Mention Jacksonville, Florida, and people think of beaches and the Jaguars. Not many people associated Northeast Florida with an active arts movement, but Jacksonville is teeming with various art galleries and venues in the greater Jacksonville area.
The Cummer Musuem of Arts and Gardens
The Cummer Museum of Arts and Galleries makes the Riverside area of Jacksonville its home. The museum began in 1958, when Ninah Cummer, a local art enthusiast, left a well stating that her collection of art and her home would be given to the city of Jacksonville, to create an art museum. 2 years later, the city received a grant to expand the museum , adding buildings to the original home to expand the library. What started as a collection of 60 pieces of art, now totals over 5,000 pieces. The gallery houses medieval art, art from the baroque periods, as well as current collection from artists such as Norman Rockwell. Art ranges from pieces from 2100 BC to current art work. A children’s exhibit and hand on museum is also located at Cummers.
Located in historic Hemming Plaza in downtown Jacksonville, MOCA Jacksonville was founded in 1929 by the Jacksonville Fine Arts Society.In 1948, it become known as the Jacksonville Art Museum and in 1999, it became housed in its permanent home, the Old Western Union Telegraph Building on Hemming Plaza. The museum now encompasses 60,000 square feet on 6 floors, and houses over 800 pieces of art. The museum originates over 90 percent of its own art and showcases rotating exhibits. The art museum sponsor an events on the first Wednesday of every month called Florida Blue Art Walk. This event is free from 2 to 5 p.m and each month a different exhibit or floor of the museum is the featured walk of the month.
Ritz Theater and Museum Gallery
The Ritz Theater and Museum Gallery is located in an area of Jacksonville called Lavilla, an area often called The Harlem of the South. In 1998, the River City Renaissance Plan donated 4.2 million to create a theater and museum in this historic area. Groundbreaking occurred in the fall of 1998 and the theater and museum officially opened on September 30th, 1999. The museum’s goal is to highlight the history of local and national African Americans through art, photographs, documents and memorabilia. The museum’s permanent collection is entitled’ LIfting Every Voice in LaVilla”, which is a nod to it’s composer, James Weldon Johnson, who was a Jacksonville native. The museum houses art in its 11,000 square foot gallery and hosts rotating exhibits of local and national importance.
Call each galleries or event before attending to verify their hours and cost. Some have discounted rates during specific hours or on certain days. Next time you visit Northeast Florida, be sure to visit one of these art galleries in Jacksonville, Florida.