OMA Award Spotlight - Cynthia Thompson

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 2018 OMA Award of Achievement winners throughout the month with our OMA Award Spotlight. Originally published in May, we are featuring these Award Winner Spotlights again 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 2018 award winners! 

Today, we'll be featuring our winner for the 2018 award for Museum Advocate.

Cynthia Thompson - Toledo Museum of Art

Since joining the Toledo Museum of Art’s board of trustees in 2003, Cynthia Thompson has served as the Chair of the Leadership and Governance Committee, and is now entering her fourth term as the Chair of the board.

Her vision and leadership have been transformative for the museum. Cynthia was instrumental in developing the museum’s community-focused “TMA 2020” master plan and in the museum’s “Polishing the Gem” campaign, a fundraising effort that raised over $46 million to replenish the museum’s endowment after the 2008 crash.

Leading by example, Cynthia and her husband are also members of the Founder’s Circle and established a fund that will support museum interns, with a focus on high school students from Toledo Public Schools.

Her fellow board members praised Cynthia for her focus on excellence, her brilliant coaching and mentoring, and for using her extensive relationships in the business world and with nonprofits to position the Toledo Museum of Art as a cultural leader in both the region and among museums nationally.

Cynthia’s influence has shown others the importance of people who give their time, funding and insight as vital to the sustainability of their organizations, once writing, “I am a firm believer that great institutions only maintain their greatness based on people. You can have really beautiful art and if it’s not being maintained, if it’s not being explained, if it’s not being pushed forward, then you have nothing.”

Cynthia’s personal passion for art and her dedication to public and community service are a model for the type of civic-minded individual that every museum hopes to have as a benefactor.

Do you know someone who consistently promotes the growth and sustainability of Ohio museums?  Be sure to nominate them for the 2019 award for Museum Advocate! Learn more here.