About Community Partnerships

Museum as Sanctuary

Since 2010 TMA has worked with organizations serving immigrant and refugee audiences in Tucson. This program began with a single partner, Owl & Panther, with the purpose of developing a series of expressive arts workshops. In 2016, with the support of a grant from the Institute of Museum of Library Services (MA-20-16-0268-16) TMA expanded its network of partners. Museum as Sanctuary focuses on community collaborations that highlight the benefits of creative expression and language acquisition through art-making and in-gallery activities. Museum as Sanctuary aims to:

1) Position the museum as an inclusive environment and thoughtful partner in community-based programming.

2) Provide refugees and immigrants access to a safe space to practice language and creative expression in support of their participation in community dialogs.

3) Bridge formal and informal learning environments.

“Here you express yourself not just sit there and listen. We had the freedom and confidence that we could do it. The teacher would explain in English and also talk with us in English. In an English class you just listen to the teacher, here we would converse with the teacher and the classmates while expressing things through art” (Participant Interview, summer 2017).

“TMA gave our clients a new place to go and experience Tucson, especially one that celebrates cultures. For many of them, it was their first time in a museum. The museum wasn’t a place they would go on their own but one that they know that they can go in the future.” (Partner Interview, summer 2017)