Year of the River – Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens

By: Amber Sesnick

Year of the River has provided a platform for artists, environmentalists, and historians to engage visitors in a dynamic discussion of the St. Johns River, which has been called the cultural current of our city. The river has been an important factor in economic growth, recreation, and creating better quality of life for Jacksonville residents.  Through art and cultural experiences, it has been possible to increase awareness around its importance and well-being.

More than 90,000 people from the Jacksonville community were able to view Reflections: Artful Perspectives on the St. Johns River and engage in its related programming. From interpretive dance to panel discussions to school tours, classes, and more, image3 the Cummer Museum was able to participate in dozens of collaborations with local organizations, artists, and performers. These collaborative projects enhanced the Museum’s public offerings and served as vital enrichment opportunities for the people of Jacksonville to enjoy. Two remaining programs for Year of the River are scheduled at the Cummer Museum.

DSC_2610_editOn October 3, from 10am to 4pm the Museum will host Envirofest, a free family-friendly event focused on celebrating the connections between the arts and the world around us through interactive experiences. While exploring the Cummer Campus, guests will enjoy live music from local musicians, interactive booths and projects from environmentally conscious vendors, and the opportunity to view artists in action. This day is free to the public thanks to Weaver First Saturday Free for All, and will highlight many of the amazing new partnerships built from Cultural Fusion Year of the River collaborations.

The final event is an original play entitled To the Sea by Kelby Siddons, produced in association with Players by the Sea and LEAP Creative, which will take place on October 21, at 7pm. This three-man play will explore the human relationship with water.

This year-long collaborative effort has strengthened the Museum, its relationships, and the community’s access to quality programs. The exhibition and Cultural Fusion’s Year of the River have been a great catalyst for partnerships and community support and have helped enrich the city’s cultural offerings. The exhibition will remain on display at the Museum through October 18, 2015.