Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens is one of the winners of a special judging of the Daily Point of Light Award being honored this April during National Volunteer Week. Sponsored by the Points of Light Foundation, National Volunteer Week is about thanking one of America's most valuable assets – our volunteers – and calling the public's attention to all that they do to improve our communities.
Learn more about recognizing your volunteers.
The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens is home to the Jacksonville affiliate of VSA arts, an international organization founded by Jean Kennedy Smith to provide opportunities in the arts for individuals with disabilities. The Cummer Museum and VSA arts jointly support programs for exceptional students and adults that engage the human spirit, spur the imagination, and spark the intellect. The Cummer Museum has received local, state and national recognition for its multifaceted educational programming including the 2000 ADA Compliant and Disability Friendly Award from the City of Jacksonville Mayor's Disability Council. Annually, over 13,000 underserved special needs students and adults directly benefit from these educational initiatives, making the Cummer one of the country's most accessible museums.
This year marks the 11th year anniversary of the VSA Arts Festival at The Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens. The four-day art festival provides meaningful art experiences for 2,600 children with disabilities. For many of these children it is their one opportunity to experience the beauty of original works of art and the creative power inherent in the art-making process.
Last year more than 870 volunteers devoted their time and talent to the festival. Volunteers represent every segment of the community and include corporate volunteers, university students, high school students, school system staff members, museum docents, and hundreds of other individuals.
The VSA festival has been recognized as a national model by VSA Arts International and is the ONLY such event to happen in a museum anywhere in the country. The festival is unique in that it not only involves children in making art, but they do so right in the galleries, surrounded by masterpieces of original art.
One teacher writes of her student’s experience…, “It is a rare occasion when my children are not just accepted in the community but honored as you honored them through Very Special Arts.”