Last month many of us in the community mourned the sudden resignation of Hope McMath from the Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens after twenty-two years. While many noteworthy events occurred under her direction, two recent tributes truly point to the status and exceptional outreach the Cummer has achieved in recent years:
First, the current exhibition LIFT: Contemporary Expressions of the African American Experience, which caused quite a riff in the community, while also creating open discussions embracing diversity, has been recognized by the new National Museum of African American History & Culture, the 19th Smithsonian museum, for its celebration of African American history and culture. This is the Smithsonian’s way of supporting other organizations who are living up to their goals as a museum:
The NMAAHC has the following goals:
1) To provide an opportunity for those who are interested in African American culture to explore and revel in this history through interactive exhibitions.
2) To help all Americans see how their stories, their histories, and their cultures are shaped and informed by global influences.
3) To explore what it means to be an American and share how American values like resiliency, optimism, and spirituality are reflected in African American history and culture.
4) To serve as a place of collaboration that reaches beyond Washington to engage new audiences and to work with myriad museums and educational institutions that have explored and preserved this important history well before this museum was created.
More great reasons to get over to see LIFT which will continue at the Cummer through Feb. 12.
Secondly, in August, the Kennedy Center honored the Cummer Museum’s access programs for people with disabilities. A large part of the recognition was due to one such program – the museum’s long-running VSA Festival, which you can learn more about starting on page 56.
With that said, in this issue we highlight Art & Healing programs and organizations in our community; sharing heartfelt stories of hope and inspiration that illustrate the power of art and music. One such sweet and inspiring story you will find on page 32: “A Battered Violin and How It Changed One Boy’s Life.” If stories like this, and others you will read here, do not convince you of the power of the arts, then I’m not sure what will.
Cinda Sherman, Publisher
Enjoy putting a little culture in your life!