Jacksonville, Fla. (September 26, 2016)—Education is at the core of MOCA Jacksonville’s mission, and now the Museum has a new member at the core of its education team. The Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville, a cultural resource of the University of North Florida, has named Anthony Aiuppy as the new J. Wayne and Delores Barr Weaver Educator for Family and Children’s Programs. “We have known Anthony Aiuppy for many years, as an educator, an artist, an installer, and an intern,” said Ben Thompson, deputy director at MOCA Jacksonville. “He has impressed us with his innovative ideas and boundless enthusiasm. Everyone on staff is excited to work with Anthony in his new role as the Weaver Educator.”
In November 2015, the Weavers gave $500,000 to endow an education position at MOCA Jacksonville, with responsibilities that include designing school tours for thousands of students, crafting lesson plans for the Museum’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. 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 are thrilled about the choice of Anthony Aiuppy as the new Weaver Educator,” said Delores Barr Weaver. “His multifaceted experience will propel MOCA Jacksonville's educational programs in exciting directions, helping children build critical skills while gaining an appreciation of contemporary art. We’re excited to help provide these programs for generations to come.”
Aiuppy holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in painting and drawing from the University of North Florida (2010) and a Master of Fine Arts in painting from the Savannah College of Art and Design (2013). He has previous experience teaching elementary art for Duval County Public Schools and drawing classes at Reddi-Arts. He has been an art instructor at MOCA Art Camp in 2015 and 2016 and an adjunct drawing and painting professor at UNF since 2014.
“I am looking forward to building upon past successes in MOCA education with a team that is concerned with creating and implementing comprehensive and thought-provoking curricula and programs for school tours, MOCA Art Camp, and other family programming,” Aiuppy said. “I believe that when students get excited about the arts, their families tend to become more impassioned and involved in the art and become culture-makers in the community.”
Aiuppy is also a practicing artist whose work merges socioeconomic and political themes with his personal experiences of living with the residue of a racially divided American South. His viscous, richly colored paintings have appeared in exhibitions at MOCA Jacksonville, the Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens, the Kent Campus Gallery at Florida Stage College at Jacksonville, the Haskell Gallery at the Jacksonville International Airport, the Alexander Hall Gallery at the Savannah College of Art and Design, CoRK Arts District, and many others.
As the content expert entrusted with the development of all children’s and family programming, Aiuppy will work with a team of Museum educators to shape all the encounters young visitors and their caregivers have with MOCA Jacksonville.
Through its initiatives, MOCA Jacksonville inspires a love of the arts and creativity in nearly 16,000 children annually. More than 60 percent of these young visitors are low-income students, who have had little or no exposure to contemporary art and may have no previous experience visiting a museum.
MOCA Jacksonville’s Voice of the People provides fourth-grade students from schools serving at-risk children in under-served areas 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. Art Aviators 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 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.
“Giving students the opportunity to explore the world around them through different artistic media and seeing what they come up with through trial and error and critical thinking is something that I really enjoy,” Aiuppy said. “Being an educator is contagious, and I am inspired by my students on a continual basis.”
The J. Wayne and Delores Barr Weaver Educator for Family and Children’s Programs enables MOCA Jacksonville to hone its educational mission to 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 develops family guides that foster a greater understanding of exhibition themes, artists, and works of art for caregivers, and help them engage in a meaningful, substantive dialogue with their accompanying children. These guides represent just one of many ways the Weavers’ gift furthers MOCA Jacksonville’s efforts to enhance access to the arts and to provide the tools and the inspiration sought by young visitors and their caregivers for an instructive and inspiring Museum experience.
Thony has been a long time contributor to Metro Jacksonville. Check out his work here: