JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — For 30 years, the Art Ventures fund, an initiative by the Community Foundation, has given more than $1.4 million in grants to artists and art organizations around the First Coast region.
To celebrate the initiative's 30th anniversary, the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens will showcase 30 artists in a special exhibit.
“As we reflect on the quiet power of the Art Ventures Fund to nurture our individual artists and small arts organizations over the past thirty years, it’s clear that this has been a remarkable investment,” said Martha Frye Baker, chair of The Community Foundation Board of Trustees. “By expanding the number of grants in this anniversary year, we hope to draw attention to the significance of having a vibrant arts community and its role in making Northeast Florida a better place for all its citizens.”
According to the museum, the 30 artists will each share one piece of work for the exhibit, one finished piece of work for every year of grantmaking.
The exhibition will coincide the with their celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, which will include free admission as well as live music and showcasing local artists.
Among the artwork featured in the new exhibit is Simone by Erin Kendrick.
Kendrick described the painting as:
"In my paintings and installations, I examine contemporary spectatorship and the power of language as it relates to perceptions of and about Black women, through the lens of the oppositional gaze. The oppositional gaze, penned by author bell hooks, “is one which cultivates a power to look, enabling Black female spectators to document what they see and construct their own dialogue with their own voice.” So often the voices and perspectives of Black women are dismissed, eliminated, or forgotten historically. My painting Simone is a rendering of a character in Screams Echo, a story about the trauma caused by the history and prevalence of both the physical and economic lynching of Black men written by Bobbie O’Connor. This cross–generational story centers the voices of the Black women—mothers, grandmothers, and daughters who continue to exist in the spaces that these men once occupied. In both my body of work and O’Connor’s story, Black women serve as both spectator and witness. These images and experiences honor Black women’s humanness as well as their voice and encourages empathy through both connection and confrontation."