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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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Selfie. Charcoal pencil on toned paper. NFS

This month the Museum is celebrating the hard work of Bo Smith. Thank you Bo for your dedication to the Museum and many other organizations around Jacksonville. We are so lucky to have you on the Docent Corps team!

CUMMER MUSEUM: Tell us a little about yourself.

BO SMITH: My wife, Ellie, and I have been married for 47 years. We have two grown children and six grandchildren. Our son, a policeman, lives a few doors from us. Our daughter, a nurse, lives in Alabama. I hold a doctorate in wildlife biology, and my career focused mainly on environmental restoration and protection of endangered species. I am most pleased with the 12 years I spent working to restore the Everglades. After I retired I went back to school, UNF, and earned a BFA in Painting and Drawing. (Please look at my work at

CM: Why did you want to be a docent and how long have you been with the Museum?

BS: I wanted to do something with my new BFA and the Cummer seemed like a perfect fit. I have been a docent for at least ten years.

CM: What is your favorite part of this job?

BS: Like most docents, I enjoy being around other docents and the Cummer staff—so that’s part of it. Part is the satisfaction that comes with doing something I feel is worthwhile for the community, and Cummer is certainly a key part of Jacksonville. But mostly I love the feeling I get when I see the spark in the children’s eyes that tells me that I’ve introduced something brand new into their young lives: a world they hadn’t imagined and something they may enjoy forever– the magic of art.

CM: What is your favorite thing to do when you aren’t generously donating your time to the Museum?

BS: Like so many retired folks I have so much to do that I wonder how I ever found time to work and raise a family. Ellie and I travel a lot (a whole lot)—we’re off to Russia tomorrow. I paint and draw regularly; I recently finished my memoir; I spend a lot of time with grandchildren; I mentor young men with the Big Brothers, Big Sisters program; I work out daily; I volunteer at a nursing home; I work hard to master Spanish (and I’m not there yet); I bird watch (to brag, I recently saw my 508th North American species, a gyrfalcon on Hudson Bay); and, like a lot of old birds, I fish. My memoir (Why did God make mosquitoes) is free to anyone who wants it—believe me, I have plenty. Just ask.

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Director of Art Education

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