Tapping New Community Partnerships in Virginia

Strategy: Collaborate in New Ways, Serve Local Community

Type of attraction: Arts Organization, Museum/Historic Site

Summary: One Virginia museum tapped a wide variety of partnerships to create a community event that dovetailed with a new art exhibit.

 

One Virginia museum tapped a wide variety of partnerships to create a community event that dovetailed with a new art exhibit. In 2009, Gari Melcher’s Home and Studio at Belmont featured an exhibit of Norman Rockwell art and contemporary illustrations entitled “Picturing Health.”

Rather than a traditional art opening, the museum hosted a “Picturing Health: Family Health and Art Day.” Members of the community could view the exhibit and participate in a plethora of community events.  A Lions Club Mobile Sight and Hearing Van conducted screenings, MediCorp volunteers checked blood pressure, Body Mass Index, and discussed winter injury prevention as well as breast feeding and early time at home with a newborn. To demystify the process of creating art, the museum invited a local artist who worked on a painting using a live model (and invited visiting kids to help).  Families also watched a caricature artist at work (thanks to a partnership the museum struck with Kaiser Permanente). Several companies donated healthy snacks. One company, Cabot Cheese in Vermont, found out about the event on the Internet and donated 300 samples of low-fat cheese! Says Michelle Crow-Dolby, education coordinator for the museum, “A good time was had by all…I loved the event because it gave us the opportunity to partner with such diverse organizations- most of whom were not familiar with our site. It also attracted quite a few first-time visitors which is always a good thing.” 

 

Courtesy of the Virginia Association of Museums, from VAM Voice newsmagazine, Winter 2009. Contact communications director Heather Widener at hwidener@vamuseums.org for more information.”