OMA Award Spotlight - Taft Museum of Art

Recognizing excellence in Ohio museums during Arts and Humanities Month

To help celebrate October as Arts and Humanities Month, and to kick-off the call for nominations for this year's OMA awards, we'll be highlighting our 2019 OMA Award of Achievement winners throughout the month with our OMA Award Spotlight. We are featuring these Award Winner Spotlights during Arts and Humanities Month to help champion the amazing projects, programs and professionals that make Ohio's museum community strong.

The Awards of Achievement are presented to reflect the outstanding quality and caliber of work by Ohio museums and their professionals in two categories: Institutional Achievement Awards and Individual Achievement Awards.

Nominations for these awards are incredibly detailed. This in-depth process helps to illustrate how these institutions and individuals have gone “above and beyond” the normal call of duty to support their institution, serve their public and advance the cause of the museum community.

Each year, the review panel is overwhelmed by the outstanding projects, innovative programming and dedication to our field as exhibited in each of the institutional and individual nominations. Congratulations again to each of our 2019 award winners! 

Today, we'll be featuring our winner for the 2019 award for Best Education and Outreach over $500,000.

Taft Museum of Art -Duncanson Artist-in-Residence Program

The Taft Museum of Art’s Robert S. Duncanson Artist-in-Residence program honors the relationship between artist Robert S. Duncanson and art patron and Taft historic house owner Nicholas Longworth. Founded in 1986, the program recognizes the achievements of contemporary African American artists, and attracts applicants from around the country.

For the past three decades, dozens of accomplished artist, writers, visual artists and musicians have participated in the program. During the residency, each artist is charged with engaging the local community, with a focus on reaching new audiences, particularly African Americans.

Artists work with museum staff to co-create educational programming for the community that offers fresh and innovative perspectives of African American culture drawn from their own work.

In addition to bringing a talented African American artist to the Cincinnati community, the Duncanson Artist-in-Residence program also provides a career-opportunity for a young professional to gain experience in a museum environment. Each year, the Taft Museum of Art hires a Duncanson program coordinator who coordinates the travel of the artist, helps execute the programs, conducts evaluations and compiles a final report.

In 2019 the Duncanson Artist-in-Residence program celebrated its 33rd year and welcomed filmmaker Ya’ke Smith to the Cincinnati Community. During his two week residency, Smith held 22 events, taught and showcased his films for 1,024 people and partnered with four local schools, two colleges, and lead seven public programs - engaging youth and adults through his film screenings and post-film discussions.

Centering Black art and Black artists is impactful for the program participants, with one University of Cincinnati student saying, “Thank you for showing me that someone who looks like me can succeed in this industry.”

Did your museum have an innovative and impactful education or outreach program during the 2020 season? Be sure to nominate it for the 2020 award for Best Education and Outreach! Learn more here.


Elise Solomon, Director of Learning and Engagement, Accept the Award During the OMA 2020 Virtual Awards Ceremony

One of the fun features of OMA's 2020 Virtual Awards Ceremony was being able to recognize our honorees "accepting" their award via video message. See below for the Taft Museum of Art's award acceptance video.

Taft Museum of Art – OMA 2019 Award Acceptance Video