The Toledo Museum of Art (TMA) continues advancing its mission to engage local and regional artists with the opening of the newly renovated Robert C. and Susan Savage Community Gallery. The space welcomes artists to both exhibit and sell their works, increasing exposure for creators and providing art enthusiasts an avenue to build their collections of works by Ohio artists. “Our Belonging,” the gallery’s first solo exhibition, is currently on view through Sept. 3 and features work by Ambż, a Findlay, Ohio muralist, illustrator and designer.
The Robert C. and Susan Savage Community Gallery, located on the Museum’s ground floor, will give local artists an opportunity to share their work with that audience. “The new Robert C. and Susan Savage Community Gallery provides a space to support regional artists in both the display and sale of their artwork,” said Adam M. Levine, TMA’s Edward Drummond and Florence Scott Libbey director and CEO. “We are committed not only to showcasing the incredible talent in our region but to helping them support and develop their practice. We are fortunate to have incredible donors who support this vision, none more than Robert C. and Susan Savage. Their generosity gives the Museum a new avenue to foster dialog with emerging talent, expand the Museum’s outreach and cultivate meaningful conversations with and about local and regional artists that will positively impact the visual arts community.”
“This exhibition is an excellent fit for the new community gallery that is a continuation of Toledo Museum of Art’s commitment to cultivating a sense of belonging,” said Rhonda Sewell, TMA’s director of belonging and community engagement. “Our team has been tirelessly integrating these values into the offerings at the Museum, and this is a key part of furthering that objective.”
An artist reception that is free and open to the public will be held on Saturday, May 13 from 2-4 p.m. in the Robert C. and Susan Savage Community Gallery. The reception will include remarks from Ambż and light refreshments.
During the multi-year renovation, the gallery was created by relocating the Museum’s works on paper storage to create a gracious space on a central artery of the Museum. The polished display space and central location will drive traffic to and connect visitors with the artists on display in the gallery.
Ambż’s exhibition, “Our Belonging,” is a body of work with deep and personal meaning. The artist found inspiration when she returned home to Findlay, Ohio after being away since 2005. As she considered what it meant to belong to the community as a business owner and an artist, “Our Belonging” was born. She covers handmade wooden panels with bodied acrylics, spray paint and repurposed paper to express what belonging means for her and other members of the community.
As Ambż met new people in the community, she discovered that her body of work resonated beyond her personal journey, inviting people along on a collective quest for belonging. “We must belong to ourselves before we can begin to belong in a community. The more we understand that belonging is a personal feeling and experience that can be obtained through and offered by kindness, compassion and equanimity, the more we belong to each other,” Ambż says in her artist statement.
Ambż, owner of Hysteria Co., believes belonging can be expressed through language, actions and the environment people cultivate for one another, and she hopes her works foster a welcoming space at the Toledo Museum of Art. “I would like this to be an offering for those who are not used to coming out for exhibits to feel like they belong here and feel like they are welcomed without bias. We have an opportunity in each moment to cultivate belonging for ourselves and others,” she said in her artist statement.