OMA Award Spotlight - Artists Archives of the Western Reserve 

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 2022 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 2022 award winners! 

Today, we'll be featuring our winner for the 2022 award for Best Community Partnership under $500,000.

Artists Archives of the Western Reserve - W/O Limits: Art, Chronic Illness, & Disability


We discussed previously the Artists Archives of the Western Reserve’s exhibition W/O Limits: Art, Chronic Illness, & Disability for their win of Best Exhibition under $500,000, but now we can dig into the programming and partnerships that rounded out this project.

As the Artists Archives noted, “Many folks consider chronic illness and disability a “them” rather than an “us” problem – an unfortunate but distant reality which impacts only a handful of the population. This couldn’t be further from the truth. An estimated 26% of Americans experience some form of disability, with Women and People of Color being affected at rates much higher than their peers. Inclusion and accessibility are everyone’s responsibility, and artists can be the vanguards of social change.”

A robust schedule of accompanying tours and programming included an Accessibility in the Arts panel discussion, two Disability Friendly Puppet Making Workshops, and tours from The Cleveland Sight Center, as well as multiple special needs classes from under-resourced neighborhoods in the Cleveland Municipal School District.

These community tours were a crucial component of the exhibition’s outreach and were used as a teaching tool for students from Case Western Reserve University and the Cleveland Institute of Art. Arts organizers from moCa Cleveland, the Riffe Gallery and Front International also visited with the goal of improving accessibility at their organizations.

In addition to the many partnerships already mentioned, the Artists Archives also worked with the Cuyahoga County Board of Developmental Disabilities, and the ReelAbilities Film Festival to make the exhibit as collaborative as possible.

Though our brief summary doesn’t scratch the surface of the partnerships cultivated during this project, the overwhelming and positive feedback from the community, demonstrated in the ten letters of support shared with OMA, all from different organizations and artists, show a true and lasting impact on their community.

Did your museum have an innovative and impactful collaboration during 2023 season? Be sure to nominate it for the 2023 award for Best Community Partnership! Learn more here.

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