Springfield Museum of Art Awarded Ohio’s Best Exhibition of 2021
SPRINGFIELD, OH (April 2,2022) – For the first time in its history, the Springfield Museum of Art (SMoA) was awarded Best Exhibition in the state of Ohio for its 2021 exhibition, BLACK LIFE as subject MATTER II. The award, presented by the Ohio Museums Association, is for the category of museums whose budgets are greater than $500,000. With a budget just over the qualifying threshold, SMoA joins the company of such institutions as the Rock & Hall of Fame and Cleveland Museum of Natural History, two award recipients in recent years.
Striving to be a leader in its community’s conversation about race, equity, and inclusion, SMoA hosted
BLACK LIFE as subject MATTER II, an exhibition conceived of and curated by Willis “Bing” Davis, a local Dayton artist, educator, and renowned community figure whose work has international acclaim. The exhibition featured 59 works of art by 32 African American artists from across Ohio. Each work of art provides insight, understanding, and appreciation of Black life as worthy subject matter for artistic expression.
“For far too long, Black artists and voices have been underrepresented in museums. BLACK LIFE as subject MATTER II is a relevant, timely, and important exhibition that demands to be seen,” shared Jessimi Jones, Executive Director of the Springfield Museum of Art. “We are honored that Bing entrusted the Springfield Museum of Art to support his vision and to present this work to our community. I am grateful to Bing, all the artists, and to our incredible museum team who worked tirelessly to make this exhibition and related programming impactful for our region.”
Along with the exhibition, SMoA presented an array of programming, including four Community Conversation discussions about race, interactive gallery text conveying the stories and thoughts of the artists, and three Come Find Art! free family Sundays where visitors could speak firsthand with artists from the exhibition. In total, over 2,100 people were able to experience the power of BLACK LIFE as subject MATTER II.
“While we may be a small institution, this award represents the power and ability we have to make a recognizable difference in our community regardless of our size,” shared Elizabeth Wetterstroem, SMoA’s Collections and Exhibitions Manager. “Working with Bing and each of the artists was truly an amazing learning experience and one for which I will forever be grateful. I was humbled by this project and am so proud of this collective accomplishment.”
The Ohio Museums Association is the state’s leading advocate for connecting and empowering Ohio’s over 1,300 museums and museum professionals. The award was presented during this year’s conference that took place in Cincinnati at the beginning of April. The annual conference brings together over 150 professionals from museums and cultural institutions across the state for a weekend of presentations, discussions, networking, and celebration.
SMoA would like to thank all who made this exhibition possible including guest curator, Willis “Bing” Davis, all 32 participating artists, its incredibly talented and dedicated museum staff, the team at EbonNia Gallery, funding partners Ohio Humanities Council, Arts Midwest, and the Ohio Arts Council, and all members of the Springfield community and beyond who welcomed this exhibition, partook in a wide range of discourse and programming, and fostered inspiring conversations—thank you.
Springfield Museum of Art Announces Access Program for Low-Income Families:
Museums for All to increase accessibility of high-quality museum learning resources
SPRINGFIELD, OH (August 1, 2020) –The Springfield Museum of Art announced that it has joined Museums for All, a signature access program of the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), administered by the Association of Children’s Museums (ACM), to encourage people of all backgrounds to visit museums regularly and build lifelong museum-going habits. The program supports those receiving food assistance (SNAP) benefits visiting SMoA for free with the presentation of a SNAP Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card. Similar free and reduced admission is available to eligible members of the public at more than 500 museums across the country. Museums for All is part of SMoA’s broad commitment to seek, include, and welcome all audiences.
Museums for All helps expand access to museums and also raise public awareness about how museums in the U.S. are reaching their entire communities. More than 500 institutions participate in the initiative, including art museums, children’s museums, science centers, botanical gardens, zoos, history museums, and more. Participating museums are located nationwide, representing 48 states.
About the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS)
The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 35,000 museums. Our mission is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. Our grant making, policy development, and research help libraries and museums deliver valuable services that make it possible for communities and individuals to thrive. To learn more, visit www.imls.gov and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
About Association of Children’s Museums (ACM)
The Association of Children’s Museums (ACM) champions children’s museums worldwide. With more than 400 members in 48 states and 20 countries, ACM leverages the collective knowledge of children’s museums through convening, sharing, and dissemination. Learn more at www.childrensmuseums.org.
Announcing Jessimi Jones as Executive Director of Springfield Museum of Art
SPRINGFIELD, OH (November 29, 2019) –The Springfield Museum of Art is pleased to announce Jessimi Jones as our new Executive Director. Ms. Jones was selected for the position following a nationwide search to identify an energetic, experienced and strategic thinker to lead the Museum during a critical phase of its growth. Ms. Jones brings nearly 20 years of arts institution experience having served at both the Columbus Museum of Art (Ohio) and the Philbrook Museum of Art in Tulsa, OK. Jessimi will begin in January 2020.
Most recently, Ms. Jones served as the Bernsen Director of Education and Public Programs for the Philbrook Museum of Art in Tulsa, Oklahoma. During her career at the Philbrook, Jones led and grew a team who reimagined and expanded educational programming to serve a broad array of community constituencies. While at the Columbus Museum of Art, Jones developed in-depth programming for teachers and students, while supporting the establishment of a 17,000 square-foot Center for Creativity. At both institutions, Ms. Jones was responsible for the financial and operational performance of her departments.
“Jessimi Jones is not only right for the Museum, she is right for Springfield, and comes to us at a perfect time,” commented Maureen Massaro, Vice President of the museum’s board of trustees and Chair of the Search Committee. “All of us were wowed, not only by her energy, her passion and her enthusiasm to expand upon the significant progress that preceded her, but also by her insatiable desire to implement an expanded vision for the future. We are
thrilled to have her here!”
A native of Bellefontaine, Ohio, Ms. Jones earned her bachelor’s degree from Kent State University and holds a Master’s degree in education from the prestigious Bank Street College of Education in New York City. Ms. Jones and
her family intend to relocate to Springfield in the coming weeks.
“I am thrilled beyond measure to join the Springfield Museum of Art.” Commented Jones. “The Museum has created a rich 73-year legacy of providing meaningful arts education, exhibitions, and community outreach. I am excited to join the board and staff as we build upon this strategic momentum. With refined strategy, we will continue to provide relevant and impactful experiences with art for the community. It is my honor to join such a gem of a museum, in a city with great energy, in the region where I grew up,” she added.
An event to meet Ms. Jones will be announced in the coming weeks. It is because of your steadfast support of the Museum that it has such a bright future.
Springfield Museum of Art Receives $1 Million Gift from Randolph H. Deer
SPRINGFIELD, OH (November 26, 2019) –The Springfield Museum of Art announced today that long-time arts supporter and Indiana business leader Randolph H. Deer has donated $1 million to the Museum’s fundraising campaign, Art Invites…. This gift constitutes the single largest individual donor gift in the museum’s history and helps to advance the campaign’s objectives of renovating and right-sizing the older wing of the Museum, as well as increasing the existing endowment for the facility’s maintenance.
“Randy’s ties to Springfield, as well as his connection to the Springfield Museum of Art, in particular, run deep. In our 1993 capital campaign, his generous support underwrote construction of the Randolph H. Deer Gallery. Prior to that, and in the early days of the museum’s existence, Randy won our inaugural young artist award in 1946. Randy’s interest in and support of the arts, both in his hometown of Springfield and beyond, has spanned decades, and we are most grateful for his generous pacesetting support,” said Jamie McGregor, Chairman of the Art Invites… Campaign.
“The Springfield Museum of Art has a long tradition of promoting the appreciation of art in the community, especially in the area of art education, and my hope is that this gift will help to advance this mission for years to come,” Mr. Deer commented.
After serving with the U.S. Army in the Korean War, Mr. Deer returned to his hometown of Springfield and joined Bonded Oil, and was its Executive Vice President at the time of its sale to Marathon in 1975. He also served as President of Springfield’s Community Hospital Board and Springfield Rotary Club, as well as the President of the National Gasoline Marketers Association. After the sale of Bonded Oil, Mr. Deer moved to Nashville, Indiana, where he pursued his interests in the arts and philanthropy, as well as in business. An accomplished artist with over 200 paintings to his credit, Randy also served as Chairman of the Board of the Indianapolis Museum of Art during its $200 million expansion campaign in 2003 to 2005. He is an Honorary Professor of Art at the Herron School of Art and Design (Indiana University), and has received honorary doctorates from Wabash College and Indiana University, as well as the Sagamore of the Wabash Award (Indiana’s highest honor), the Distinguished Service Award from Culver Military Academy (one of only three recipients ever granted the award) and the inaugural Distinguished Service Award from the Indianapolis Museum of Art. Mr. Deer is currently the Chairman of the Board of Pepsi-Cola Bottling of Logansport, Indiana, and also currently the Chairman of the Board of Endangered Species Chocolate Company of Indianapolis, Indiana. Randy lives part-time in Naples, Florida and part-time in Nashville, Indiana.
Springfield Museum of Art Announces Interim Executive Director
SPRINGFIELD, OH (June 15, 2019) – The Board of Trustees of the Springfield Museum of Art announced today the appointment of J.D. Beiting as Interim Executive Director. Mr. Beiting replaces Ann Fortescue, who departs June 30, 2019 for McAllen, Texas.
“Not only does J.D. bring relevant executive experience in leading arts organizations, his ability to communicate with our various constituencies is exactly what the Springfield Museum of Art needs right now,” said Pete Duffey, President of the museum’s board of trustees. “Further, J.D. brings a diverse set of fundraising, management, I.T. and guest relations skills that will continue to propel our positive momentum forward. We won’t miss a beat with J.D. at the helm, and we are thrilled to have him on board,” Mr. Duffey continued.
The Springfield Museum of Art’s board of trustees intends to conduct a national search for its top administrator position. Mr. Beiting will serve as Interim Executive Director for a period of three to six months or until the permanent successor is identified.
“It is an honor to assist the museum at this critical juncture,” commented Mr. Beiting. “This time represents an opportunity for the museum to continue its outstanding community and artist engagement, as well as its powerful impact through art education – the hallmark of its 73-year history,” he added.
Mr. Beiting, from Columbus, Ohio, is on assignment from Benefactor Group. He has more than 18 years of experience in non-profit development, governance, and operations. He is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania with a B.A. in Art History.
For more information please contact the museum at 937-325-4673 or email@example.com.
Museum Receives IMLS Grant for Print Collection
SPRINGFIELD, OH (November 2, 2017) – The Springfield Museum of Art (SMoA) is pleased to announce its award of an Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) grant. SMoA is one of only 132 museums out of nearly 600 museums nationwide to receive funding from IMLS this year. The $24,795 Museums for America grant award will fund Print Positives: Rediscovering and Using our Print Collections.
The Museum’s collection contains over 325 prints, comprising approximately 20% of the entire permanent collection. The majority of these works have been in storage for many years; Print Positives will make them available to the public once again. Partnering with the Dayton Printmakers Cooperative (DPC), the Museum aims to study, preserve, and carry out in depth research of the print collection, thus increasing SMoA’s capacity to use the collections for learning and in service to artists in the community.
Print Positives will culminate in several projects including an exhibition of prints from the permanent collection and several art education programs for a variety of ages. Selected prints will also be shared on the Museum’s website, www.springfieldart.net, with accompanying research. Additionally, the Museum will bring in an accomplished printmaker to lead a workshop open to the public. Curator Erin Shapiro states, “SMoA has a multifaceted print collection, and we’re thrilled to have the opportunity to work with the Dayton Printmakers Cooperative in pursuit of further knowledge and understanding of these works. Being able to share this part of our permanent collection with the public in such a dedicated manner allows for a wealth of educational opportunities, truly bringing the prints to life.”
The Springfield Museum of Art is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums and the only art museum in Ohio affiliated with the Smithsonian Institution. The museum exhibits works from its permanent collection of 2,000 works of American art from the early Republic to the present with a focus on Ohio art and artists. Art education programs play a central role in engaging audiences of all ages and abilities with the artwork on exhibition both through structured programs and through individual exploration and art making in the Art Lab found within the galleries. The museum is open Wednesday-Saturday 9am-5pm and Sunday 12:30-4:30pm, admission is $5 for adults, $3 for seniors and students; Members and children 17 and under are free.
The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 35,000 museums. Their mission is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. Their grant making, policy development, and research help libraries and museums deliver valuable services that make it possible for communities and individuals to thrive. To learn more, visit https://www.imls.gov/.
For more information please contact the museum at 937-325-4673 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wittenberg University Transfers Ownership of Museum Facility to Springfield Museum of Art
SPRINGFIELD, OH (June 26, 2017) – Following a year of thoughtful conversations regarding how to best serve the community they both call home, Wittenberg University and the Springfield Museum of Art have agreed that the museum should again be the sole owner of the facility where it resides at 107 Cliff Park Road. The official transfer of ownership occurred at 3pm today in Wittenberg’s Office of the President.
Returning ownership of the building to the Springfield Art Museum enables Wittenberg to focus its resources on more student-centered efforts, including the ongoing Health, Wellness and Athletics Initiative and expanded academic offerings. For the Art Museum, resuming ownership of the building allows for the development of a careful plan to ensure long-term sustainability and future improvements in alignment with the American Alliance of Museums Accreditation standards.
“This is a positive step forward for both our institutions and for our community of Springfield,” said Wittenberg Interim President Dick Helton. “This is Springfield’s museum, and that is how it should be.”
“The timing for the Springfield Museum of Art to resume ownership is also just right,” added Ann Fortescue, executive director of the museum. “Our attendance, membership, and community collaborations have been steadily growing over the past four years, which has enabled us to reestablish sustainable operations.”
Both the museum and the university have also agreed to continue to work on programs and opportunities that serve Wittenberg students.
“We’ll continue to collaborate with Wittenberg on student internships, the Hagen Center’s 50/50 program for work-study students in the community, and Wittenberg’s faculty on museum-based learning experiences for students,” Fortescue said.
Wittenberg has owned the facility since 2010.
Committed to collecting, preserving and exhibiting works of art that inspire and educate, the Springfield Museum of Art seeks to engage the entire community in the enjoyment and appreciation of the visual arts. In 2012, the museum was accepted into the Smithsonian Affiliates program and is currently the only art museum in Ohio with that distinction.
A leader in providing an active, engaged learning environment defined by excellence in academics, innovation, student success, service and athletics, Wittenberg is a nationally ranked university for the liberal arts and sciences affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. The university has repeatedly been recognized by the Princeton Review for its professor accessibility, superior classroom experience and longstanding commitment to sustainability, and was recently named one of Forbes’ Top 50 Most Entrepreneurial Colleges.
– Office of University Communications
Art Museum’s Community Focus to Expand with Grant
By Emily Finlay, Contributing Writer
Springfield, OH (October 7, 2014) – The Springfield Museum of Art is using a grant from a national organization to expand its focus on art education and interactive art in the community.
Ann Fortescue, the museum’s executive director, said it has been working to renew its focus on art education within the community over the last year. The new grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, worth nearly $24,000, will allow the museum to continue to expand this focus much faster than before, she said.
“The grant will enable us to work on the successes we’ve seen this year and enable us to reach out and explore new collaborations and partnerships,” Fortescue said. “The grant will enable us to broaden our work so that we will be able to reach out and work with more community audiences than if we didn’t have it.”
The project, called “It’s Your Art Museum – A Model for Community Involvement,” involves interactive exhibits and works with groups outside of the museum. The grant will fund these efforts, Fortescue said, and allow the museum to have a part-time museum educator.
Additionally, the grant allows for programs that train and encourage project volunteers, as well as involve local artists in the project.
“Through the grant, we’ll work with local artists to create interactive exhibits for visitors,” she said. “The purpose is to deeply engage visitors in some way with the art in these exhibits.”
The national Museums for America grant program is based on a peer review system. The reviewers are individuals, knowledgeable in museum work, who work in groups of three to review each application. Grants are awarded based upon their recommendations, said Christopher Reich, the group’s senior museum advisor.
“The program is intended to help museums improve their services to their audiences,” he said. “The grant is a great way to help museums create diverse experiences for their audiences.”
Of the 554 applicants, the Springfield Museum of Art was one of only 193 to receive a grant, Fortescue said. It is not the only museum to have this kind of program, she said, but the grant will allow the museum to benefit its specific community and share work with others.
“We were exuberant that we’d received both professional recognition and the grant award,” she said. “(We were) pleasantly stunned by the surprise, but very, very deeply pleased and encouraged to keep the project going.”
See original story with photos in the Springfield News-Sun. Reprinted with permission.
Culture Works to Hold Meetings to Gather Community Input on Arts and Culture
Dayton, OH (May 2, 2014) – Culture Works is holding information gathering meetings on June 4 and June 5 as part of Culture Connects 20/20, a year-long regional cultural planning process. The June 5 meeting will be here at the Springfield Museum of Art.
Culture Works wants to hear from a broad cross-section of citizens from the entire region,” said Martine Collier, President & CEO. “Our cultural organizations, their boards, elected officials, arts advocates, artists and other concerned citizens should plan to attend one of these two meetings so we can truly ‘take the pulse’ of our cultural community and identify the primary issues of concern.”
Wednesday, June 4, 5:30 pm
Aullwood Audubon Center and Farm at the Charity A. Krueger Farm Discovery Center, 9202 Frederick Pike, Dayton, OH
Thursday, June 5, 5:30 pm
Springfield Museum of Art at the Center for the Arts at Wittenberg University, 107 Cliff Park Road, Springfield, OH
Researchers from the University of Dayton and Wright State University will be present, along with project manager, Marc Golding, from the arts consulting firm, WolfBrown. Their goal is to facilitate an engaged discussion providing an opportunity for all present to speak out about arts and culture – what’s important to them, what can be done better, and what they would like to see more of in the community.
“Community input is critically important to the success of this planning initiative,” said Collier, “It is very important that cultural advocates from across the region attend one of these two meetings.”
Those planning to attend should RSVP to email@example.com
Major Gift Helps Art Museum Focus on Art Education
Springfield, OH (May 3, 2013) – The Springfield Museum of Art is adopting a new strategic direction by renewing its focus on art education. A generous gift of $10,000 to the Museum from Ruth Kunkel Bayley dedicated to art education for disadvantaged youth has been accepted and matched by 100% of the Museum’s Board of Trustees. The Museum shares Mrs. Bayley’s belief that art education will engage the community and benefit Springfield in a significant way.
The Springfield Museum of Art will reinvigorate our focus on art education and programs dedicated to sparking curiosity, expanding understanding and encouraging young people to use visual arts in their everyday life. The Museum’s commitment to presenting high-quality exhibitions, combined with this renewed commitment to education will provide young people and families in the community with opportunities to explore creativity and express themselves through art.
Art education was at the heart of the Springfield Museum of Art’s mission and was the principle motivator of the organization’s founders 67 years ago. Thanks to Mrs. Bayley and our trustees, the Springfield Museum of Art will again embrace that founding principle fully.