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J. Wayne and Delores Barr Weaver endow education position at MOCA Jacksonville
Delores Barr Weaver and J. Wayne Weaver are giving $500,000 to endow an education position at MOCA Jacksonville. Image courtesy of The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida.

JACKSONVILLE, FLA.- J. Wayne and Delores Barr Weaver are giving $500,000 to endow an education position at the Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville, a cultural resource of the University of North Florida.

The core responsibilities of the J. Wayne and Delores Barr Weaver Educator for Family and Children’s Programs include designing school tours for thousands of students, crafting lesson plans for MOCA Jacksonville’s outreach programs, designing innovative art-making activities, creating curriculum for MOCA’s annual summer camp, and conceiving in-gallery interpretative and activity guides for children of all ages.

The Weavers’ generous gift helps ensure quality education programs at MOCA Jacksonville for years to come.

“We are overjoyed that the Weavers recognize the importance art plays in all areas of education and MOCA Jacksonville’s role as a thought-leader in arts-integrated education,” said Marcelle Polednik, director and chief curator of MOCA Jacksonville. “We take pride in crafting individualized, strategic lesson plans and engaging learning experiences for children of all ages, as well as the entire family unit. The Weavers’ endowment of this MOCA Jacksonville position will help sustain and expand the educational offerings we provide.”

Education is core to MOCA Jacksonville’s mission. Whether it be through the robust school tour program, outreach initiatives that serve low-income students and those with varying learning exceptionalities, in-gallery activities that facilitate family interaction and discussion, art-making programs for families, or adult programs, MOCA fuels the minds of all generations and ignites a love of contemporary art and learning.

“We enthusiastically support MOCA Jacksonville’s mission to promote the discovery, knowledge, and advancement of the art, artists, and ideas of our time,” said Delores Barr Weaver. “Their educational programs build critical skills while introducing an appreciation of contemporary art. We’re excited to help provide these programs for generations to come.”

As the content expert entrusted with the development of all children’s and family programming, the J. Wayne and Delores Barr Weaver Educator for Family and Children’s Programs will play a pivotal role in the shaping of all the encounters that the youngest visitors and their caregivers have with the MOCA, contemporary art, and visual arts as a whole.

Elizabeth Miron, who has worked as MOCA’s K-12 curriculum specialist for three years, takes on the position of the J. Wayne and Delores Barr Weaver Educator for Family and Children’s Programs. She is a talented individual who has the expertise, passion, and commitment to bolster and invigorate all of these efforts, infuse them with greater continuity, and strategically align them with the greater goal of fostering enriched learning for children and their family units.

“I am honored to be named as the first J. Wayne and Delores Barr Weaver Educator for Family and Children’s Programs,” Miron said. “I look forward to expanding the innovative programing MOCA Jacksonville provides for children and families.”

Miron graduated from the University of North Florida in 2007 with a bachelor’s degree in fine arts in painting and drawing. While at UNF, she studied both education and art history. After graduation, she worked for Duval County Public Schools as an elementary art teacher. After her first year of teaching, she was elected Teacher of the Year at Whitehouse Elementary. In 2012, Elizabeth began working for MOCA Jacksonville as a part-time educator, eventually growing her position into the J. Wayne and Delores Barr Weaver Educator for Family and Children’s Programs. At MOCA, she oversees programming for children and families, serving about 16,000 students a year. She creates and evaluates curriculum for all programs, oversees the delivery of all outreach, tours, and educational initiatives, creates age-sensitive in-gallery activities and guides, and oversees three educators. She has presented at the Florida Art Educators Association conference, Southeastern Museums Conference, and National Art Educators Association conference. She is also the museum division director for the Florida Art Educators Association, where she reports on division initiatives, interprets trends in museum education, and writes for the association’s magazine Fresh Paint.

Through its initiatives, MOCA Jacksonville serves the community, inspiring a love of the arts and creativity in nearly 16,000 children annually. More than 60 percent of these young visitors are Title I (low-income) students, who have had little or no exposure to contemporary art and for whom a trip to MOCA may be their first-ever visit to a museum.

MOCA Jacksonville’s Voice of the People provides fourth-grade students from Title I schools with an opportunity to create audio guides that describe and interpret works of art from MOCA’s Permanent Collection. This educational initiative fosters critical thinking, writing, and oral communication skills while providing an opportunity for creative expression.

Art Aviators is an educational initiative designed for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and other exceptionalities. While children with ASD struggle with verbal communication, social relations, and sensory development, creative art-making activities enable them to foster new means of self-expression and communication. Utilizing three educational components—art studio, galleries, and MOCA Jacksonville’s Art Explorium Loft—the Art Aviators program harnesses art and art-making activities as means of promoting expression and social interaction among children with ASD and their teachers, caregivers, and peers. Created in 2007, this innovative program, previously called Rainbow Artists, and its results have been nationally recognized by museum associations and health care providers alike.

Art Fusion is a fun and informative art-making program for families led by a professional art educator. The program provides a creative and inspiring environment for children to work with their parents or adult caregivers. Hands-on projects are inspired by works the Permanent Collection or current exhibitions and take place the first Sunday of the month in Hemming Park and first Wednesday of the month on the fifth floor during Downtown Art Walk.

By bringing all of MOCA Jacksonville’s children’s learning activities under one umbrella, the J. Wayne and Delores Barr Weaver Educator for Family and Children’s Programs will enable the Museum to hone its educational mission to support and nurture the bond between children and their respective family units. Comfort and knowledge are keys to heightening family participation in the arts. The Weaver Educator will develop a full complement of children’s and family exhibition guides that foster greater understanding of exhibition themes, artists, and works of art for caregivers, and aid their ability to engage in a meaningful, substantive dialogue with their accompanying children. This initiative represents just one of many ways in which this award will further MOCA Jacksonville’s efforts to enhance the community’s access to the arts and to provide the tools and the inspiration sought by our youngest visitors and their caregivers as part of an instructive, dynamic, and inspiring Museum experience.

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