10 Years of Museum as Sanctuary
September 2020 marks the 10th anniversary of Museum as Sanctuary, which began when TMA partnered with Owl & Panther to develop a multi-visit program to highlight the benefits of expressive arts and gallery-based exploration.
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:
- position the museum as an inclusive environment and thoughtful partner in community-based programming
- provide refugees and immigrants access to a safe space to practice language and creative expression in support of their participation in community dialogues
- bridge formal and informal learning environments.
Partnerships include: Owl & Panther, Literacy Connects, Lutheran Social Services, International Rescue Committee and schools working with English language learners.
Marianna Pegno, Marge Pellegrino and Morgan Wells reflected on the first five years of Museum as Sanctuary for the Western Museums Association.
Owl & Panther provides meaningful and healing expressive arts experiences in the community and the natural world for refugee families resettled in Tucson who have been impacted by trauma, torture and traumatic dislocation. To foster acceptance of refugees in the community through education. And to honor the efforts of our volunteers who make this work possible.
From Andi Hammonds
Program Director, Owl & Panther
Owl & Panther has long enjoyed a cohesive partnership with Tucson Museum of Art, and we are incredibly grateful to TMA for the opportunity to provide shared healing experiences with refugee youth and their families through the arts.
Museum as Sanctuary, now in its 10th year, has united people from 5 continents and all walks of life. It’s given agency to New Americans young and old. Participants learn to see themselves in art, to feel “at home” in museums, and to try new techniques. Focusing one’s energy and emotions into a creative outlet is incredibly liberating. TMA helps make this restorative experience accessible to our most vulnerable community members, and we are all better for it. Since my involvement working at IRC through now, I have observed many participants with debilitating PTSD symptoms convert their skeptical hypervigilance into actualized resilience with each project. I’ve watched otherwise isolated members of our refugee community emerge from their self-protective cocoons as revitalized social butterflies, excitedly sharing techniques and masterpieces with beaming pride.
The two Museum as Sanctuary exhibitions I attended not only brought awareness and understanding about refugees to the greater Tucson community & beyond, it celebrated the diverse talents of impressive New Americans who have found comfort in creating. I’m moved to tears when I think about all the fond memories I’ve made at TMA through Owl & Panther, and I’m thrilled to see what our participants make next!
Wednesday – Sunday,
10 am – 5 pm