Lori Eisenberg is a museum educator at the Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens in Jacksonville, FL. I had the pleasure of working with Lori for about a year during my internship at the museum and she is really a spectacular woman. Last semester she was kind enough to be interviewed for my group project for Developmental Psychology. The questions below revolve around The Weaver Program. To give you further insight, here is a blog Lori wrote on the Weaver Academy in January (scroll all the way down to skip to the interview).
Visit The Cummer on any given weekday and you may notice a lot of activity. Lines of children pass through the galleries and gardens and bring Art Connections to life. Our school tours bring thousands of area children through the museum doors. A program was formed a few years ago to bring those students to the museum who may otherwise never visit.
The Weaver Academy of Art at The Cummer began in 2007 with a goal of increasing access to the museum for underserved students in Jacksonville. The program serves 8 underserved Duval County public schools where over 3,500 students visit the museum for curriculum and special exhibition tours and participate in outreach activities in their classrooms with Art Connections staff. In 2007, the program’s inaugural year, many students had never set foot in an art museum and even arrived with some nervousness. Now students confidently step off the bus and walk through the Art Connections entrance with pride and familiarity, exclaiming “Hey, I’ve been here before! I love the Cummer Museum!” Classes visit at least twice per school year and every student is provided a pass to the museum so that they may visit outside of school time with their families.
The learning continues with visits to each classroom by an Art Connections staff member. Students become familiar with artwork and vocabulary when they are at school so they are prepared for their museum visit. Walking through one of the schools, you might see they have their very own Cummer Gallery. A selection of works from the Cummer’s permanent collection are reproduced and displayed in the halls that students, teachers and parents pass through everyday. When they see the same work during their visit at the musem, they often announce, “I’ve seen that at my school!”
The Weaver Academy of Art is generously supported by J. Wayne and Delores Barr Weaver, Deutsche Bank, Dianne T. and Charles E. Rice Family Foundation, Chartrand Foundation, EverBank, City of Jacksonville and the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville, Inc.