Deadline Now: Toledo Museum of Art
Friday, July 15 at 8:30 p.m.
Toledo Museum of Art (TMA) Director Brian Kennedy and Kelly Garrow, Director of Communications for the Museum, join host Jack Lessenberry to share with viewers what's new at the TMA, how the Museum faces economic challenges, and much more.
On the web: www.toledomuseum.org
Here are Jack Lessenberry's Final Thoughts for this edition of Deadline Now:
For years, I’ve heard people who are new to the Toledo area tell me they were surprised by three things. They tell me the newspaper is better than they’d expect for a city this size.
They are impressed by the public library system. But most of all, many seem blown away by the Toledo Museum of Art. Not only by the size of its collections, but their quality. Some are incredulous that this museum is in a mid-sized city in the Midwest.
Well, it was started by the wealth and vision of one couple, Florence and Edward Drummond Libbey, who made the founding gift. But many others have given since. There was a tradition in past centuries that those who could afford to support the arts did so. As a result, others who made fortunes in industry helped endow the museum. Their generosity has enabled the Toledo Museum of Art to be always open free of charge to the public.
Yet times are changing. The manufacturing industries that made Toledo prosper have declined, as has the population of the city itself. There are fewer great fortunes. And, there is perhaps less of a tradition that supporting the fine arts is something the fortunate should automatically do as a matter of course.
Add to all that the rise of the internet, and it is clear that the Toledo Museum of Art and director Brian Kennedy have more than enough challenges to stay vigorous and relevant as we move deeper into the twenty-first century. The good news is that’s what seems to be happening. The museum has put three hundred of its masterworks on line. The hope is that this won‘t be something viewers do instead of coming to the galleries.
Instead, the goal is partly to whet their appetite, so online viewers will come downtown and see some of the other thirty thousand pieces in the museum’s collections.
If Toledo does succeed at reinventing itself in the post-automotive era, it will be partly because of this immense cultural jewel in our midst. There are those who think that museums like this are a frill in a city desperate for new jobs. But they should take note of something the museum’s director,
Brian Kennedy, wrote last fall. He said, responding to a statement that science and math are more important, that the arts “stimulate the creativity and imagination that feel exploration and discovery. Therefore, THEY are the fuel that drives the economic engine.”
Works for me.