It takes a special person to have a heart that advocates for the arts. Arthur Milam was that type of special person.
Arthur Milam passed away on the morning of Wednesday, August 24, 2016 at the age of 89. Milam played an integral role in relocating the Museum of Contemporary Arts (MOCA) to downtown Jacksonville. Originally located off Art Museum Drive, Milam identified the historic Western Union Telegraph building across from Hemming Park as a proposed site for relocating MOCA. He then crafted a partnership with the City of Jacksonville to purchase the building. MOCA relocated to the heart of downtown Jacksonville in 1999.
Milam served on MOCA’s Board of Trustees from 1998 until 2009. He served as Chair for the first eight of those years. Current Chair of the Board of Trustees, Charles Gilman III, had this to say about Arthur Milam, “His service and vision has sustained the Museum through its many phases. Arthur encouraged me to become more involved with MOCA when I moved here, and as usual, his advice was prescient. I will remember Arthur as a man of generous spirit and strong character. We have lost a true friend.”
Milam and his wife, Teresa, have given more than $800,000 to MOCA since 1998. The couple also donated a James Bohary painting titled “Reef” (1988) to the Permanent Collection in memory of of Steve Champion and Terence Milam. In 2005 the Board voted unanimously to name MOCA’s lobby the “Teresa and Arthur Milam Lobby.”
In addition to his work with MOCA, Milam serves as a trustee for the Jacksonville Symphony from 1976 until 1984. He served as Chair during his final year as a trustee. Milam also served on the boards for Boys Club of Jacksonville, March of Dimes, and the Salvation Army.
The Milam’s home, located in Ponte Vedra Beach, was designed by celebrated modernist architect Paul Rudolph. Built in 1961, it was the last home Rudolph designed in Florida. In August 2016 the residence was added to the National Park Service’s National Register of Historic Places. An architectural drawing of the house is in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in New York.
Milan was named to the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville’s “Boundless: 40 Years, 40 Icons” in May 2016 to celebrate and honor his unwavering dedication to art and culture. Arthur’s generosity, service, and hardwork is something we aspire to cultivate at the Cultural Council. He will be deeply missed and his legacy will continue here in Jacksonville.
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