A special announcement from the Chair of the Board of Trustees Ryan A. Schwartz and Director Hope McMath:
We are writing to you today as a member of the Cummer Museum family, to give you an update on the Museum’s future plans that continue to build on the recent expansion of community outreach, accessibility for all, quality public programming, and campus improvements.
This exciting plan includes the creation of a Garden Greenhouse and Learning Center, the renovation of Art Connections, the creation of additional galleries, and development of several dedicated staffing, program, maintenance and campus endowments to ensure long-term sustainability. As part of this vision, the former Woman’s Club building, located at the south end of the campus, was intended to be the place where public programming and events would take place, providing a center for arts and cultural initiatives for the entire community.
However, we are deeply disappointed to report that the Woman’s Club building has fallen victim to a major infestation of Formosan termites, which are a super-species pest that has been reported in other parts of Florida and now has been identified in infestations here in Jacksonville.
After working for months to consult with experts in the fields of both science and construction-related disciplines, and with careful consideration, the Board of Trustees passed a motion stating that the Board has “deemed the building formerly known as the Woman’s Club unsuitable for future utilization due to an infestation of wood-destroying Formosan termites. The treatment for such infestation has been determined to be unprecedented, unreliable, and cost-prohibitive, and therefore not in the best interest of creating and maintaining long-term, sustainable assets for the institution.”
However, a team will begin working immediately on the design of and fundraising for a new building, which will be able to advance the Museum’s goals and further its mission of engaging and inspiring through arts, gardens and education.
Many of our major donors to the original Woman’s Club project immediately embraced the idea of a new building once they realized the existing building could not be saved, and several donors have also come forward with additional pledges of support.
We look forward to seeing you in the Museum soon and will be happy to answer any questions you may have about the growing excitement over the prospect of a more beautiful, more artful, more accessible, more activated, and more sustainable Cummer Museum.
Many thanks, as always, for your continued interest and ongoing support.