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 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 Exhibition Catalog over $500,000.

Taft Museum of Art - Craft and Camera: The Art of Nancy Ford Cones


In the fall of 2022, the Taft Museum of Art introduced thousands of guests to Nancy Ford Cones, a gifted artist born in 1869 who was largely forgotten after her death in 1962.

For more than thirty years, on a small riverside farm in Loveland, Ohio, Cones created photographs that earned her an international reputation. The self-organized exhibition and accompanying catalogue “Craft and Camera: The Art of Nancy Ford Cones,” celebrates her career and contributions to the field of photography.

Cones started submitting photographs to national competitions at the age of 33. Her knack for arranging scenes of rural life in formally striking and artfully lit settings earned her many prestigious prizes, including 2nd in the 1905 Kodak competition. While well-known photographers Edward Steichen and Alfred Stieglitz (who placed first and third in that year’s competition, respectively), are considered “leading figures” in the field, Nancy’s achievements are largely absent in photography’s history.

Author Pepper Stetler’s original scholarly research of Cones not only recognizes her contributions to the field of photography, but also shines light on the rich cultural landscape of the Cincinnati region. By offering this definitive catalogue to numerous museums and libraries across the country, the Taft aims to highlight this underrepresented woman artist and make Cones’s history and impact in photography accessible to a diverse range of individuals.

As our reviewers noted, “Cones’s artistic visions, her community connections, and her continual experimentation are clearly displayed in this publication.” “Drawing the reader through a well-researched background on the artist and then displaying her photographs by theme, Craft and Camera is a comprehensive exhibit catalog that leaves you feeling more connected to local Ohio history.”

Did your museum have an amazing catalog for an exhibit - virtual or physical - during the 2023 season? Be sure to nominate it for the 2023 award for Best Exhibition Catalog! Learn more here.

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