Monday, April 15, 2024

Toledo According To… Rhonda Sewell

Name: Rhonda Sewell

Years lived in Toledo: 50 total

Occupation: Director of Belonging and Community Engagement at the Toledo Museum of Art

My short story: I grew up partially during my childhood in Toledo, spent my summers and every other holiday in Chicago and attended high school and college in Michigan (Ann Arbor and East Lansing). I returned to Toledo when I was 21 to be a city desk and features journalist at The Blade newspaper. I worked there for 18 years, then worked in varying positions at the Toledo Lucas County Public Library for 15 years, including as the inaugural position of Director of External and Governmental Affairs. I’ve also served as an adjunct instructor at BGSU. I now work at the Toledo Museum of Art (TMA) for the past three years in an inaugural position as Director of Belonging and Community Engagement. I volunteer with varying community organizations including The Arts Commission, TMACOG’s Leadership Development Committee and was recently elected to the state board of CreativeOhio. I’ve formally served as Board chair for ProMedica’s Toledo Children’s Hospital Foundation, and completed terms on numerous boards including the Toledo Ballet, YWCA, UT Media Foundation, American Heart Association and others. My community and work focuses consist of Nonprofit Organizations, Governmental Affairs, Diversity-Equity-Access-Inclusion, Servant Leadership, Strategy, Community Outreach, Journalism, Marketing and Media Relations.

The Frederick Douglass Community Association is the place in Toledo I’m most proud of.

The best meal I had in Toledo was the pizza at The Village Idiot.

The Toledo Museum of Art’s Block Party is my favorite annual event.

My favorite piece of local art is Elizabeth Catlett’s “Head of a Young Woman” sculpture.

My favorite piece of local architecture is the neoclassical Toledo Museum of Art or the Old West End’s historic buildings.

My favorite library feature is the youth services and diversity, equity and inclusion efforts.

The street I drive on/walk on most often is North Summit Street (to walk my dog!).  

If I could change one thing about Toledo, it would be the violence against young people and youth on youth violence.

The best view in Toledo is the Toledo Library rooftop.

When I’m away from Toledo, I can’t wait to have an Old Fashioned at TolHouse when I get back.

To find inspiration, I go to our local churches, particularly Rosary Cathedral Parish.

My mom, Billie Johnson, is the Toledoan I most admire. 

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