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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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This Seat’s Taken



The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens is hosting a performance written and directed by Barbara Colaciello on Tuesday, July 29 at 7 p.m. “This Seat’s Taken” is a new play by Barbara Colaciello that tells the story of Rosa Parks and the event that became the tipping point of the Civil Rights Movement. This performance is in connection with A Commemoration of the Civil Rights Movement: Photography from the High Museum of Art, on view at The Cummer through November 2, 2014.

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Barbara Colaciello received her BFA from Rider University and earned her Actor’s Equity card at the age of 20 performing in summer stock at Bucks County Playhouse, PA. Barbara worked with Andy Warhol for six years at the Flux Factory as the Advertising Director of Interview Magazine. Further pursuing her passion for acting, she studied at the Warren Robertson Studio in NYC and at Lee Strasberg’s Real Stage. After her Warhol years, she worked with her brother, Vanity Fair Magazine writer Bob Colacello, for 10 years managing his many projects.

“This Seat’s Taken” will take place in The Cummer’s Hixen Auditorium and is free to the public. For more information or to make your required reservation click HERE or call 904.356.6857.

 This program would not be possible without the generous support of Florida Blue Free Tuesdays at the Cummer Museum.

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Collector’s Choice: Featured Collector, Helen Lane



Written by Caitlyn Cooney, Curatorial Intern



When viewing a work of art, it is common that the piece may evoke memories of an experience, a place, or significant people in the viewers’ lives. For collector Helen Lane, these relationships serve as motivation in her artwork selections.

Auguste Rodin, Portrait of Rose Beuret, 19th c., Bronze

Auguste Rodin, Portrait of Rose Beuret, 19th c., Bronze

Her collection of 19th and early 20th century works contain notable artists and artworks that characterize many of the movements of the era, as well as moments or people in her life. Each of the pieces featured in the exhibition are significant to Lane on a personal level, evoking memories of her childhood, family, friends, and personal experiences.            

Lane is an example of a collector who started later in life. She and her late husband, Edward, had both always shared a passion for art and took an interest in understanding it, though collecting was not always a part of their lives. Instead, they took time to listen and learn about movements, artists, and the historical context of pieces they were interested in. For Lane, the history and context in which the artists were working and their creative intentions were the most important aspects of understanding the works, as well as art in general. “But when we started to buy,” says Mrs. Lane, “then we were hooked.”

Lane Mere et Enfant

Nicolas Tarkhoff, Mere et Enfant, c. 1900-1910, Oil

Each of the three pieces featured in Collector’s Choice are lively, expressive, and moving in their own ways. Featuring both sculpture and painting, each piece was created within the same stylistic era, capturing the expressive brushstrokes and sculptural forms that characterized the Impressionist age. Though each of the subjects is different, ranging from the domestic sphere to architecture, they all speak to Lane’s passions and memories in a very specific way. A notable piece in her collection is Nicolas Tarkhoff’s Mere et Enfant  (c. 1900-1910).  The painting speaks to Lane’s personal relationships and memories of her family, children, grandchildren. The bond between the mother and child is captured in the play of color throughout the composition, highlighting the figures and blurring the delineation between their garments, while the strong use of line unites the two figures in their embrace.

Lane Venice

Raoul Dufy, Venice, Early 20th c., Oil

When one looks around Lane’s home at the collection that she and her husband have accumulated over the years, their passion and personal connection to the objects is evident. There are objects that remind them of their siblings, parents, children, grandchildren, friends, memories, experiences, and the like. They are not only pieces of artwork to be admired, but rather objects that have become visual reminders of shared memories, and have become friends themselves. For that reason, collecting has become a deeply embedded aspect within the fabric of the Lanes’ lives, and each object serves as a reminder of that. 






 The exhibition Collectors’ Choice: Inside the Hearts and Minds of Regional Collectors will be on view from May 17th to September 14th, 2014. 

For more information, please visit the Cummer’s website at

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Healing Through the Arts: Part III



Part three showcases the profound effects that opportunities for creativity have allowed a young girl to thrive in. Her experience with painting has amazingly helped to alleviate common symptoms of autism.

A Rainbow Artist is Discovered

Dozens of amazing stories have emerged out of the MOCA and The Cummer Museum Autism art camps, but one of the most riveting is about a young girl who is non-verbal, full of stimulatory behaviors, and could rarely ever sit and attend.  Profoundly affected by autism, Gentry Groshell was at the time twelve years old and her mother Amy had witnessed Gentry painting at school one day.  Amy noted that when Gentry had a paint brush in her hand and was painting, the constant cacophony of stemming began melting away.

Amy had heard about the program at MOCA and called to see if Gentry would be able to attend the classes if accompanied by an aid. The staff agreed to give it a try and the result was stunning: each session found Gentry attending to the task of painting for longer periods of time, and her art ability progressed rapidly.

Transformation and Freedom

One day while visiting the art camp, I observed Gentry painting. It was the most unbelievable transformation in a child with such severe autism that I’ve ever witnessed.  The staff put out paints next to a huge canvas and Gentry grabbed a brush, honed in, and began a masterpiece with vibrant colors sweeping across the canvas. Sometimes she would abandon the brush and use her hands to create the image of her self-expression.  The act of painting became a symphony of movements, bouts of giddy laughter, and deep intense focus producing vivid lively paintings in colorful hues. Abruptly, she would smack the brush down and leap out of her chair which signaled she was finished.

After Gentry had completed a painting, she seemed calmer and more at ease.  The act of painting physically and mentally freed her of the stimulatory behaviors which had such a firm grip on her. During the painting process, she took full rein of the out-of-control impulses and endless energy, allowing her to hyper-focus on her creation.  Gentry’s parents had her paintings professionally matted and embellished with elaborate frames which they displayed throughout their beautiful home. When visiting the Groshell home, I would rave over Gentry’s paintings and could tell that she took great pride in her work by the immediate shift in her behavior. There was a certain twinkle in her eye–an indicator she had cued into my positive compliments regarding her paintings.

Before long, Gentry had produced so many paintings they were stacked up all over the Groshell home. It was then that Amy’s husband Howard found a venue in Jacksonville to have an exhibition of Gentry’s paintings. Hundreds came out to attend and support this first exhibition.  Next, dozens of her paintings donned the Duval County Public Library in an exhibition featured throughout the library.

Lasting Effects

Fast forward:  Gentry is now 16 years old. A few weeks ago, local art gallery Gallery 725 featured dozens of Gentry’s paintings. The event was a huge success, raising over $5,000 to benefit the MOCA Rainbow Artist Series.Amy has also created a jewelry line using Gentry’s art with the proceeds going to Autism art programs.

 Through art, Gentry discovered and unleashed her creative spirit and self expression. This wonderful story transpired because of the ingenuity of the artist/autism moms and the collaboration between The HEAL Foundation, MOCA and The Cummer Museum. A child’s life was forever changed and through this discovery, Gentry has found her gift in the arts. Gentry’s future has many great paintings yet to fill massive frames to be displayed proudly in homes and galleries.

The HEAL Foundation:  HEALing Every Autistic Life, was founded in 2004 by Bobby and Leslie Weed in collaboration with pediatrician Julie Buckley, MD, all parents of daughters with autism. The HEAL Foundation is a local non-profit organization in northeast Florida serving individuals and families living with Autism Spectrum Disorders. The Foundation serves as an outreach organization and has awarded nearly one million dollars in grants to support camps, education, community programs, ESE classroom enhancements, educational seminars, and also hosts several fun recreational and social events for families.


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Come join the fun this summer at Camp Cummer!



Summer is here and the Museum is buzzing with activity! Campers get to experience a week full of fun and learning at Camp Cummer. Children, rising 1st - 6th grade, experiment with different art mediums in the studio, explore the Cummer Gardens and art galleries, have free time in Art Connections, snack, lunch and much more! The Education staff creates dynamic lesson plans and art projects based off the Museum’s permanent collection, gardens, and traveling exhibitions that will stimulate your children’s creativity and imagination. Students leave at the end of the week with a diverse portfolio of artwork ranging from watercolor and acyclic paintings to clay sculptures and drawings.

Last week students had a blast creating artwork based off of garden flora, fauna, and the St. John’s River including a garden inspired clay tile project that can be hung at home!

Campers are also visited by special guest presenters every Wednesday including the St. John’s Riverkeeper and the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission. Students are introduced to environmental awareness, animals that inhabit the St. John’s River and the many ways we can help to enrich this invaluable resource through fun interactives and discussion.

Camp cummer

Students are even visited by special guests during studio time. Last week, Mrs. Rynda Moore, a member of the Cummer Docent Corps, instructed Campers in the art of Calligraphy; sharing some of the tools of the trade and the “Story of Writing.” She later toured the students through the galleries to share and discuss some Egyptian hieroglyphics evidenced in a piece from the permanent collection entitled the Stela of Iku and Mer-imat, made from painted limestone created around 2100 B.C. Students also viewed and discussed the Gothic Manuscript Page: Jonah and the Whale, from the permanent collection, created around 1250 in tempera and ink on vellum. Afterward, students went back to the studios to create their own “illuminated” letter using gold leaf. A big thank you Mrs. Moore for sharing your time and talents.

Don’t miss your chance to enroll your child in Camp Cummer!

Monday- Friday, 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Join now for the followings weeks for children entering 1st -6th grade.

July 14- July 18

July 21- July 25

Middle School Camp: July 28- Aug 1 for students entering 7 – 9th grades

Class sizes are limited.

To enroll please call 904.355.0630 or visit

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Equality for All: Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Signing of the Civil Rights Act



The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was enacted on July 2, 1964 outlawing discrimination based upon race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. The full title of the act reads:

“An act to enforce the constitutional right to vote, to confer jurisdiction upon the district courts of the United States of America to provide injunctive relief against discrimination in public accommodations, to authorize the Attorney General to institute suits to protect constitutional rights in public facilities and public education, to extend the Commission on Civil Rights, to prevent discrimination in federally assisted programs, to establish a Commission on Equal Employment Opportunity, and for other purposes.”

This act put a stop to discriminatory use of voter registration requirements and segregation within schools, at the workplace, and in public accommodations.

On June 11, 1963 President John F. Kennedy made his famous “Civil Rights Announcement” spurring change towards equality in the public spectrum. Kennedy questioned the ethics of the United States preaching freedom when citizens within its own borders suffered from the bonds of injustice. He said,

“The heart of the question is whether all Americans are to be afforded equal rights and equal opportunities, whether we are going to treat our fellow Americans as we want to be treated. If an American, because his skin is dark, cannot eat lunch in a restaurant open to the public, if he can not send his children to the best public school available, if he cannot vote for the public officials who represent him, if, in short, he cannot enjoy the full and free life which all of us want, then who among us would be content to have the color of his skin changed and stand in his place? Who among us would be content with the counsels of patience and delay?”

Kennedy’s address was an integral step in taking the issue of Civil Rights from a seemingly legal one into a debate of morals. Martin Luther King Jr. himself applauded the president’s initiative.

Image credit: Steve Schapiro (American, b. 1936), Andrew Young, Martin Luther King, Jr., and John Lewis, Selma, Alabama, 1965, gelatin silver print, High Museum of Art, purchase with funds from the H. B. and Doris Massey Charitable Trust, 2007.219.  © Steve Schapiro.

Steve Schapiro (American, b. 1936), Andrew Young, Martin Luther King, Jr., and John Lewis, Selma, Alabama, 1965, gelatin silver print, High Museum of Art, purchase with funds from the H. B. and Doris Massey Charitable Trust, 2007.219. © Steve Schapiro.

After Kennedy’s assassination, his successor Lyndon B. Johnson continued the fight for civil rights in the United States. In 1960, Johnson spoke about his own interpretation of the origins of discrimination to a colleague. He said,

“If you can convince the lowest white man he’s better than the best colored man, he won’t notice you’re picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he’ll empty his pockets for you.”

Johnson broke a filibusterer by Southern Democrats in March of 1964 and was able to sign a stronger version of Kennedy’s bill into law by June 2, 1964.

The Cummer celebrates the 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Movement with the exhibition A Commemoration of the Civil Rights Movement: Photography from the High Museum of Art, Atlanta. The photographs in this exhibition capture the courage and perseverance of individuals who challenged the status quo, armed only with a philosophy of nonviolence and the strength of their convictions. The images were made by committed artists, activists, and journalists, who risked injury, arrest, and even death to document this critical moment of growth in our nation. The tenacity of these dedicated and gifted individuals—on both sides of the camera—continues to inspire social justice advocates today. Be sure to check out this exciting and beautiful exhibition that highlights this important time in history.

Click HERE to find out more about the Museum’s Civil Rights programming!

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Collector’s Choice: Featured Collector, Jordan Bock



Written by Caitlyn Cooney, Curatorial Intern



Each collector featured in our exhibition, Collector’s Choice, collects art for his or her own reasons; while some may collect within a certain movement or stylistic era, others may collect in order to enrich the community, facilitate learning, preserve history, etc. Jordan Bock, however, collects based on his relationship to various art pieces, and their ability to communicate a story to their audience. Each of the five pieces exhibited from Bock’s collection, though all created within the last century, each present different cultures, ideas, aesthetics, and media. Yet, what ties each of these pieces together is the way they have created a dialogue with Bock, intrigued him with the story each of them tell. He states, “Every time I see a painting, I think of it as a conversation, a story. What happens before this moment? What happens after? You have to be willing to think about another point of view.”

Each of the featured pieces in Bock’s collection have their own story to tell, be it in their subject matter or their relationship to the artist. Since the age of six, Bock has sought out pieces that intrigued him, each serving as mere snapshots meant to allude to larger narratives. When speaking about the first time he saw an etching of a pond in East Hampton done by Mary Nimmo Moran at an auction he attended with his parents, Bock stated, “It was mysterious, it told some sort of story, but I wasn’t sure what. I was a big reader as a child, and it intrigued me.” This same interest has fueled his passion for collecting art pieces over the years, seeking out works that speak their own language and  tell a story past that of the obvious, that beg for a second look and deeper investigation.

BockPool1 Compressed

Tim O’Kane’s Pool #1 (1984) serves as a clear example of Bock’s taste in its film still composition and subtle suggestion of a larger context. O’Kane, both a photographer and an artist, frames his compositions as a film director would with the suggestion of a human presence, yet a lack of figurative representation. The scenery suggests an intimate environment, yet the composition is void of the characters in which we expect to inhabit it. In this way, we are forced to approach it from a different point of view, and just as Bock has prompted us to do when viewing the piece, we ask, “What happens before this moment? What happens after?” therefore creating a moment of captivation and reflection for the us as the viewer.

For Bock, art is not only a visual experience, but  instead a way of communicating, a story or a language.  Just as each piece  creates a dialogue with its viewer, The Cummer serves as a dialogue center for the community. Bock considers the process  of viewing art as a moment of communication, transition, and self-reflection. He states, “If you don’t have conversation      nothing ever happens. The only way to create change is by listening, then by doing. Looking at art can make you look at your life. We can all change the world.”




The exhibition Collectors’ Choice: Inside the Hearts and Minds of Regional Collectors will be on view from May 17th to September 14th, 2014.

For more information, please visit the Cummer’s website at

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