Taubman Wins Program Development Funding


The Taubman Museum of Art has secured new funding to develop programs for people with diverse abilities.



The Taubman Museum of Art will soon dramatically expand its reach to people of diverse abilities and their families, thanks to a three-year, $243,104 grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

With this new funding, the Museum will develop and expand its Happy Hearts program.

Taubman’s newest program, Happy HeARTs, is for members of the Roanoke Valley community who have varying abilities, including but not limited to individuals and their families who identify as blind or visually impaired; Deaf or hard of hearing; neurodiverse, such as those on the autism spectrum or who have sensory processing or learning disabilities; as well as people living with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

“We are very honored and grateful to the Institute of Museum and Library Services for giving us the opportunity to expand our inclusive programming,” said Museum Executive Director Cindy Petersen. “We have already worked on the planning and development of the Happy HeARTs program with some of our social service partners and their clients, and the response from participants has been overwhelming.”

“The Happy HeARTs program has provided a great opportunity for our teenage students to have an experience that many otherwise would not have had,” said Samantha Zaldivar, Clinical Director of the Blue Ridge Autism and Achievement Center. were delighted to see how satisfied our students were with all the hands-on activities offered by the Museum! Participation in the program has helped our students develop their communication skills, navigate their community and express their individual preferences for new and practiced leisure activities Staff, students and families look forward to many future visits to the Tabman!

The program, which is free to all participants under this grant, uses therapeutic art techniques that help participants explore their creative potential while addressing diverse professional skill sets and special needs. During a typical 90-minute Happy HeARTs session, participants take part in a gallery tour, engage in hands-on art-making, and enjoy art-inspired activities that are accessible and sensory-based.

In addition to group sessions, the Museum will also be offering Happy Hearts Family Time during which the Museum will be open only to people of varying abilities and their families. Like Happy HeARTs group activities, family events are free.

The idea for Happy HeARTs grew out of needs assessments the museum conducted throughout the Roanoke Valley.

“We found that there weren’t really any art-based therapy programs like this in the Roanoke Valley,” explained Katrina King-Singh, community access and engagement manager at Taubman. “The Museum has the resources, an extremely well-trained staff and an incredible facility to support a program of this type, so it seemed perfectly suited to our programming. We are truly delighted to have the opportunity to fill this important need in our region.

King-Singh noted that the type of therapeutic art offered by Happy HeARTs is different from art therapy. While art therapy uses art as a tool to support psychotherapy sessions, art therapy involves guided artistic creation to enhance participants’ self-esteem and to improve cognitive, motor, social and other skills. .

The development and scale-up of the IMLS grant-funded program will include the arrival of a professional art therapist as well as an arts program evaluator on the Happy HeARTs team to help design and implement implementation of the program. The Radford University Occupational Therapy Program has partnered to provide graduate students who will meet their internship requirements by participating in this program. In addition, 17 local social service agencies have partnered to coordinate client participation and provide feedback on various program elements as materials are developed.

Partner social service organizations are: ARCH, Blue Ridge Autism and Achievement Center, Blue Ridge Behavioral Healthcare, Blue Ridge Independent Living Center, Bridges of Virginia, DePaul Community Services, Easter Seals UCP, ehs, Family Services of the Roanoke Valley, Hall Community Services, Hope Tree Family Services, Katie’s Place, Rivermont, Roanoke Resource, Salem Veterans Administration Medical Center, Virginia Autism & Behavior Consulting, and Virginia Department for the Blind & Vision Impaired. The Museum will expand the reach of the program to also work with local K-12 school systems.

According to King-Singh, there are still opportunities for other organizations to participate, as well as individuals. “Our goal is to serve as many individuals and organizations as possible, so we encourage families and social service organizations to contact us to find out how they too can participate in this exciting new, free program.”

Those interested in participating in the Happy HeARTs program can contact Katrina King-Singh at 540-204-4131 or [email protected]

Media inquiries may be directed to Sunny Nelson at [email protected] or 919-452-9689. About the Institute of Museum and Library Services

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for libraries and museums nationwide. IMLS advances, supports, and strengthens museums, libraries, and related organizations in the United States through grantmaking, research, and policy development. The IMLS vision is a nation where museums and libraries work together to transform the lives of individuals and communities.


About the Taubman Art Museum

Designed by renowned architect Randall Stout and accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, the Taubman Museum of Art in Roanoke, Virginia houses a highly respected permanent collection and features rotating exhibits featuring works by global, national and regional artists. . In recognition of the museum’s community involvement and outreach efforts, the Institute of Museum and Library Service named Taubman a finalist for the 2021 National Museum and Library Service Medal, and the Virginia Association of Museums awarded the Taubman its 2022 Innovation Award. Committed to accessibility and inclusivity, the Taubman Museum of Art offers free general admission sponsored in part by the AEP Foundation.

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