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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 – 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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Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Celebration



Thanks to the support of The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida, JAX Chamber, JEA, and United Way of Northeast Florida, the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens was able to provide high quality art experiences to a diverse cross-section of the community for free. The day included live music, an Ecumenical Prayer for Peace with local faith leaders and the FSCJ Chorale organized by OneJax, and pop-up art-making activities at the Cummer Museum. The Museum also hosted an art-making activity at the Ritz Theatre and Museum for the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Foundation’s MLK Holiday Celebration. Free trolley service was available between the two museums, making both experiences accessible to the community. The Museum welcomed 1,131 visitors to its campus, many of whom were visiting for the first time, and more than 140 visitors at its booth at the Ritz Theatre and Museum.

“Today was our very first visit to the Museum and it was absolutely wonderful. The property on the river is breathtaking, the Museum staff is super friendly, the ‘Exploring with Kids’ guide made for an interactive experience, and there were lots of fun, hands-on activities for the children to enjoy. Thank you so much for opening the Museum’s doors on Martin Luther King Day so we could celebrate by enjoying one of Jacksonville’s gems.” – Dorsett & Nevin Families

Visitors used watercolor resist methods to create works of art depicting what peace means to them. More than 450 works of art were made by members of the greater Jacksonville community, and some have been combined to form Art Peace – a collective message of unity, from and for the community. The work is now on display in the Cummer Café. Drop by the Museum to see the installation in person!

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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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Jeremiah Brzoska and the Reinhold Courtyard




Jeremiah Brzoska and his team create beautiful weathered works of art, making him and his company, Artistic Finishes of North Florida, a well-known name among home builders. With an artist’s eye and mastery over the ancient technique of Venetian plaster finishing, Brzoska and his company turned the Cummer Museum’s Reinhold Courtyard into a unique piece of art. Artistic Finishes of North Florida and Brzoska graciously donated a great deal of the cost of the project.

Brzoska works with Venetian plaster, incorporating natural pigments. Also called limewash or lime plaster, Venetian plaster is made by mixing fired limestone and water until it becomes the consistency of putty. The plaster is off-white in color, and pigments are added to achieve a variety of natural tones. Once dry, the limestone resumes its grainy, porous texture. The effect is an earthy, aged finish. For the Museum’s courtyard, Brzoska combined five hues that fit together seamlessly, while making sure the piece blends in with the history of the Museum.

Venetian plaster has its roots in ancient Greece and Egypt. It is a classic treatment with the ability to endure the elements. Additionally, limestone is a hypoallergenic material. Because of its high pH level, it is impossible for microbes to thrive within its many nooks and crannies. Limewash finishes are perfect for those who would like to add a rustic or antiqued quality to their décor.

During your next visit to the Museum, take a moment to appreciate how elegantly Brzoska’s work blends in with the courtyard’s aged elements. But remember—a Venetian plastered wall never reveals its age.

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LifeSouth Community Blood Centers Blood Drive



The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens is partnering with LifeSouth Community Blood Centers for a blood drive on Saturday, December 15, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. A LifeSouth blood mobile will be stationed in the driveway on the north end of the Museum (near the Red Cross), and blood donors will receive a free admission pass to the Museum to be used that day or on a future visit.

As a nonprofit community blood bank, LifeSouth aims to provide a safe blood supply that satisfies or surpasses the needs in every community in which they serve. LifeSouth serves more than 100 hospitals in Florida, Alabama, and Georgia by providing a variety of services in support of ongoing and emerging blood and transfusion-related activities.

But why is blood donation so important? Someone in the United States is in need of blood every two seconds for surgery, cancer treatment, chronic illnesses, or traumatic injury. Just one person can save up to three lives per donation. Less than 38 percent of people are eligible to donate blood, but only 10 percent of those eligible will actually donate. Lifesaving blood and platelets cannot be fabricated; they can only come from volunteer donors. The annual need for blood donors exceeds 266,000 each year or 728 each day.

If you choose to donate, you are required to be in good health and 17 years of age or older (16 with parental consent), and weigh a minimum of 110 pounds. Make sure to have a valid ID with you. To learn more about the work LifeSouth Community Blood centers does in the community, please visit their website.

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