The Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens in Jacksonville has received a $4 million gift from the Disosway Foundation of New York to endow the position of executive director. The donation is the second largest gift to the museum since it was established in 1961.
Founded by Dudley D. Johnson, a Jacksonville native who currently serves as a trustee of the museum, the foundation made the gift in honor of Johnson’s grandparents. The role will now be known as the George W. and Kathleen I. Gibbs Executive Director.
Born in 1884, George W. Gibbs was influential in the development of Jacksonville during the first half of the twentieth century. He was an inventor and pioneer shipbuilder and started the Gibbs Gas Engine Company in 1908 to build gas engines which he designed. By 1910, the company began building naval ships and was renamed the Gibbs Corporation. During World War II, the shipyards employed more than two thousand people. Kathleen Maria Ingraham was the daughter of James Edmondson Ingraham, one of Florida’s early railroad builders and land developers who led the first expedition through the Everglades and later served as mayor of Saint Augustine.
“This is a remarkable and extremely significant gift, and it will have an immediate and lasting impact on the museum,” board chair Ryan Schwartz said. “We are deeply grateful to the foundation, and Dudley Johnson, and are excited to honor the legacy of the Gibbs family at the Cummer Museum. A gift of this nature underscores the value individuals place on the museum and establishes a heightened level of prominence for our executive director’s position both locally and throughout the art world.”
The gift coincides with the museum’s nationwide search for a new executive director. A local search committee is working with Koya Leadership Partners, a national executive search firm, to find a new director before the end of the year.