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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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#5WomenArtists – Elizabeth Catlett




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.

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#5WomenArtists – Selma Burke



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.

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‘Augusta Savage: Renaissance Woman’ Closing Celebration



Augusta Savage: Renaissance Woman will end its double-run at the Museum on Sunday, April 7. The groundbreaking exhibition curated by the Cummer Museum and guest curator Jeffreen Hayes, Ph.D. will then travel nationally to the New-York Historical Society, the Palmer Museum of Art at Pennsylvania State University, and the Dixon Gallery & Gardens in Memphis.

On Saturday, April 6 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., join us for a free, family-friendly, closing celebration with live music, a lecture and book signing with New York Times bestselling Author Vashti Harrison, and an original spoken word performance directed by Yvette Angelique Hyater-Adams. Dr. Jeffreen Hayes, the curator of the exhibition, will be at the Museum during the closing celebration for one last look before the exhibition leaves for its next venue.

Schedule of Events:

11 a.m. to Noon OR 2 to 3 p.m. | Free | Registration required

Vashti Harrison will host a free lecture and book signing for her “New York Times” bestselling children’s book “Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History”. Based on a series of popular Instagram posts she created for Black History Month 2017, the book features 40 biographies of African-American women who helped shape history, including Augusta Savage. A collection of Harrison’s illustrations from the book are currently on display in the Bank of America Concourse at the Museum. The lecture will be held in the Hixon Auditorium, followed by the book signing in the Cummer Museum Lobby. Books are available for purchase from the Cummer Shop. For further information, please call 904.899.6038 or register online.

‘Augusta Savage’, digital print, 2018, Courtesy of Vashti Harrison


Noon to 12:45 p.m. | Free | No registration required | Mason Gallery

Yvette Angelique Hyater-Adams and four local students have spent time in Augusta Savage: Renaissance Woman to create their own stories and responses to the works in the exhibition. Ms. Hyater-Adams, MA-TLA, runs Narratives for Change, a business using storytelling to cultivate and preserve women’s personal and leadership narratives. Dr. Jeffreen Hayes, the Curator of Augusta Savage: Renaissance Woman, will introduce Ms. Hyater Adams and her students. For further information, please call 904.899.6038.

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#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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#5WomenArtists – Njideka Akunyili Crosby




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.

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Garden Concert – HEAR in NOW



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.

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