BY GABRIELLE DEAN-RECTOR
The Cummer Museum is blessed to have so many passionate advocates in our community, including donors, volunteers, and members. This quarter, we are highlighting the great work of longtime supporters who fit into all three categories: Kenyon Merritt and the team at Richard Skinner & Associates. As volunteer fundraisers, both found inspired ways to combine their passion for the Museum with their outside interests in a way that amplified their institutional impact.
Architect Richard Skinner, Pattie Houlihan, and the rest of his team have been generously volunteering their time and talent to organize the Art & Architecture tour each year since 2009, but 2018 was a record year for the event, raising more than $50,000 for the Museum’s mission-based programming! Featuring a personally guided tour by Richard, with commentary on art by Chief Operating Officer & Chief Curator Holly Keris, the February event invited attendees to visit three beautiful homes in Riverside, Avondale, and Ortega to explore the intersection of architecture, art, and nature.
“Pattie and I have enjoyed our association with the Cummer and support it in every way we can,” Richard said. “The Art and Architecture Tour has engaged patrons and artisans from all over Jacksonville and the beaches, and we are pleased that it has also been an effective fundraiser for the Museum.”
A special thank you to all of the sponsors for this event and the Clarkson and Stein families for generously opening their homes for the tour.
After learning about the destruction of the Museum’s historic gardens during Hurricane Irma, Kenyon Merritt wanted to do something to help support the reconstruction. She decided to run the 2018 Gate River Run, along with Cummer Museum staff member Kristen Zimmerman. Kenyon started a campaign, 4 Feat for Restoration, and asked her friends, family, and colleagues to donate to the Museum in support of her race … and was she ever successful! On March 10, both Kenyon and Kristen crossed the finish line with smiling faces and Kenyon ultimately raised more than $8,000 for garden restoration.
“Post-Irma photos of our devastated gardens [at the Cummer Museum] were nearly unbelievable; the destruction was astonishing,” said Kenyon. “I felt compelled to do something. Running and fundraising intersect in my Venn diagram, ‘my happy place.’ My good friend and Cummer Museum Registrar Kristen Zimmerman and I vowed to train and race the Gate River Run in exchange for contributions supporting garden restoration.”
If you have an idea for something you would like to do to raise money for the Museum’s mission, we would love to hear from you! Guidelines and information on how to submit proposals can be found below.