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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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Collector’s Choice: Featured Collector, Maria Cox

Jun

17

Written by Caitlyn Cooney, Curatorial Intern

maria

A collector’s passion for art is an integral part of their personality. It affects the way they view the world around them, the way they experience life, their relationships with people, and the decisions they make every day. For Maria Cox, art has been a part of her life since birth, shaping her experiences long into adulthood. She and her husband, Donald, have collected various noteworthy artworks since the early 1970’s by revolutionary artists of the modern and contemporary era. Over the years, the Coxes have come to obtain a snippet of one of the most groundbreaking periods in American art.

Cox Two Dancing Figures

Keith Harring, Two Dancing Figures, 1990, Poly/Enamel on Aluminum

Cox grew up with an artistic way of viewing life. Both of her parents were architects, frequently exposing her to the elements of design and creative viewpoints through contemporary art and architecture. She obtained her undergraduate degree in art history, and continued her passion for contemporary art from there. Her interests were directed toward the artists that were changing the art scene, the creative fabric of their contemporary culture. She states, “When Donald and I went to galleries, we saw a lot of things—mundane things, the ‘try-hards’—but then we saw Rauschenberg, and you could just tell he was having fun. And we liked the ‘fun’ of art.”

Of the two pieces from Cox’s collection currently on view at the Cummer, Keith Harring’s Two Dancing Figures  (1990) represents this avant-garde, ”fun” interest. Contemporary art in the last few decades had been entirely focused on pushing the limits of what defined “art”, the way we viewed and interpreted art, the way we viewed our culture, and even the way we viewed ourselves. Keith Harring embodies this very movement towards the disjuncture between art and life seen since the 1960s with his graffiti-esque characters and stylized compositions. His child-like illustrations captured a nonchalance about “high art”, and shifted the definition of what art could be.

Cox January

Alex Kats, January, 1992, Color Aquatint

This passion fed every area of Cox’s life. In describing the way art affected her marriage, she states, “We fed each other.” It became a part of their relationship and daily lives. They would immerse themselves in the experience of looking for something they were passionate about, learning about the changing landscape of their contemporary art scene, sometimes visiting as many as 28 museums and galleries in a day. Cox went on to describe the way she and Donald selected pieces for their collection stating, “You’re looking for something that excites you, that you want to live with, that you want to take home. You can go and look, and be looking at different things, but sometimes your eyes meet and you realize you are looking at the same thing. And then you buy it.”

As a collector, Cox strives to capture an era that was all about change, progression, creative thinking and fun. Her passion surpasses that of her aesthetic tastes, fueled by the concepts and influences of the innovative artists represented in her collection.

 

 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  http://www.cummer.org/

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Donor Highlight: HEAL Foundation

Jun

16

HEAL Foundation

The HEAL Foundation, a local non-profit organization serving individuals and families living with Autism Spectrum Disorders, has been a generous sponsor of The Cummer’s annual VSA Festival since 2008 and began underwriting scholarships for children with autism to attend Camp Cummer in 2011. This past year, the VSA Festival reached over 700 children with autism, as well as their families, and ten HEAL Foundation scholarships have been underwritten for this summer’s Camp Cummer.

If you are interested in learning more about HEAL scholarships, please contact Jan Thomas at 904.355.0630 or jthomas@cummer.org

Leslie Weed, co-founder of the HEAL Foundation, said the following after last month’s VSA Festival, “A child with disabilities has many limitations with very few opportunities outside the home. Arriving at The Cummer Museum, the children are greeted with music, laughter and a host of people delighted to see them. The students enjoy a day of meandering through the Museum and Gardens, creating with different mediums of art, surrounded by masterpieces. Art plays an important role in the lives of these children, and the VSA Festival is often their first experience creating art in such a magnificent setting.”

The Cummer is incredibly grateful for the opportunity to partner with the HEAL Foundation to make a difference in our local Autism Community.

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Education Highlight: Summer Fun at The Cummer

Jun

16

IMG_7389

Summer is here!  The Cummer welcomes children all year round and summer is no exception.  Camp Cummer began June 9th. The galleries, studios and gardens are ready, and exciting projects are being planned for campers that include abstract sculpture, paper making, silhouette self-portraits, and botanical art.IMG_7383

Drop-in Art returns for the summer as well.  Each Tuesday night children ages 5-10 can spend an hour with an educator in the galleries, gardens and studios to create a work of art based on The Cummer Collection.  Check the Art Classes section below for information about signing up your child to join the fun at The Cummer this summer.

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Collector’s Choice: Featured Collector, Brandon Choy

Jun

10

Written by Caitlyn Cooney, Curatorial Intern

brandon choy compressed

Choy Snake Currency

Nigeria, Set of Three Spiral Snake Currency, c. 1900, Copper and Iron

The process of viewing and falling in love with an art piece is an experience that one rarely forgets. The physical experience is often intoxicating, almost disorienting, walking through a space and seeing a piece that seems to hold its own magnetic charge pulling the viewer towards it. This moment and experience is what art collector Brandon Choy bases his selections off of. Each piece in his collection has made an impression on him, branding the moment of first time he saw it into his memory. He states, “When you collect something you love, you remember where you saw it, the day you bought, or when you saw something like it and searched for it. You learn about the artists and their cultures and about a specific place in time. Art expands the mind in a way other studies can’t.”  

For Choy, art is a gateway for understanding the world around him, for learning and experiencing other cultures, lifestyles, and people. His sizeable collection ranges from the old masters to contemporary artists, abstract expressionists to ethnographic material. He collects objects based off of his love and experience with each individual piece, taking into account his experience with the culture, the artist, and the very context in which he first discovered it.

Choy Jembe Currency

Sukuma People, Tanzania, Jembe Currency, 1900-1950, Iron

 Choy’s recently developed passion for African currency has composed his featured collection, amounting to a total of thirteen cultural objects from various tribes throughout the African continent. Many of the objects are dual purposed, serving as currency and trading goods, as well as tools for manual labor or combat. For example, his iron, spade-shaped, bladed object entitled Jembe Currency  is also used agriculturally as a hoe blade by the Sukuma People of Central Tanzania. Similarly, several objects from Choy’s collection have the suggested purpose of being worn, such as cuffs, bracelets, and anklets. The Mbole Anklet  from the Mbole people of Kisangani in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is used as both an object of ornamentation, as well as a dowry, holding a cultural significance past that of its monetary value.

 

 

Choy Mbole Anklet

Mbole People, Republic of Congo, Mbole Anklet/Dowry

Many of his pieces were chosen not only for their cultural significance, but for their modernist aesthetic. They range in size, shape, fabrication, and even time period, yet each of the pieces selected are joined by a common quality of design. Choy states, “I love the contemporary shapes and looks, the simple lines and forms. I’m attracted to their modern feel. They’re beautiful, and they mix and match well with my contemporary pieces.” Though his collection is spread across cultures, eras, media, and styles, Choy has obtained an assortment that speaks to his vision as a collector and an art lover. It represents his life as a sort of visual diary, compiling his experiences through the objects he has collected.

 

 

 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  http://www.cummer.org/

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Healing Through the Arts: Part I

Jun

09

The HEAL Foundation has found that creativity can alleviate autism symptoms while expanding horizons. This is part one of a three part series that looks at the positive effects the explorations of art provides children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Art can play an important role in the lives of many children, teens, and adults diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. It can be therapeutic, and gives the individual with autism an avenue of creativity and self-expression.   The activity of art can quell many of the stimulatory behaviors caused by the disorder and be a soothing and calming exercise for the participant.  Since many young children with autism have deficiencies in their gross and fine motor skills and are adverse to learning new things, teachers and parents should explore the options art offers as a therapeutic tool.

Teaming Up with Parents

http://www.autismfile.com/treatment-therapy/healing-through-the-arts

http://www.autismfile.com/treatment-therapy/healing-through-the-arts

Despite skyrocketing rates of autism over the past two decades, few opportunities and activities exist outside of the school setting for this growing group of students.  Mothers of children with autism are legendary for banding together and pioneering new opportunities where a void exists. This was the case when a group of local, noted artists had the desire to begin an autism art program for children. The artists were Carol Lombardo, Cynthia Walburn, and Holly Green who were also mothers of children with autism.

Carol Lombardo and I became friends through our daughters who were both on the autism spectrum. I had co-founded a local non-profit foundation, The HEAL Foundation (HEALing Every Autistic Life) with my husband Bobby Weed and Dr. Julie Buckley. Carol’s daughter Lara, an artist, had become somewhat of a local celebrity in her own right by illustrating several children’s books. Carol saw how therapeutic it was for Lara to paint and draw and felt this could inspire so many children like her daughter. Carol knew art could make a difference and would open up a new world for those who had never been properly exposed to painting and drawing.

A Unique Partnership

The HEAL foundation was at the time in its infancy and was providing grants for autism camps and educational programs throughout the greater Jacksonville Area in northeast Florida. Carol approached me to see if The HEAL Foundation could provide a grant to begin art classes for autism at MOCA (the Museum of Contemporary Art in Jacksonville). I was thrilled with the prospect and as luck would have it, the director of MOCA at that time, Debbie Broder, was interested in hosting an art program for kids on the autism spectrum.  Debbie asked Carol to assist her art educators on staff in developing a special art program specifically designed to meet the needs of those with autism. It was the perfect opportunity to begin a unique partnership between The HEAL Foundation and MOCA to begin an autism art program from scratch.

In the spring of 2007, The HEAL Foundation awarded its first grant to MOCA to begin a “Spring Break Art Camp.”  The students were selected the first year by Carol Lombardo, who contacted the public schools/autism coordinators to get recommendations of kids who had an interest in art who would also be good candidates. The camp was free, and we limited it to eight students so as not to overwhelm the museum staff. By limiting the number, and selecting students who showed an obvious interest, we were setting up the program for success.

Expanding the Options

The artist moms continued to volunteer their time and worked at the camps to ensure the museum staff was prepared and supported. After the first year, the staff –who had never worked with kids on the spectrum –felt competent with their efforts and was ready to continue another year of art camps. The second year, they added more students, but still hand-selected them. After the completion of year two, the staff was so confident and comfortable, they decided to take it over and open it up to students anywhere on the spectrum.

http://www.autismfile.com/treatment-therapy/healing-through-the-arts

http://www.autismfile.com/treatment-therapy/healing-through-the-arts

Getting to that point is very important, because the museum staff needs to feel confident working with the students without outside supports in order for it to succeed. By year three the Museum had taken ownership of the program and called it their own. They named the program “The Rainbow Artist Series” and it grew each year, generating interest and funding from other sources. Eventually, the program was fully funded and became a regular museum program. It is staffed by the art educators and by volunteer parents of children on the autism spectrum to offset costs.

Stay tuned for Healing Through the Arts: Parts II & III, coming soon! 

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First Coast Cultural Institutions Offer Special Summer Discount

Jun

03

ExplorersClub_rSgThe Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens is delighted to announce its Summer Membership Promotion. From June 1-August 17, any existing member of The Cummer Museum, Jacksonville Zoo & Gardens, Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), or Museum of Science and History (MOSH) will receive a 10% membership discount to any of these wonderful institutions.

A valid membership card and photo I.D. must be presented at the time of purchase. All purchases must be made in person, on site.

“We are so proud to be a part of this initiative that brings together Jacksonville’s cultural organizations to support one another and enrich the lives of the community we serve,” said Wendy Stanley, membership and volunteer manager at the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens.

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 objects and historic gardens on a riverfront campus offers more than 130,000 annual visitors a truly unique experience on the First Coast. Nationally recognized education programs serve adults and children of all abilities.

The Jacksonville Zoo & Gardens, MOSH, and MOCA are also committed to excellence in their respected fields.

Zoo LogoFor nearly a century, the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens has been dedicated to inspiring the discovery and appreciation of wildlife through innovative experiences in a caring environment. Zoo and Gardens now has more than 2,000 rare and exotic animals and 1,000 plants.

MOSH LogoThe Museum of Science & History (MOSH) is located at 1025 Museum Circle near Friendship Park. MOSH, first chartered in 1941, inspires the joy of lifelong learning by bringing to life the sciences and regional history. 

MOCA Logo

The Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville, a private nonprofit visual arts educational institution and cultural resource of the University of North Florida, serves the community and its visitors through exhibitions, collections, educational programs, and publications designed to enhance an understanding and appreciation of modern and contemporary art with particular emphasis on works created from 1960 to the present.

Self-enrichment, educational experiences, and family fun are bound to follow with membership to any and all of these cultural institutions. The Cummer is excited to have an opportunity to partner with these amazing organizations as well as encourage our community to visit each one this summer!

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