J. Wayne and Delores Barr Weaver gave $500,000 to endow an education position at MOCA Jacksonville.

The 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 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.

As the content expert entrusted with the development of all children’s and family programming, the Weaver Educator works 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.

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.