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Portraits of Toledo: A Family Master Series

Block Party

How would a Dutch master from the 17th-century paint your family today? This and other storytelling prompts inspired by the Toledo Museum of Art exhibition Frans Hals Portraits: A Family Reunion are the genesis for an evening of multisensory storytelling in the Peristyle Dec. 6 at 6 p.m. during a free Masters Series event.

Individuals and couples from the Toledo area will take to the stage to share their stories of family that include love, loss, triumph and heartbreak with the common thread of being uniquely Toledo.

The stories were curated from a series of workshops facilitated by Dr. Alyssa Greenberg, TMA Leadership Fellow, and Matt Foss, assistant professor of theater at the University of Toledo. Stories were gathered from meetings around the community as well as workshops at the Museum over the past six months

“We have a diverse range of stories across multiple generations and a blend of native Toledoans and transplants who now call Toledo home,” Greenberg said.

The goal of these storytelling workshops was to generate opportunities and explore connections that made up the Toledo family experience and then share those with the community on the stage usually reserved for Master Series speakers, individuals traditionally regarded as experts in their fields.  


“Rather than invite a scholar or artist to explore the concept of family for a Master Series event, the Frans Hals Portraits curator, Larry Nichols, suggested positioning the Museum’s own community members as experts. Who better to be an expert on your family experience than you,” said Greenberg. “The Museum wanted to offer an opportunity for a diverse group of Toledo-area residents to illustrate the role and meaning of family to them.”

And as different as the stories will be how the stories are told on stage. Enhancing the story monologue will be video and music to provide context to the story.

“We want the storytellers to share in an authentic and inspiring way that represents their families but also helps those in the audience gain a fresh perspective on their own family dynamics,” Greenberg said. “We are working with each of them to make sure they are able to deliver their story in an engaging manner that resonates with the audience.”

The Masters Series is supported in part by the TMA Ambassadors. For more information about this event and other Museum programming, please visit