Ohio Museums Association recognizes Toledo Museum of Art with three awards at annual gathering of museum leaders
The Ohio Museums Association (OMA) recognized the Toledo Museum of Art (TMA) with three awards at its annual conference held recently in Akron, Ohio. TMA Board Chair Cynthia Thompson was recognized as Museum Advocate of the Year, TMA’s Teen Apprentice Program was named the best Education and Outreach Program and the video Creating Community at the Toledo Museum of Art received a Silver Visual Communication Award. The awards recognize institutions and individuals who have gone “above and beyond” the normal call of duty to support their institution, serve their public and advance the cause of the museum community. Thompson was recognized for her vision and leadership, which has been transformative for the Museum. She has been instrumental in the Museum’s strategic planning process, giving oversight to TMA’s 2020 vision and its community-focused Master Plan. Her focus on excellence, using brilliant coaching and mentoring, have improved the organization’s capacity to deliver successfully for its visitors and surrounding community. Her relationships with both the business world and other nonprofits have resulted in strong collaborative efforts that continue to position the Museum as a leader in the region and among museums nationally. Her efforts as part of the campaign committee helped TMA raise more than $46 million for the Polishing the Gem fundraising campaign, which was designed to replenish the Museum’s endowment after the 2008 crash and allow it to remain a vital leader in art education. Leading by example, she and her husband, Ronald, are members of the Founder’s Circle and established a fund that will support Museum interns, with a focus on high school students from Toledo Public Schools (TPS). “Cynthia’s experiences in the business and nonprofit worlds give her a great deal of insight,” said Brian Kennedy, TMA’s Edward Drummond, and Florence Scott Libbey director. “She’s seen amazing success as both an executive and an advisor. Both of those sensibilities have served the Museum well indeed. Her vision and leadership are remarkable, and her accomplishments have been transformative for the Toledo Museum of Art.” The Teen Apprentice Program, which was recognized as the best education and outreach program for museums of similar size, serves the needs of the youth, the community, and the Museum, and helps develop future community leaders. As part of the program, Teen Apprentices visit the Museum on a regular basis to collaborate with their peers and TMA staff to design quarterly (Y)our Night events. Additionally, they learn more about museum careers and Toledo’s vibrant arts community. During the summer months, participants have the opportunity to be employed part-time as part of TMA’s education and engagement department to engage youth and family visitors and work on projects with visiting artists. This past year, teens from 33 area high schools—including 8 of 11 TPS high schools—were represented during the (Y)our Teen Night events. The Teen Apprentice experience has included the opportunity for summer employment at the Museum. The OMA Visual Communication awards recognize creative excellence in printed and digital materials produced and distributed by Ohio museums. TMA received a Silver Award for Creating Community at the Toledo Museum of Art, a three-minute film that showcases the popular installation Rebecca Louise Law: Community, which was installed in Canaday Gallery in 2018. The video, which was created by Justin Camuso, digital content producer at TMA, includes interviews with the artist, as well as Halona Norton-Westbrook, the Museum’s director of curatorial affairs and Maria Iafelice, TMA’s youth, and family programs manager. An important highlight of the video is showing how volunteers from the Toledo region played an essential role in installing the exhibition.
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