The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens is honored to announce it has won the Gold award from the 2017 Southeastern Museum Conference (SEMC) Exhibition Competition for LIFT: Contemporary Expressions of the African American Experience. The competition focuses on exhibitions that are well designed, have educational value, and treat objects with care and respect, showcasing the best in the profession and providing benchmarks for the regional exhibition efforts in southeastern museums. The award was presented to the Museum on September 12, 2017, in the under $25,000 budget category.
LIFT was a collection of works by 10 local artists responding to Jacksonville’s rich artistic African American heritage, and focused on creating an artful platform to discuss issues around race, equity, and community. Participating artists created works utilizing the original lyrics to “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing,” a hymn written by Jacksonville natives James Weldon Johnson and John Rosamond Johnson in 1900 for a celebration of Lincoln’s birthday. The works included abstract emotional responses, traditional portraiture, and even completely non-objective pieces. These new works challenged and inspired, giving way to contemporary views of the lyrics and social relevance to the Johnson brothers’ masterpiece. LIFT was on display at the Museum from June 14, 2016 through February 12, 2017.
“There were a total of 18 applicants to the Exhibition Competition this year. I coordinated the 2017 Exhibition Competition as the Southeastern Museums Council regional representative for the Curators Committee of the American Alliance of Museums,” said Denise Drury Homewood, Chair of SEMC 2017 Exhibition Competition & Executive Director of the John W. Bardo Fine & Performing Arts Center.
The SEMC Exhibition Competition honors curatorial excellence in museums across the Southeast. Awarded institutions, like the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens, were selected by a committee of three professionals in the museum field using a criteria based on the American Alliance of Museum’s 2012 ‘Standards for Museum Exhibitions and Indicators of Excellence’.
The Southeastern Museum Conference is a networking organization that serves to foster professionalism, mutual support, and communication. The SEMC is an association of museums, museum staff, independent professionals, and corporate partners in 14 states, including Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. As a nonprofit membership association, SEMC strives to increase educational and professional development opportunities and improve the interchange of ideas, information, and cooperation. The organization seeks to encourage diversity and foster mutual respect and collegiality, and develop new initiatives within the larger context of the profession.
Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens
829 Riverside Avenue
Jacksonville, Florida 32204
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