Tucson Museum of Art
Tucson, AZ

During an October visit to the Tucson Museum of Art, visually impaired veterans visited with Hank Tusinski, listened to musical inspiration for
~:Banda Calaca:~ and even touched components of his installation. This visit was made possible through the Museum's collaboration with the local VA hospital and the Southwestern Blind Rehabilitation Center. 

Image courtesy of the Tucson Museum of Art

Museums and Communities News is our roundup of stories demonstrating the myriad ways AAMD member museums serve their communities.  

AAMD Museums: We Want Your Stories! If you have a story you'd like us to consider for Museums & Communities News please contact Alison Wade.

MMoCA's Commitment to Hiring Veterans
Tom Hastings, one of the many veterans that work at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art. Photo by Chris Collins
Meet Tom Hastings. A US Army veteran, Hastings has struggled with PTSD, health problems, and homelessness. Now, through the VA's Compensated Work Therapy program, Hastings landed a job as a gallery attendant at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art

"It's like a free art education working here," he says. "I've turned into a sponge. Any time there's a lecture, I'm there." Hastings also says the job "has given me back my dignity."

At MMoCA, more than 25% of public operations staff are veterans of the U.S. Military. In August, the Museum was recognized by the Middleton, WI VA Hospital for its commitment to hiring former servicemen and women. Unemployment rates for U.S. military veterans are higher than for the civilian population, reinforcing the value of meaningful employment to help veterans create a new chapter following their service.

Currier Museum Serves Veterans & Military Families
Witness to History: James Nachtwey-Afghanistan, Ground Zero, Iraq, on view at the Currier Museum of Art

Image via the Currier Museum of Art Facebook
The Currier Museum of Art in Manchester, NH has a strong relationship with local veterans, which it leverages to provide programming of interest to this community and beyond. 

In 2013 the museum organized a Veterans Advisory Task Force of Vietnam Veterans in conjunction with a then-upcoming exhibition of art from the Vietnam War. The task force has remained actively involved at the museum, and recently provided feedback on a current exhibition on photojournalist James Nachtwey, which features images from 9/11, Afghanistan, and Iraq. The exhibition is also being interpreted by veterans as well as Iraqi refugees and an Afghani author. In conjunction with this exhibition, the Museum organized a community conversation about the impact that war has on service members, which covered topics from physical injuries to the impact of war on caregivers.
The Museum's art school, Currier Art Center, also provides full tuition summer camp scholarships to children of active military servicemen and women, (including National Guard and Reserves); 20 children received those scholarships this year.

Norman Rockwell Museum Honors Veterans with Exhibition, Programs, Free Admission
Yuko Shimizu, Queen of Clubs, 2015. (C) Yuko Shimizu. All rights reserved.
The Norman Rockwell Museum has partnered with Berkshire Bank to provide free admission for U.S. Veterans and active military to current exhibition 
Love a Vet: Honoring Our Veterans. The exhibition offers artist commentary on the military, patriotism, and the struggles that many veterans face upon their re-entry into civilian life. 

In conjunction with this exhibition, the museum offered a special program on Veterans' Day. Programs included a panel highlighting Soldier On, a regional organization committed to ending homelessness by providing veterans with transitional housing and supportive services; as well as artist talks, music performances; and art-making activities.
Tucson Museum of Art's Fruitful VA Collaboration
The Tucson Museum of Art collaborates with the local Veterans Affairs (VA) hospital on programs including gallery experiences for The Southwestern Blind Rehabilitation Center and a workshop for the Veteran Creative Writing Class from the Southern Arizona VA Health Care system. 

Kelcie S. Douglas, Blind Rehabilitation Specialist from the Southwest Blind Rehabilitation Center, reflects on the Center's programs at the TMA. View an image of one of these programs at the top of this email.

The Southwestern Blind Rehabilitation Center has had the good fortune of working with the Educational staff at the Tucson Museum of Art since August of 2015.  In hopes of expanding our recreational programming for our veterans, we worked closely to develop a series of educational visits to the museum.  These Recreational outings encourage our veterans to use the skills they learn in their training programs (i.e. provide new opportunities to use optical devices for better viewing, improve orientation and mobility techniques to navigate the new environment, and support socialization amongst veterans and support staff).  The tours at the museum have been extremely beneficial for our veterans, and have helped them learn more about Tucson as a community, as well as a supporter of the arts.

In the exhibition Western Heroes of Pulp Fiction, two artwork labels were collaboratively written by the Veteran Creative Writing Class from the Southern Arizona VA Health Care system.  Community labels in this exhibition shift the lens from a single story about the Western hero to one that has multiple viewpoints, including Veteran voice. Following is one of the responses and the accompanying work of art that inspired the label.

R.G. Harris, Sonny Tabor's Trail Drive, 1935 Cover illustration for "Sonny Tabor's Trail Drive," Wild West Weekly, Vol. 97 #2, Oct. 19, 1935 oil on linen, 23.375 x 21 in. Private Collection
"Are you kidding me?!"
"Hey Silver, look at those two arguing again."
"How long has it been, Chester?"
"Ever since we were colts."
"They have it easy. We have to carry them!
What are they fighting about this time?!"
"Silver, you know how it is: give two boys some sun, a lost race, and a lifetime of jealousy and this is what you get."
"Ever since Sonny was born with that silver spoon in his mouth, Jason's always been in his shadow."
"Two short-tempered brothers, the desert heat, and a gun, and this is what you get."
"Don't worry. That water will cool 'em off."
"Until next time."

Veterans Empowered Through Art at Philadelphia Museum of Art
The Philadelphia Museum of Art Veterans Empowered through Art (V.E.T.) program uses repeated museum visits and art-making to provide therapy to military veterans with mental and behavioral issues, including PTSD. 

After several museum visits to familiarize them with the collection, participants begin to shape their own tour of the museum based on their own preferences. They will also have the opportunity to take other groups on the tour that they create, according to PMA accessible programs coordinator Marissa Clark. "This is empowering them to learn new skills," Clark says of the program.

Vietnam veteran Ronald Brooks says that V.E.T. has "
given me more confidence to be around other people besides vets." Keith Ockimey, who served in Bosnia during Operation Joint Forge in 2002, says that at the PMA "You forget your problems and your cares...It's awesome and therapeutic." 

Community Impact Map 
Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

Richmond, VA

Paul Mellon Collection Educator Jeffrey Allison works with students from John B. Cary Elementary School to write songs based on their interactions with art at VMFA. 

Photo: David Stover Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

VMFA's Office of Statewide Partnerships delivers programs and exhibitions throughout Virginia via a voluntary network of more than 1,000 non-profit institutions, each of which is represented by a dot on the above map.

Click the map to view a list of all of VMFA's community partners and more detailed regional maps.

AAMD's mapping project provides a vivid illustration of museums' reach across their communities.Participation is free and available to all AAMD members, including museums in Mexico and Canada. 

Want to get your museum's services mapped? Contact Andy Finch.
Inside|Out Takes Museum's Art Into Akron
William Sommer, Landscape with Yellow Clouds, 1915. Installed at 57 W. North St., Akron

Photo: Shane Wynn
In 2015, the Akron Art Museum installed 30 reproductions of artworks from the Museum's collection in 6 local communities in and around Akron through its Inside|Out Program. It's intended to encourage art appreciation and discussion by embedding the artworks in unexpected places throughout the community. 

While implementing the program the Museum worked with community partners (such as Akron Better Block, Akron-Summit County Public Library, City of Cuyahoga Falls, and the University of Akron) to encourage neighborhood-specific programs and events surrounding each area's exhibition.

"If we think about the role of an art museum, or any cultural institution, in the 21st century, it has to be to reach out to people, to be open in presenting your work, your scholarship, and ultimately helping people live a more creative life," says Akron Art Museum Director Mark Masuoka.

Funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Inside|Out is modeled upon a similar program implemented by the Detroit Institute of Arts in 2010 that placed reproductions of DIA artworks throughout the city. 

Folk Art Museum Partners with Community College to Diversify Museum Field
Image courtesy of the American Folk Art Museum
The American Folk Art Museum is developing an intensive work and study program organized with LaGuardia Community College - located one block from the Museum's annex location in Long Island City, Queens, New York.

Students selected for the Museum Career Internship Program will receive paid internships in departments such as Curatorial and Exhibitions, Education and Public Programs, Collections Management, and Library and Archival Resources. A major objective of the program is to encourage and foster more students of diverse backgrounds in their pursuit of museum careers.

"We're thrilled to partner with the American Folk Art Museum for an opportunity that will not only expand our students' aesthetic perspective of fine art, but also will show them how knowledge and appreciation of the arts translates into a fulfilling and viable career choice," said LaGuardia Community College President, Dr. Gail O. Mellow."

The Museum Career Internship Program is made possible by a major grant from the Mellon Foundation.

Vero Beach Museum of Art's Moonshot Moment for Arts and Literacy
Pre-K Students from Glendale Elementary School with their #moonshotmoment Masterpiece from the Vero Beach Museum of Art
Indian River County's "Moonshot Moment" is a multi-year community initiative seeking to have 90% of all third graders reading at grade level by 2018. The Vero Beach Museum of Art is a partner on this initiative, along with countless teachers, parents, individuals and other institutions. 

As part of Moonshot Moment, the Vero Beach Museum of Art hosts professional development training of district teachers, incorporating strategies for using the power of the arts to help students reach the Moonshot Moment literacy goal. The Museum worked with district teachers to create "Moonshot Masterpieces," public awareness displays for all thirteen of the school district's public elementary school campuses and for the Gifford Youth Achievement Center.

In October, the Moonshot Moment Outreach Team launched a 4-week social media campaign inviting people to visit all of the Moonshot Masterpieces and share their visit on Facebook and Twitter, thereby raising awareness for the Moonshot Moment, its literacy goal, and the importance of art in achieving that goal. You can view the entries at #moonshotmoment
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