio’s contributions and challenges to artistic norms.

The Cummer Museum’s Affinity Groups offer members unique opportunities to become more involved in the Museum by exploring their own passions. Each Affinity Group has its own board and special events, which support the mission of the Museum. Cummer Amelia is an organization for Nassau county residents devoted to encouraging interest in and support for the artistic and cultural significance of the Museum. The purpose of Cummer Beaches is to support the Museum and enhance the membership experience for Beaches-area residents. Cummer Beaches provides significant financial and volunteer support to the Museum, promoting education programs for both youth and adults, and creating a variety of fun events for its members.

For more information on the Cummer Museum’s Affinity Groups please visit our website. We hope to see you at the next lecture series!

#5WomenArtists – Elizabeth Catlett Thu, 21 Mar 2019 16:00:28 +0000  

Elizabeth Catlett, 1986 (photograph by Fern Logan), Photo from Wikipedia

Elizabeth Catlett (1915 – 2012) was a teacher and a successful artist. She graduated cum laude from Howard University in 1935. Catlett had not originally planned on going to Howard because she won a scholarship to the Carnegie Institute of Technology in Pittsburgh. After the college found out she was black, however, the university denied her the chance to enroll.

She focused her art on the continuous struggle for equality, Black people, and women. Catlett worked with clay, wood, and stone for her sculptures, as well as creating woodcuts and linocuts. Her work was inspired by her firsthand experience of the segregation between ethnic groups. Catlett focused on depicting African American women as strong, maternal figures.

Elizabeth Catlett (American, 1915-2012) ‘Seated Woman’, c. 1961-1971, bronze, On loan from The Thomas H. and Diane DeMell Jacobsen Ph.D. Foundation, L.2016.3.1.

An accomplished sculptor and printmaker, Elizabeth Catlett remains one of the leading African American political artists of her generation. Beginning in the 1940s, she created several sculptural representations of seated women and she returned to this theme repeatedly throughout her career. With the extraneous details eliminated, even her smaller figures are imbued with a feeling of dignity and monumentality.

#5WomenArtists – Selma Burke Tue, 19 Mar 2019 18:51:42 +0000

Selma Burke, (1900-1995), Mary McLeod Bethune, 1946, white metal with gold paint, 7 3/4 x 5 x 4 1/4 in., Collection of Arthur Primas, Courtesy of Connor Rosenkranz, NY. © Photo Mark Ostrander.


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

Burke with her portrait bust of
Booker T. Washington, c. 1935, Photo from Wikipedia

Selma Burke, influenced by Augusta Savage, combined sculpture-making, education, and community engagement into her artistic practice. Burke, like both Savage and the sitter for this portrait educator Mary McLeod Bethune (1875 – 1955), established educational centers: one in New York and one in Pittsburgh.

In 1904, Bethune founded the Daytona Literary and Industrial Training School for Girls, now Bethune-Cookman University. Bethune said “Whatever glory belongs to the race for a development unprecedented in history for the given length of time, a full share belongs to the womanhood of the race.”

If you carry loose change or have a change jar at home, you have a Selma Burke portrait: Burke’s portrait of Franklin Delano Roosevelt is on the United States dime.

#5WomenArtists – Augusta Savage Mon, 18 Mar 2019 13:18:25 +0000 WRITTEN BY MARKETING INTERN SHANNON MCFADDEN

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.

#5WomenArtists – Njideka Akunyili Crosby Fri, 08 Mar 2019 14:00:55 +0000  

Artist Njideka Akunyili Crosby (Photo by Paul Smith), From

Njideka Akunyili Crosby (b. 1983) was born in Nigeria, where she lived until she was sixteen. She moved to the United States in 1999 and currently resides in Los Angeles, California. Crosby is known for creating layered figurative compositions that draw from art historical, political, and personal references.

Njideka Akunyili Crosby has earned the Joyce Alexander Wein Artist Prize and the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s James Dicke Contemporary Artist Prize, among others. She was also named a MacArthur Fellow for “visualizing the complexities of globalization and transnational identity.”

Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Nigerian (b. 1983), ‘I Refuse to be Invisible’, 2010, Ink, charcoal, acrylic, and transfer paper, Art Bridges, L.2018.1.1

I Refuse to be Invisible (2010) is currently on view at the Cummer Museum through a loan from the Art Bridges Program. In this large scale work, Crosby creates a composition that appears as a view into everyday life but subtly draws together her own personal experiences of navigating life as an African in America and the struggles faced by many trying to find their place in the modern world.

The piece illustrates a couple dancing while embracing each other closely. The man is looking at the woman, while she is looking directly at the viewer. Crosby stated that she styled the woman in the painting to not immediately stand out, encouraging the viewer to come closer and look harder in order to really see her.

Garden Concert – HEAR in NOW Thu, 07 Mar 2019 19:02:13 +0000

Sat, Mar 9 | Doors open at 6 p.m., Concert from 7 to 9 p.m. | Members $20, Non-Members $25, Reserved table with seating for 10 $400

In partnership with Avant Arts, join us for a concert with HEAR in NOW is a world-class collective is a string trio that composes and improvises fluidly among free jazz and contemporary classical, folk music, and avant-garde. Be prepared to be engaged by their signature weaving of song, melody, and improvisation in a rich, unique, and diverse musical experience that speaks directly to your soul. Expect to be transported.

HEAR in NOW is a collaborative trio performing primarily original jazz-tinged avant-classical compositions. First brought together in the winter of 2009 by an Italian concert promoter for the WomaJazz festival in Salsomaggiore Terme, Italy, the trio, feeling a great sense of musical chemistry, have since kept the momentum going. Residing in three separate locales, the women of HEAR in NOW bring together elements from their individual regions for a unique sound experience by exploring free improvisation along with through-composed pieces.

HEAR in NOW is comprised of Mazz Swift (New York City) on violin/vocals, Silvia Bolognesi (Siena, Italy) on doublebass and Tomeka Reid (Chicago) on cello. As individuals all three are active performers in the international music scene, having performed and/or recorded with William Parker, Anthony Braxton, George Lewis, Nicole Mitchell, Butch Morris, Vernon Reid, Burnt Sugar and Members of the Black Rock Coalition, Enrico Rava, Keiko Bondjeson and the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians.

The Garden Concert series takes place in the beautiful and historic Cummer Gardens overlooking the St. Johns River. Guests are invited to bring chairs, picnics, and beverages to enjoy an evening of music under the stars. Reservations are required. See the following for further information. For further information or to register, please call 904.899.6038.

#5WomenArtists – Gwendolyn Knight Fri, 01 Mar 2019 14:00:49 +0000 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.”