Press release: The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens announces that long-time supporters J. Wayne and Delores Barr Weaver have made a $3 million gift through the Weaver Family Foundation Fund to endow the Chief Curator position.

The newly endowed position will be known as the Cummer Museum’s J. Wayne and Delores Barr Weaver Chief Curator. The position ensures that the Museum will attract top talent into this role in perpetuity, but it also acknowledges the major contributions that Holly Keris, Chief Curator, has made to the institution over her 17 years with the Museum.

“The core of an art museum is its artistic program — it is this content that engages diverse audiences, that provides the stimulus for educational programming, and, at our institution, that connects gardens and galleries,” said Pam D. Paul, chair of the Cummer Museum’s Board of Trustees. “The work of developing this program belongs first and foremost to the Chief Curator, and Delores and Wayne’s thoughtful gift guarantees quality in this role into the future — ensuring both the Cummer Museum’s sustainability, as well as its continued relevance to Jacksonville and Northeast Florida.”

The Chief Curator is a member of the Museum’s executive team, shaping the institution’s vision and mission, while leading its artistic program. The position oversees efforts to build, present and conserve the Museum’s permanent collection, and also directs the presentation of exhibitions.

“Through our longstanding association with Holly Keris and the Cummer, we have come to appreciate the tremendous value and profound influence of a Chief Curator,” noted Delores Barr Weaver. “We are particularly grateful for Holly’s extended efforts as both Chief Curator and interim director for nearly two years, during a challenging period when the Gardens were ravaged by Hurricane Irma and the Women’s Club building had to be razed because of termites.”

She continued, “Our gift is meant to ensure that the Cummer’s Chief Curator continues to be a leading voice in our cultural community for generations to come.”

The Weavers’ decades of generosity to and leadership at the Cummer Museum began in 1997 and has included important initiatives such as Weaver First Saturday Free for All – free admission for all visitors the first Saturday of each month. Their Weaver Family Foundation Fund at The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida also has provided long-term support for Art Connections, the Museum’s interactive learning center for children and adolescents, as well as Cummer in the Classroom, a comprehensive art education program for Title 1 elementary school children.

Because of their inspiring generosity to provide access and meaningful connections with art and nature, the Weavers encourage and advance Ninah Cummer’s vision for the Museum as a ‘center of beauty and culture for all of Jacksonville.’

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