Play at TMA This Summer

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Three thousand partygoers filled the campus during the Toledo Museum of Art’s 2015 Community Block Party; this year, the free celebration returns on Saturday, June 18.

The Toledo Museum of Art is inviting everyone to play at TMA again this summer. The entire campus is coming alive with a monumental sculpture exhibition, an interactive nonpartisan exhibition that decodes political ads, plus new spaces and special activities both indoors and out for people of all ages. And, an added bonus, most of the programs, activities and exhibitions are free.

Thousands filled the Museum campus during last summer’s block party, and Monroe Street will be closed again on June 18 for a summer celebration from 6 to 10 p.m. The festivities will feature food trucks, music, giant games, the Jaume Plensa: Human Landscape exhibition, and the official openings of Play Space for children and the Rita B. Kern Garden.

Rita B. Kern Garden

Located adjacent to Parking Lot 1 and framed by boxwoods and blue spruce, the new Rita B. Kern Garden contains three sections: a flower and herb garden in the front where visitors will experience delightful scents, textures and colors; a fountain surrounded by benches in the center, and a chef’s garden that will provide fresh greens and herbs for the Museum Café in the rear. The main archway entrance will be covered with climbing roses and a secondary arch, with vining honeysuckle. The garden also will feature two bushes of “Fabulous Rita” roses, a shade garden of hostas, ferns and ornamental grasses, and a grassy area. The public is invited to attend a formal ribbon-cutting ceremony for the garden, named in honor of Museum patron Rita B. Kern, at 5:30 p.m. June 18.

Play Space

The Museum’s youngest visitors will have a new place to explore when the TMA Play Space debuts on the lawn just west of the main Museum. The outdoor free play space features a block-based system manufactured by Imagination Playground of Ithaca, New York, that engages youngsters mentally and physically by encouraging them to build structures and play.

Christina Larson, Mellon Fellow and manager of the pilot project, noted that there are no playgrounds nearby the Museum. “This is our opportunity to provide a safe space for children to interact and play. If the pilot is successful, the Museum will consider having a permanent playground on its campus,” she said.

Children and their caregivers will be encouraged to play together, and families can enjoy food and drinks at nearby picnic tables.

The TMA Play Space  will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday from June 11 through Aug. 21. From Aug. 27 through Sept. 4, Play Space will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays and noon to 5 p.m. on Sundays. On days with inclement weather, Play Space and Outdoor Giant Games will be moved into the newly renovated Grove Place Studio nearby. Play Space is closed on Mondays.

Outdoor Giant Games

Families, teens and adults can have fun playing giant-sized outdoor games, such as Twister® and checkers, board and card games in the galleries, and scavenger hunts in the Museum’s Welles Sculpture Garden as well. Outdoor Giant Games will be offered from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday from June 11 through Aug. 21. From Aug. 27 through Sept. 4, game time is 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday only. Games in the galleries will be available during all public hours of the Museum.

Sunday programming offers a rotating schedule of Giant Games, Family Days, Family Center on the Move and Painting en Plein Air.

Visitors can take part in Painting en Plein Air on May 29 and Plein Air Plensa on June 26, July 17 and Aug. 14. Facilitated by Heather Moran and guest art instructors, visitors will paint and draw on the lawn as they observe sculptures by Jaume Plensa and other works in the Welles Sculpture Garden.

Picnic lunches will be available for purchase in the Museum Café and a picnic basket packed with activities for children can be checked-out for use with the purchase of lunch.


This summer season’s two new exhibitions are Jaume Plensa: Human Landscape, which runs June 17 through Nov. 6, 2016, and I Approve This Message: Decoding Political Ads, which opens July 14 and continues through Election Day on Nov. 8.

Large-scale outdoor sculptures by Plensa will be found at various spots on the Museum’s 36-acre campus. Examples of dynamic indoor installations, works on paper, drawings and etchings by the renowned Spanish artist will be shown in the Levis Galleries. This traveling show is organized by the Cheekwood Botanical Garden & Museum of Art in Nashville, Tennessee. ProMedica is the local sponsor of the exhibition and is the 2016 exhibition program sponsor. Admission is free.

Docent-led Plensa exhibition Twilight Tours, which include a happy hour from 7 to 8 p.m., followed by an hour-long tour, will be offered on June 30, July 28 and Aug. 25. Tickets, $15 for Museum members and $20 for nonmembers, include one drink.

Plensa, who has been called one of the most important sculptors working today, takes the Peristyle stage on Thursday, June 23. He will discuss his exhibition with the Museum’s Associate Director Amy Gilman at 6 p.m., sharing his thoughts on works that range from the monumental to the intimate.

I Approve This Message: Decoding Political Ads seeks to answer the question of whether political ads are trying to speak to your heart or your head by decoding the symbols and cues meant to persuade viewers. This spirited, nonpartisan interactive experience offers surprising insights into the U.S. presidential election season. Organized by TMA and HonestAds, a nonprofit that seeks to increase critical examination of political advertising and to motivate more citizens to vote, the exhibition is presented by Taylor Cadillac with additional support from Block Communications Inc. and 2016 Exhibition Program Sponsor ProMedica.

Other exhibitions include Hot Spot: Contemporary Studio Glass from Private Collections, on view through Sept. 18 in the Glass Pavilion; Keep Looking: Fred Tomaselli’s Birds through Aug. 7 in Gallery 6; and The American West: Photographs of a New Frontier extended through June in the Works on Paper Gallery.

Family Center on the Move

Family Center activities for children up to the age of 10 and their caregivers will move outside and around the campus from noon to 5 p.m. on June 5, July 3 and Aug. 7. The Family Center is supported in part by The Andersons.

Family Time Tours, Baby Tours

Docent-led tours for families of outdoor sculpture will be offered from 11:30 to 12:30 on Tuesdays May 3, June 7, July 5, Aug. 2 and Sept. 6. Docent-led Baby Tours for caregivers and children under 18 months of age, will be offered at 6 p.m. on Fridays June 17, July 15, Aug. 19 and Sept. 16, and at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesdays May 17, June 14, July 19 and Aug. 16.

More Free Programs

Color Wheels Community Bike Ride: Sculpture Ride
June 11: 10 a.m., Meet at the Glass Pavilion Parkwood entrance

Sunday Family Film Club: “The Lorax” (2012, 86 minutes)
June 12: 2-3:30 p.m., GlasSalon

It’s Friday! Music Outdoor Summer Series
6:30-8:30 p.m., Peristyle Terrace
Enjoy the summer evening with a cool drink, delicious small plate edibles and an eclectic array of music. In case of rain, concerts aren’t cancelled but simply move inside! It’s Friday! Music is sponsored in part by Fifth Third Bank.

June 24: Jean Holden & Glenn Tucker (jazz)
July 1: It’s Essential (pop/soul/jazz/standards)
July 8: Wendell Harrison Jazz Ensemble (jazz and world music)
July 15: Hepcat Revival (jazz, swing, R&B, soul and funk)
July 22: Old State Line (Americana/roots/folk/country/old time)
July 29: The Grape Smugglers (blues/R&B/rock/soul)
Aug. 5: Sarah D’Angelo, Glenn Tucker & Michael Palazzolo (jazz)
Aug. 12: Raq the Casbah (music, song and dance from around the world)
Aug. 19: Skip Turner (jazz)
Aug. 26: Howlin’ Mercy (guitar-driven blues and classic rock)

Exhibition Talk: “Scaling Sculptures: Exploring Artistic Playgrounds”
July 9: 2 p.m., Little Theater
Mellon Fellow Christina Larson looks at artistic playgrounds as functional sculpture.

Film in the Great Outdoors: “For All Mankind” (1989, 80 minutes)
July 15: 9 p.m., TMA Grounds

Film: Orson Welles: “Don Quixote” (1992, 115 minutes)
July 17: 2 p.m., Little Theater

Sunday Family Film Club and Family Program: Bird is the Word
July 24: Noon to 5 p.m., GlasSalon and Museum Grounds
Celebrate our fine feathered friends during this family program inspired by the work of artists Jaume Plensa and Fred Tomaselli. Make art, write poems and take it easy with an indoor picnic in the GlasSalon. At 2 p.m. in the GlasSalon watch the classic family film “Fly Away Home” (1996, 107 minutes) starring Jeff Daniels and Anna Paquin as a father and daughter who attempt to lead a flock of orphaned Canada Geese south by air.

The Films of Godfrey Reggio: Qatsi Trilogy
Aug. 4: Peristyle
5:30 p.m.: “Koyaanisqatsi”
7:30 p.m.: “Powaqqatsi”
10 p.m.: “Naqoyzatsi”

Aug. 5: Museum Grounds
9 p.m.: “Anima Mundi”
9:30 p.m.: “Visitors”

Reading: Plein Air Poetry: William Blake
Aug. 11: 7 p.m., Museum Grounds

24-Hour Music Marathon: Bach Around the Clock
Aug. 13 and Aug. 14: 6:41 a.m. until 6:42 p.m., Museum, Peristyle and Museum Grounds

Exhibition Talk: Alison Huftalen: Artist Poets & Poet Artists
Aug. 18: 7 p.m., Museum Resource Library, Center for Visual Arts

Family Program: Plensa Parade and Picnic
Aug. 21: Noon to 5 p.m., Museum Grounds

Sunday Family Film Club: “James and the Giant Peach” (1996, 84 minutes)
Aug. 28: 2-3 p.m., GlasSalon

Admission to the Museum is free. Parking is free for Museum members and $5 for non-members. Events are subject to change. Visit the Museum’s online calendar at for updates.

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