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What is Circle?

Circle is a community at the Toledo Museum of Art united by an interest in sharing unconventional museum experiences, connecting with others, and exploring new ideas through art. Circle programming disrupts expectations about museum encounters and redefines how we interact within museum spaces. There are no membership fees or application forms needed to be a part of Circle; participation in Circle is free and open to all.

The Circle Board is composed of elected members who facilitate Circle’s inclusive and innovative programming while serving as a community advisory board at the Museum. Board members work with museum staff and leadership to promote diversity, equity, access, and inclusion at TMA through community-engaged programming. The Board works to engage and share perspectives representing the full diversity of Toledo at the Museum.

What Does Circle Do?

Circle is redefining what a trip to the Museum means while fostering a sense of belonging through community-engaged programs. Circle disrupts expectations about museum encounters and redefines how we interact within museum spaces. Circle events bring the community together to:            

CELEBRATE local Black barbers as artists, mens’ health advocates, and community leaders in a live barbering showcase on the stage of the Peristyle Theatre during the Art of the Cut. 

DANCE in the New Year with an Afro-Cuban dance class surrounded by friends and the masterpieces in the Great Gallery.

CREATE a collaborative work of art inspired by the Anila Quayyum Agha: Between Light and Shadow exhibition and displayed in the Museum’s Community Gallery.

Past Events

Sunday, March 1: 3-6 p.m., Peristyle

Circle and local barbers who are part of ProMedica’s men’s health and wellness program came together on March 1, 2020 to transform the Peristyle stage into a community barber shop. The event featured live haircutting and showcased the perspectives of barbers-as-artists on how the past, present, and visions for the future influence ideas about style, community, and wellness. Nearly 1000 guests enjoyed entertainment throughout the Peristyle and learned about the role of barbers as artists, leaders, and men’s health advocates. Photo by Juwaan McGee.

Jan. 1, 2020: noon–3 p.m., Great Gallery and Cloister

On January 1, 2020, as part of the annual Great Art Escape, guests celebrated (Re)New Year’s Day by joining a one-of-a-kind experience inspired by art, reflection and movement. Guests were invited to learn the basic rhythms and history of Afro Cuban Dance with instructor Lisa McCall followed by kombucha tasting and healthy snacks in the Cloister. Located in the Great Gallery, this lively event moved guests to seek health and wellness inspiration for the year ahead.

Dec. 15, 2019: 2:30-3:30 p.m., Libbey Court

On December 15, 2019, Circle hosted an event inspired by the exhibition Anila Quayyum Agha: Between Light and Shadow. The exhibition consisted of awe-inspiring spaces from intricate patterns of light and shadow, evoking the sacred, while also raising questions of exclusion and belonging. After viewing the installation, guests were invited to join Circle in Libbey Court to create a collaborative work of art and a lively discussion inspired by inclusivity and a sense of belonging. 


On May 2, 2019, TMA visitors took an eye-opening tour curated by Circle members. Each of the selected works introduced guests to an aspect of Circle’s mission and thematic focus. Guests gathered around Romuald Hazoume’s piece Made in Porto Novo, for example, located in TMA’s Global Conversations: Art in Dialogue exhibit. At this artwork, Circle’s tour guides engaged guests in lively discussion, illustrating how Circle is activating the TMA collection to explore relevant issues. Visitors experienced the depth and breadth of Circle’s mission as they learned about each selected piece.


On Feb. 17, 2019, the Toledo Museum of Art’s GlasSalon was turned into a community barbershop. Local African American barbers demonstrated their artistic abilities as they performed haircuts and styles in four rounds inspired by the decades from the 1950s to the 2000s. A final round was inspired by works in the TMA collection. The Art of the Cut made national news as it examined the intersection of art and health while celebrating local Black barbers and their roles as artists and men’s health advocates.

On January 1, 2019, guests joined in a one-of-a-kind experience inspired by art, meditation, and movement. Guests were invited to partake in their choice of power or restorative yoga classes led by distinguished instructors followed by the creation of vision boards. Located in the Glass Pavilion, the event explored Circle members’ expressed interest in behavioral health, nutrition, and movement as important factors impacting health and wellness.

    On November 1, 2018, Circle hosted an event inspired by Mel Chin’s Two Me installation, a conceptual, interactive artwork, inviting visitors to engage in a performance by ascending the fully-accessible ramps to one of two identical seven-foot-tall pedestals, inscribed with the word “Me.” At the event Circle Back: Two Me the artwork was used to stage dialogue at the intersection of art and wellness.

    On July 18, Circle partnered with ProMedica Impact & Inspire to host Creative Coping, a family-friendly event featuring hands-on activities that taught resilience, coping, and healthy expression to audiences of all ages. Guests were encouraged to bring a donation of an item to benefit the Cullen Center, which provides services including art therapy to children who have experienced trauma.

    Jan. 1, 2020: 2-4 pm, Online

    Fuera con Fuerza was an art-based workshop designed to help process the grief of 2020 and give way to an optimistic outlook for 2021. Visual Artist, Certified Thanatologist and NYC Licensed Creative Arts Therapist, Jenn Perez-Savage, provided a fun and multi-cultural approach to moving through and learning about grief. The nearly 30 participants created affirmation cards in a tarot-like form. In this virtual workshop, participants created artwork that will strengthen personal insight and positive energy to manifest their 2021 destiny.

    How do I join Circle?

    There are no membership fees and no application forms needed to be a part of Circle; if you’re interested in unconventional museum experiences, connecting with others, and exploring new ideas through art—you already belong.  All members of our community are invited to participate in Circle programs. To learn more about upcoming Circle programs, please join our mailing list by completing the form below.

    How do I get more involved in Circle?

    The easiest way to get involved with Circle is to sign up for Circle emails and participate in Circle programming. Enthusiastic individuals can become more involved by volunteering at Circle programs, joining Circle planning committees, or serving on the Circle Board. To learn more about these opportunities, submit the form below.