Ensconced In Its New Downtown Location, The Museum
Houses One Of The Finest Collections Of Modern And Contemporary Art

TEXT Karen B. King McCallum
PHOTOGRAPHY Courtesy of Jacksonville Museum of Modern Art, Jacksonville, FL

ABOVE: JMOMA’s permanent collection includes Robert Zakanitch’s “How I Love Ya, How I Love Ya.”

ABOVE: Known for his colorful portraits of women, Alex Katz painted “Red Coat” in 1983.

ABOVE: : “Dawn,” shown here, and “Dusk” comprise a 1946 series by Alexander Calder.

ABOVE: : The main lobby accesses the atrium gallery. Photography by Neil Rashba, Jacksonville, FL.



In 1931, no one could have imagined that the newly built Western Union Telegraph building in downtown Jacksonville would one day be home to the Jacksonville Museum of Modern Art. Founded in 1924, the Jacksonville Fine Arts Society — as it was known then — was still a fledgling organization itself.
Over the next 80 years, however, the organization continued to evolve, changing names and locations as part of its metamorphosis into a world-class art institution. In 1936, the Jacksonville Fine Arts Society merged with the Civic Art Institute, and in 1948, the organization moved into the historic Fleming Mansion and changed its name to the Jacksonville Museum of Art. Another move in 1966 brought the museum to the Koger Executive Center.
Its most recent transformation occurred in 1999, when the museum acquired the Western Union Telegraph building, and members voted to change the museum’s name to the Jacksonville Museum of Modern Art to more accurately reflect the scope of its holdings and mission.
JMOMA moved into the building in 2000 and began renovations the following year. Throughout the construction process, it held exhibitions in temporary space within the building. In May 2003, the museum celebrated its grand opening.
Today, the 60,000-square-foot museum houses one of the finest collections of modern and contemporary art, with over 14,000 square feet of gallery space. Its permanent collection comprises more than 700 works by 20th- and 21st-century artists of international acclaim, including Pablo Picasso, Joan Miró, Alexander Calder, Helen Frankenthaler and Frank Stella.
Upon entering the main lobby of the five-story structure, visitors will find a 40-foot-high atrium gallery, as well as a museum store and a café on the first floor. Traveling exhibitions occupy the second floor, while regional exhibitions, the permanent collection, works on paper and photography fill the third floor. The fourth floor is for administrative offices, and the fifth floor accommodates an interactive center and classrooms. Even the basement contains a photography darkroom, classroom space and an auditorium.
“While the museum’s focus and name have changed several times, it has always stressed the importance of art education for children and adults,” says Jane Craven, the museum’s president and CEO.
As part of its commitment to the community, JMOMA showcases the works of regional artists from the Southeast with exhibitions that rotate about every three months. Upcoming shows will feature works by Atlanta artists Pam Longobardi and David Isenhour, and Miami artists Ray Azcuy and Federico Uribe.
JMOMA also stays on the cutting edge by presenting such exhibitions as “Push Play: Redefining Pop,” in which dynamic wall installations constructed of vinyl, aluminum and plastic share space with floor sculptures that fuse childhood toys with modern geometric forms.
On display through Sept. 12, 2004, “this exhibition offers a glimpse into the works of some of today’s most innovative artists who borrow from various successive contemporary art movements while charting new creative territory,” says George Kinghorn, chief curator.
On the heels of this exhibition comes “Highlights from The Haskell Collection,” slated to run from Sept. 24, 2004, to Jan. 2, 2005. For this exhibition, Kinghorn tapped the private collection of Preston Haskell, one of America’s foremost collectors of Abstract Expressionism. Works by Hans Hofmann, Franz Kline, Willem de Kooning, Robert Motherwell, Frank Stella and many others are among the collection.
JMOMA is also spearheading other art initiatives to make the downtown area a cultural hot spot. These include “Sunday ArtFusion,” a free children’s program; First Wednesday “Artwalk,” a tour of galleries and art spots; and “Underground Cinema at JMOMA,” an independent and foreign film series.
“There is an aura of excitement that is drawing bigger and bigger crowds,” Craven says. “Our goal is to provide the most relevant, exciting programming possible.”
For more information, contact JMOMA at 904/366-6911 or visit its website at