The Critical Importance of Philanthropic Support and Participation in the Arts as an Investment

Orchid Three Brazilian Humming Bird After Martin Johnson Heade

Art museums are community anchors. They bring people together, help the community address challenges in times of crisis, and serve as beacons of light and hope that provide connection and conversation.

The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens began with one woman who firmly believed that art, in all forms, provides a lasting and positive impact on society. Nearly 60 years later, the museum continues to promote Ninah Cummer’s legacy by connecting Jacksonville’s diverse community to the arts and each other.

By investing in the Cummer Museum, individuals, corporations, foundations, and government provide a place for our community to harvest the healing power of art, foster a sense of belonging, and create new relationships. At the Cummer, art, gardens, and education converge to create meaningful personal experiences. Together, they open a world of new possibilities designed to spark imagination, creativity, and curiosity while fostering lifelong connections.

The museum is proud to present a collection of art which represents thousands of years of history and many cultures. The community’s investment in our galleries, programs, and interpretive materials helps bring this content to life in a manner that doesn’t simply place fine art on display but presents it in a way that engages the viewer and transforms spectators into participants. We provide visitors of all ages and abilities and from all backgrounds and lifestyles with the opportunity to absorb works of art within the context of their own lives so that these experiences resonate long after they depart our campus.

The Cummer has expanded its exhibition and program partners to include not only individual donors and charitable foundations, but also companies in a variety of sectors ranging from healthcare, banking, and retail. Their support has allowed the Cummer to offer high-quality art and programming, remove barriers to access, and provide fun experiences for everyone to enjoy. Our partners understand the critical role that art plays in creating healthy, vibrant communities.

Motorcycling 1930s

Philanthropic investments deepen our impact and enable us to become an ever-stronger uniting force in our community. Impact that allows Cummer Museum educators to connect thousands of students and teachers to cultivate their curiosity, creativity, and self-expression. Impact that enables people to come together for multigenerational and multisensory experiences. Impact that provides complimentary access for a variety of community groups. Impact that contributes to the health and wellness of our community through engaging programs for people with differing abilities.

The Cummer Museum has weathered many storms over the years. Each time our community has come together to support the museum, ensuring its resilience and continued strength. The COVID-19 pandemic has presented unprecedented challenges which will remain long after the virus itself. For the first time in our history, the museum was closed for more than three months beginning on March 14. We have since implemented many new precautions and protocols that will help ensure the continued health and safety of our staff and visitors. Although visiting the museum is different, we have not compromised our quality, accessibility, and fun experiences that visitors have come to love and expect.

To strengthen our efforts to connect diverse audiences and ensure the museum is an inclusive arts and culture institution serving everyone in Jacksonville Wanda Willis was hired to serve as the museum’s first-ever Director of Community Development in February. In this leadership role Wanda focuses on diversity, equality, inclusion, access, and liberation by cultivating meaningful partnerships and promoting strong community engagement and integrates these values into every area of the institution.

We can only continue to do this work because of our community’s continued belief and investment in our mission. This is “your community and your museum.” Now more than ever, the support of our community partners and investors allows us to use art as a tool to help Jacksonville emerge from these challenging times stronger and more united.

Our 2020 – 2021 exhibitions* were specifically chosen because of their quality, uniqueness, and relationship to both our permanent collection and gardens. Perhaps most important is their ability to bring relevant societal issues to light and spark important community dialogue. Come take a moment at the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens.

The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens, 829 Riverside Avenue, 356-6857.

By Hannah Oberholtzer

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Author: Arbus

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