Larkin Smith’s passion for art lives on at MOCA

Larkin Smith’s passion for art lives on at MOCA
Boys Tethered by David Hilliard © 2008, purchased through the Linda Larkin Smith Acquisition Fund.

First tribute brings tears to family’s eyes –

A trustee’s legacy comes to life at the Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville in a tender photographic portrait of a boy on a fog shrouded lake.
Boys Tethered, which depicts a boy halfway between childhood and manhood untying a canoe hitched to a wooden dock, is the first piece acquired by the Linda Larkin Smith Acquisition Fund.

Larkin Smith served on MOCA’s Board of Trustees for more than a decade until she died in March of 2010. The acquisition fund was established as a lasting tribute in her honor and grew out of the family’s request that donations be made to the museum in lieu of flowers at her memorial service.
“People came together and wanted to do something,” said Susie Arbizzani Miller, who served with Larkin Smith as a MOCA trustee for many years. “I think Linda would have been thrilled.”

Internationally known photographer David Hilliard shot the full color photographic prints, processed them with traditional chemicals and mounted them on three aluminum panels. Known as a triptych, artwork divided into three panels arises from early Christian art and is commonly found in churches.

The piece is now on exhibit in Inside/Out: MOCA Jacksonville’s Permanent Collection, which runs through Aug. 25.

Museum curators searched diligently for the appropriate piece to honor Larkin Smith and broaden its permanent collection, which represents work from 1960 to the present.
When the photograph was recently unveiled to her son Bob Smith, and his father Robert, “We were both instantly shocked,” Bob Smith said. “I was in tears.”
To Smith, the piece is serene, peaceful and ethereal.

“It’s very fitting for her,” he said. His mother had grown up in Ortega and had fond childhood memories of playing along the river.
A savvy business woman, Larkin Smith was involved in several civic activities while she worked as vice president of investments at Raymond James & Associates in Jacksonville.
She poured her heart and soul into the museum, Arbizzani Miller said, and was the

Boys Tethered by David Hilliard © 2008, purchased through the Linda Larkin Smith Acquisition Fund.

Boys Tethered by David Hilliard © 2008, purchased through the Linda Larkin Smith Acquisition Fund.

person who suggested MOCA explore a partnership with the University of North Florida. The university acquired MOCA in 2009.

“The piece is a monument to her passion for the museum,” said MOCA’s Development Director Jason Kirk. “I think it’s striking.”
The Hilliard acquisition fits MOCA’s strategy of adding pieces to its permanent collection that are related to previous exhibits, Kirk said. Another Hilliard piece was part of a photography exhibit at MOCA roughly 18 months ago.

Hilliard draws from his personal life and those around him as subjects in his panoramic photographs, which are usually staged. He will be MOCA’s guest artist, discussing his work and process, at 2 p.m., Aug. 10 in an event that is free and open to the public.

Smith, who owns the Grape and Grain Exchange in San Marco, said he will stay involved with MOCA not only because it was important to his mother, but because he’s also an art lover.
“She was always a fan of art and culture,” Smith said, noting his mother would take him to theater and dance performances when he was a child. “She rubbed off on me in a good way.”

For more information on how to donate to the Linda Larkin Smith Acquisition Fund please visit Or, call the museum at (904) 366-6911.
Leave your own lasting legacy
Your own love of contemporary art can live on with a lasting legacy at the Museum of Contemporary Art for less than you might expect. MOCA Jacksonville’s Theater Seat Naming campaign offers patrons of the arts to honor or remember a family member, friend or other special person with a gift of $1,000 per seat in MOCA’s Theater. For information about this campaign initiative, contact Jason Kirk, Director of Development, (904) 366-6911, ext. 202 or email [email protected]

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (3 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

You must be logged in to post a comment Login