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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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Our Shared Past: Highlight on Kurt Polkey

Apr

18

Written by Nicole Gaudier

Kurt Pokey’s works Little Boy and National Pastime,  will be in the Our Shared Past exhibition, on view in the Stein Gallery from December 17, 2013 to May 25, 2014.

A statement from the artist:

“I’m not a portrait artist. Most portrait artists say they’ve made a successful painting if it “captures” the sitter.  My work however does not attempt to depict the essence of the sitter; rather I aim to make art that engages conversations with art history, while also challenging notions of what art is.  I’m not a conceptual artist either.  Like me, conceptual artists place their ideas first; yet conceptual artists—think of Duchamp’s urinal—typically challenge the existing paradigm and use unconventional materials.  My work is about the idea, but the idea is conveyed through the aesthetics. And the materials I choose are traditional ones, like paint and pencils; materials that allow me to contribute to a long-standing artistic practice.

Kurt Polkey, Little Boy, 2013, from the film stills Bite Size Pieces, Marker, white out, pencil, and glitter on paper and oil on panel.

Kurt Polkey, Little Boy, 2013, from the film stills Bite Size Pieces, Marker, white out, pencil, and glitter on paper and oil on panel.

I’m not a portrait artist and I’m not a conceptual artist. I sit uncomfortably somewhere in between.Producing a work of art for Our Shared Past was a daunting task.  I was paralyzed by my own sense of nostalgia. When I looked at Jef’s family photos I couldn’t help but think of my own family. Like Jef’s photos, I too have collections of family photos depicting fathers and sons playing ball; mothers with bouffants and big ‘80s hair; and little kids sliding down slides.  I have also used family photos as inspiration for my own work—with greater and lesser success.  I imagined Jef’s family showing up to see this show and being overwhelmed by the scope and scale of these artists’ renderings of their personal family memories.  I felt pressure to make a picture that would live up to such a moment.  But how could I possibly create something that would capture the essence of someone else’s family when I have struggled to capture my own.

Kurt Polkey, National Pastime, 2013, from the film still Watching Dad Hit, Marker, white out, pencil, and glitter on paper and oil on panel.

Kurt Polkey, National Pastime, 2013, from the film still Watching Dad Hit, Marker, white out, pencil, and glitter on paper and oil on panel.

I searched through nearly 200 images for one I could make my own. I wanted to find one that could capture the feelings I have about my own family, and especially the innocence and wonder I projected onto my earlier self.  I settled on the photo Jef titled “Bite Size Pieces” due to the naïve composition of the work.  In keeping with the simplicity of my work, I cropped the image to show only a little boy.  I then created a new image, one inspired by this photo, by drawing and adding other media, including glitter and marker.  In this way, I was able to resolve the tension between being inspired by someone else’s imagery and producing a piece that was faithful to my aesthetic.”

There will be artist appearances at the Stein Gallery January through April. Each Saturday, artists form the exhibition will be in the Gallery from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.  Others will make appearances throughout the day on Weaver Free Saturdays, and on Tuesday evenings during the exhibition.

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Donor Highlight: Beacon Riverside

Apr

17

Beacon LogoThe Cummer is pleased to announce a new corporate partnership with our newest neighbor Beacon Riverside. Beacon is a generous sponsor for our 2014 Garden Lecture Series and upcoming Summer and Fall exhibitions.

“Beacon Riverside and its development group, Hallmark Partners and the Nicewonder Group, are proud to carry on their commitment to the Riverside area with our residential condominium tower that will set the standard for Northeast Florida.  We embrace the surrounding activities of the neighborhood and we value our relationship with our immediate neighbor, The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens.  We anticipate that our residents will enjoy all the events, exhibits and social activities that the Museum has to offer, all within a convenient two- block walking distance of their home, as part of the exclusive lifestyle that Beacon Riverside offers.”

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Charles Birnbaum returns to The Cummer!

Apr

14

Much can be said of Charles Birnbaum’s extensive career in gardening and landscape design.  After spending 10 years in private practice in New York City and over 15 years working as the coordinator of the National Park Service Historic Landscape Initiative, he is not the Founder but currently the President of The Cultural Landscape Foundation.  This very important 501(c)(3) works to educate people, communities and institutions on the value of landscape architecture in this country.

Charles continues his mission to safeguard and preserve the rich history of gardens in the United States by travelling around the country lecturing and surveying properties to give feedback on improvements and document success stories for others to learn from.  He made a visit to Jacksonville in 2012 and not only spoke at The Cummer but also assessed Memorial Park, both gardens that contain grounds designed by the Olmsted Brothers.

Join The Museum as he returns to Jacksonville for a special luncheon and lecture next Tuesday, April 22.  He will help celebrate the one year anniversary of the reopening of the Olmsted Garden at The Cummer.  The lecture will begin at 11:30am with a luncheon in the Historic Gardens to follow.  Click HERE to make your reservation online or call 904.899.6038.  This is an event Garden Enthusiasts should not miss!  We look forward to seeing you there!

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ART For ALL – Staff Participates in Disability Trianing

Apr

14

The Education Department at The Cummer recently participated in a professional development workshop to broaden their understanding of accessibility and arts education in children with disabilities.

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Laurie Brown, an art teacher and art therapist at Alden Road Exceptional Student Center, was invited to the Museum to lead the training.  She began with a presentation that explained the theories behind art therapy, and terminology and information about a variety of disabilities, followed by techniques in drawing, painting, and sculpture and how these projects could be adapted to work for all students.

Following the training Educator Matthew Patterson made a trip to Alden Road Exceptional Student Center to work with some of Laurie’s students.  Their school has been invited to attend this year’s VSA Festival at The Cummer and has been selected to create artwork that will not only be on exhibition here at the Museum but will also appear on all the t-shirts, banners, and promotional materials for the festival.  The students looked at photos of plants and animals native to Florida for inspiration and used a printmaking process to produce their images.

The timing of this workshop could not have been better.  With the Museum’s staff in the process of planning this year’s VSA Festival, a celebration of the arts for children with disabilities, it was the perfect time to talk about how best to work with these children and how to make sure their experience at The Cummer is the best possible.

If you would like to be a volunteer at this year’s VSA Festival, please contact Jan Thomas at 904.355.0630 or jthomas@cummer.org.

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Our Shared Past: Highlight on Christie Holechek

Apr

11

Written by Nicole Gaudier

Christie Holechek ‘s work Something Blew  will be in the Our Shared Past exhibition, on view in the Stein Gallery from December 17, 2013 to May 25, 2014.

A statement from the artist:

“Christie Holechek reconstructs her most definitive moments in life as fragmented optical illusions of impossible beauty. On a single canvas, she paints an unstable debris field steeped in color as it violently erupts into a radial motion projecting out from its internal source. Its dense and dark matter releases shards of emotion into the painting’s conventional frame as fragmented lines and inventive shapes of light, but does not expand beyond the edges of the composition. On the surface, transparent and decaying structures resembling honeycomb, wasp nests and spider webs converge and collide to trap any fleeting memories trying to escape. Any remains are pushed back into the fissures and cracks already carved out from the past.”

Christie Holechek, Something Blew, 2013, from the film still Looking Glass, Mixed media on canvas

Christie Holechek, Something Blew, 2013, from the film still Looking Glass, Mixed media on canvas

There will be artist appearances at the Stein Gallery January through April. Each Saturday, artists from the exhibition will be in the Gallery from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.  Others will make appearances throughout the day on Weaver Free Saturdays, and on Tuesday evenings during the exhibition.

 

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Our Shared Past: Highlight on Morrison Pierce

Apr

08

Written by Nicole Gaudier

Morrison Pierce ‘s work Where Did Grandma Go? will be in the Our Shared Past exhibition, on view in the Stein Gallery from December 17, 2013 to May 25, 2014.

Statement by Morrison Pierce:

“Artists shouldn’t make statements. Statements are for people with bank accounts.”

Morrison Pierce, Where Did Grandma Go? 2013, from the film still Why Pay More? Acrylic and ink on canvas

Morrison Pierce, Where Did Grandma Go? 2013, from the film still Why Pay More? Acrylic and ink on canvas

There will be artist appearances at the Stein Gallery January through April. Each Saturday, artists from the exhibition will be in the Gallery from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.  Others will make appearances throughout the day on Weaver Free Saturdays, and on Tuesday evenings during the exhibition.

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