Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Artistic Outreach: Museum and Lucas Metro Housing announce partnership

The signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Toledo Museum of Art (TMA) and Lucas Metropolitan Housing (LMH) was the centerpiece of a press conference today announcing a partnership between the two entities.   

The Toledo Museum of Art is intentionally focused on inclusion and diversity, and this program is a large step in that direction. Amidst recent criticism of the Museum for selling works of art that were not being displayed but were part of the Museum’s collection, the purpose provided for selling the pieces was that the funds raised will be used to assist the Museum in further integrating with the community. 

Adam Levine, Edward Drummond and Florence Scott Libbey Director of the Museum, commented at the gathering that the Toledo Museum of Art has done a good job of connecting with and being an integral part of the community, but that connection is not as pronounced within the approximate two mile radius of the Museum Campus.   

TMA staff has been tasked with connecting more fully with neighborhoods within a two mile radius of the Museum and they have gained branch partners in those neighborhoods to assist in the effort. 

The partnership with LMH, which provides housing and community services while connecting with 18,000 people each day, has an initial phase of four years until 2026, and is expected to continue well into the future. The Toledo Museum of Art will provide free and feasible art making activities in LMH locations and will “meet audiences where they are,” no longer maintaining just the Museum’s passive role in the community, but now becoming more active and taking that activity outside the walls of the Museum buildings themselves. 

Levine commented that survey research commissioned by TMA shows that one significant impediment to visits to the Museum is that people do not feel that they have been invited.  Now, with this partnership among other similar initiatives with the 40 or so partners that the Museum has enlisted in the recent past, they will be connecting through art making and an authentic sense of belonging. The program has a series of phases in activities that will be evaluated and modified based on metrics and feedback concerning the program. 

LMH Chief of Staff Rachel Gagnon, who also spoke at the event, related her experiences of growing up with a mother who is an artist who instilled the value of art and the recognition of the arts as a constant presence in any vibrant community. LMH also seeks to serve its mission to provide a connection between the community and LMH residents. Gagnon commented that LMH residents include many artists, who work in varied mediums,  and this partnership will enhance and develop that artistic talent. LMH is committed to this program, and others, to provide creative solutions to help residents achieve a path of self sufficiency and community building.

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