Long-time Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens supporters J. Wayne and Delores Barr Weaver recently gifted $3 million to endow the chief curator position for the museum. The newly endowed position will be named after the couple and is to ensure the museum attracts top talent, according to a news release submitted to The Resident in February. The position oversees efforts to build, present and conserve the museum’s permanent collection and directs the presentation of exhibitions.
Holly Keris, current chief curator, has made major contributions over the past 17 years and those who come after will similarly shape the institution’s vision and mission and lead its artistic program, according to the release.
“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 added that the gift was meant to vouchsafe the curator’s position as “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 have 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.
“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.”