The purpose of this Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access (IDEA) Plan is to position the Tucson Museum of Art and Historic Block (TMA) as a responsive, community-centered institution that represents, activates and advocates for its communities. TMA connects art to life through meaningful and engaging experiences that inspire discovery, spark creativity and promote cultural understanding. In order to support and engage audiences under this mission the museum is committed to developing quality exhibitions, expanding and diversifying its collection and presenting relevant and innovative programs. As a collecting institution TMA believes that the artworks in its care are dynamic: they evolve as histories are re-examined and varying perspectives are taken into consideration—broadening how the institution preserves, exhibits and interprets these works.
A museum employee leads a tour for English language learners and their families. / Una empleada del museo guía un tour para aprendices de lengua inglesa y sus familias.
IDEA is at the core of the work we do as an institution to build relevance and accomplish the museum’s mission. In order to move forward with this work we find it necessary to clarify the terms that drive this philosophy.
Inclusion: Ongoing and intentional work to ensure TMA is a welcoming space for visitors, volunteers and staff of all backgrounds, identities, abilities, perspectives and beliefs. Inclusion requires people to value, respect and accept diversity.
Diversity: Honoring, respecting and reflecting differences including but not limited to age, gender, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity, race, ancestry, national origin, socioeconomic status and physical ability.
Equity: A commitment to providing multiple points of access and eliminating barriers to participation for visitors of all backgrounds, abilities and ages in order to ensure that all members of the community are treated fairly and justly.
Access: Refers to the design of programs, products, devices, services or environments that meet the needs of all visitors to ensure full participation in TMA programming
- We stand for RELEVANCY
All individuals have the right to access art and the museum, including its collection, programs and exhibitions, in a relevant and meaningful way.
- We stand for COMMUNITY
The museum will listen and respond to the needs of the communities it serves and strive to be an asset to them, existing as a vital community anchor. As a space for civic dialogue and social and cultural participation, TMA aims to improve the well-being of its audiences.
- We stand for RESPECT
The museum will be a source of lifelong learning by ensuring that all visitors have access to a relevant, engaging experience that connects them to the artwork in ways that are respectful of the visitor’s expertise, references and experiences.
- We stand for MULTIVOCALITY
Programs and interpretation will honor and amplify the inherent value of multiple points of view and the museum will encourage open-ended experiences and inquiry-based dialogue.
Estrategias de IDEA
TMA is committed to Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access (IDEA) within all aspects of its daily operations, including how IDEA is manifested in collections, exhibitions, programs and its people.
Four strategies guide TMA as it shapes the future of the museum:
- Serve as a leader in representing regional identity, supporting the advancement of arts and culture and preserving the heritage of the American Southwest
- Engage in conversations and build authentic collaborations with communities that reflect Arizona’s diverse cultures
- Increase cultural competencies in order to respect the wide spectrum of perspectives, backgrounds and abilities of TMA staff, volunteers, board members and visitors
- Broaden access, reduce barriers and increase participation while engaging with diverse collections, exhibitions, programs, staff, volunteers and board members that reflect the demographic and cultural diversity of the region
These strategies will be accomplished by:
- Examining current curatorial, collecting and education practices
- Training all key museum stakeholders on IDEA terminology, concepts and cultural competencies
- Researching theoretical and practical frameworks to inform the design of a new organizational framework based on IDEA principles
- Engaging local communities in conversation to build trust and co-create a new organizational model where they feel seen, heard, respected, represented and understood and the museum feels empowered by the inclusion of their narratives and voices
The IDEA Plan in Context: Timeline of Key Programs, Exhibits and Partnerships
IDEA en contexto: cronología de programas claves, exhibiciones y asociaciones
As part of the launch of TMA’s IDEA Plan, the museum has compiled a brief timeline of key milestones in TMA’s journey to becoming a more inclusive and equitable institution. Many programs, exhibitions, community partnerships, and individuals have helped lay the foundation of the where we are today.
Arizona Biennial begins as a way to amplify the artistic diversity of the state.
TMALearn! Docents develop an outreach program to bring art-making experiences to childhood cancer patients in hospitals.
Art of Memory, a partnership with the Alzheimer’s Association Desert Southwest Chapter, starts to offer art-making programs for individuals with memory loss and their caregivers.
The museum partners with Owl & Panther, which evolves into the Museum as Sanctuary initiative, an expressive arts program, serving refugee and immigrant families residing in Tucson. The partnership continues to this day and Museum as Sanctuary has grown to include over 5 additional long-term collaborations.
TMA launches its first verbal descriptive and touch tours for visually impaired audiences to students from the Arizona School for the Deaf and Blind.
Borderlandia: Cultural Topographies by Einar and Jamex de la Torre explores history, politics, immigration, identity, religion, popular culture, food and Meso-American symbols. The exhibition was on view during enforcement of and resulting widespread backlash against Arizona’s strict anti-illegal immigration law, SB 1070.
Community Voices labels are integrated within permanent collection galleries, positioning the museum’s interpretation as a place for active conversation and dialogue, where multiple voices are sharing knowledge and partaking in meaning making. Over 50 labels have been used in 10 exhibitions since.
TMA receives a Museums for America Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (MA-20-16-0268-16) to position the museum as community anchor offering increased resources for immigrant and refugee audiences throughout Southern Arizona.
The inaugural Free First Thursday program is held, a program about people rather than objects with interactive admission-free evenings that reflect the diversity of the community, making art accessible and relevant to all. These programs have continued to this day and have been transitioned online during the COVID-19 pandemic.
TMA begins to present all exhibition wall text, labels and related materials bilingually (Spanish-English).
The Casa Cordova—the oldest adobe home in downtown Tucson—is restored and renovated, exploring the Cordova Family and urban renewal and showcasing a commitment to community-based exhibitions and culturally relevant narratives.
30 Americans opens, showcasing works by some of the most significant African American artists of the last four decades. In support of this exhibition, TMA develops its first Community Advisory Committee in order to make stronger and more relevant connections between local communities and the exhibition.
TMA receives a National Leadership Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (MG-50-19-0044-19) to develop an adaptable framework and toolkit to support museums in becoming responsive, relevant, and welcoming spaces through community-based approaches to curation, interpretation, and programming.
The museum launches its land acknowledgement statement in conjunction with The Western Sublime: Majestic Landscapes of the American West.
The Kasser Family Wing opens, showcasing artwork spanning 3,000 years of art, culture and creativity from Latin America.
TMA’s IDEA Plan was developed by the Tucson Museum of Art and Historic Block Trustees’ Ad-Hoc Committee on Community Initiatives, with guidance and recommendations from Jeremy Mikolajczak, Jon and Linda Ender Chief Executive Officer, Robert Alpaugh, Strategic Planning Consultant, and Patricia Lannes, Diversity and Inclusion Consultant, as well as TMA staff discussions.
Committee on Community Initiatives members include:
- Marianna Pegno, Ph.D., Curator of Community Engagement and TMA staff liaison
- John-Peter Wilhite, Committee chair and TMA Trustee
- Ana Cornide, TMA Trustee
- Kit Kimball, TMA Trustee
- David Tenario, Assistant Supervisor, San Xavier District Natural Resources Department and committee member
Approved by the Tucson Museum of Art and Historic Block Trustees on July 20, 2020.