national medal 250ROANOKE, Va. — The Institute of Museum and Library Services announced today that the Taubman Museum of Art is among 30 finalists for the 2021 National Medal for Museum and Library Service. The Taubman Museum of Art is one of only two institutions in Virginia to be selected as a finalist for this award, and one of only five art museums in the nation.

The National Medal is the nation’s highest honor given to museums and libraries that demonstrate significant impact in their communities. For more than 25 years, the award has honored institutions that demonstrate excellence in service to their communities. Since 1996, only 170 institutions have been recipients of the honor. Past winners can be viewed on the IMLS web site.

“This nomination speaks to the power that art can play in making an especially meaningful difference for individuals and communities,” said Cindy Petersen, executive director of the Taubman Museum of Art. “In recent years, our Museum has focused on using art to start new and often challenging conversations, to expand our ways of thinking, to encourage the embrace of diverse cultures, and to lift up new voices.

“Art can also be a valuable tool in helping people deal with loss and trauma. When COVID-19 hit, we adapted our outreach programs and worked with our community partners to ensure our continuous engagement of K-12 students, seniors in retirement communities, families, front-line healthcare workers, underrepresented communities, and those served by programs such as Feeding America and the Roanoke Rescue Mission.”

An example of the Museum meeting the community where they were during this past year includes the Taubman’s “Brush Pals” program, which has distributed more than 70,000 hands-on art kits, instructional worksheets and “Cards of Encouragement” to Southwest Virginians living in Botetourt, Campbell, Floyd, Franklin, Grayson, Montgomery, Roanoke, Smyth and Washington counties, many of whom did not have ready access to art.

In addition, the Museum pivoted to remotely continue its program titled “Healing Ceilings: A Community Tile Project,” in partnership with Carilion Clinic. Community groups including Burton Center for Arts and Technology, Community Youth Program, Friendship Retirement, Roanoke City and County Public Schools, Science Museum of Western Virginia LAB students, Temple Emanuel Teen Youth Group, Total Action for Progress, local homeschool groups, and more were provided with materials and prompts to paint more than 250 ceiling tiles with colorful, whimsical designs that will be installed at Carilion Clinic’s facilities to provide comfort to patients as they seek treatment.

“We humbly share the honor of this nomination with those in our community who have helped us use art to make a difference in the world, both prior to covid and also while facing the challenges of the pandemic,” said Petersen.

Members of the National Museum and Library Services Board, the presidentially-appointed advisory board for IMLS, will review the nominations this spring and make their recommendations to IMLS Director Crosby Kemper, who will select the winners.

"The revival and reinstitution of the National Medals by IMLS is another signal of recovery and renewal in the nation’s very challenging—but very hopeful—times,” said Kemper. “We are celebrating not only the ongoing excellence of the best of our museums and libraries, but their extraordinary efforts through the pandemic, the recession, the racial justice protests, and national divisions to serve, heal, and bring together our communities. Congratulations to all 30 finalists."

From among the 30 finalists, six National Medal winners – three museums and three libraries – will be announced in late spring. Representatives from winning institutions will be honored for their extraordinary contributions during a virtual National Medal Ceremony this summer.

To see the full list of finalists and learn more about the National Medal, visit the IMLS website.

To celebrate this honor, IMLS is encouraging the Taubman Museum of Art’s community members to share stories, memories, pictures and videos about the museum on social media Monday, May 3, using the #ShareYourStory and #IMLSmedals hashtags, and engage with IMLS on Facebook and Twitter. For more information, please visit the IMLS website.

About the Institute of Museum and Library Services
The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation's libraries and museums. We advance, support and empower America’s museums, libraries and related organizations through grantmaking, research and policy development. Our vision is a nation where museums and libraries work together to transform the lives of individuals and communities. To learn more, visit and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

About the Taubman Museum of Art
The Taubman Museum of Art is an American art museum located in the heart of downtown Roanoke, Va. Designed by noted architect Randall Stout and accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, the Taubman Museum of Art is home to a respected permanent collection and offers 12-15 annual exhibitions showcasing work by regional, national and international artists. Current museum hours are Friday and Saturday 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday 12-5 p.m. To ensure barrier-free access to all, free general admission is sponsored in part by AEP Foundation. For additional event, exhibition and programming information, visit or follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.


SAS ThumbOver the past six decades, the Sidewalk Art Show has become a beloved tradition for our community, infusing downtown Roanoke with energy, creativity, and excitement. Thousands visit the show each year to peruse the artists' tents, discover new treasures, and make new friends. 

Traditions must evolve sometimes, and that's where we find ourselves with the Sidewalk Art Show this year. Given the current situation with COVID-19, the Governor's order to limit gatherings, and our commitment to our community's well-being, the Taubman Museum of Art has made the tough decision to cancel the on-site, physical show scheduled for August 15-16. 

But don't despair! You still will be able to purchase fine art works and support artists, only this year in a virtual form. 

Just recently launched, the new Sidewalk Art Show Online Art Sale features a range of works available for purchase, including jewelry, fine art photography, painting, sculpture, and more. Proceeds from the sales benefit both the artists and the Museum, supporting the arts in Roanoke and beyond. You can visit the shop online at

On August 15-16, you can experience the show in a new way on our website and social media channels. We will connect you with artists through virtual, live experiences such a Q+A's, demonstrations, studio tours, and more. You'll get an insider's peek into the artists' work spaces, learn about their creative processes, and see the new projects they're working on. Additional details about this digital experience will be shared soon, so stay tuned! 

As always, we're grateful for your ongoing support of the Sidewalk Art Show and the Taubman Museum of Art. We also are deeply appreciative of the continued support of our presenting sponsor, American National Bank and Trust, lead sponsor Blue Ridge Beverage, and supporting sponsor LinDor Arts for this year's virtual Sidewalk Art Show. 

While we look forward to the day when we can all gather again on the streets of downtown to celebrate our love of art, we also look forward to sharing these wonderful new virtual experiences with you online. 
[Image credit: 61st Annual Sidewalk Art Show Grand Home Furnishings "Best in Show" Award Winner]

While the heart of a museum is its collection, the soul of a museum is its people, with all the energy and passion that they provide.

After our doors closed in mid-March, we pivoted to provide a number of virtual programs to keep you connected with your museum. Like you, though, we’ve missed those conversations in the hallways, the questions in the classrooms, the stories in the galleries.

Now that we have entered Phase Two of the Forward Virginia timeline, we’re pleased to announce that the Taubman Museum of Art will re-open to the public on Friday, July 3.

In line with the Governor’s guidelines, you’ll be able to enjoy the Museum in a more intimate way, with fewer guests in the building, but truly impactful experiences all the same. During Phase Two, the Taubman will be open to the public on Fridays and Saturdays from 10 am-5 pm and Sundays from 12-5 pm, with free general admission still available to all.

As always, your health and safety are top priorities for us at the Taubman. Here’s what we’re doing to keep you and others safe during your visit:

• Face coverings will be mandatory for all staff and for all guests who are 10 years or older
• Guest numbers will be limited in all spaces to prevent gatherings
• All group tours, classes, and activities are postponed for now
• High-touch areas such as Art Venture and the Education classrooms will remain closed
• Clearly marked entry, exit, and walking paths will be labeled on doors and floors to help ensure social distancing of at least 6 feet between parties
• One party at a time will be permitted in the elevators
• Enhanced cleaning and sanitization of high-touch surfaces and restrooms will occur regularly
• Hand sanitizer stations will be available throughout the Museum
• Clear partitions between guests and staff at the Visitor Services Desk will provide an extra layer of protection for check-in and questions
• Individual art kits with lessons and supplies will be available upon request at the Visitor Services Desk in lieu of children’s and group art-making activities (free for Members and for a small donation for other guests)

Virtual classes and exhibition spotlights will continue on the Museum’s web site and social media channels for you to enjoy on those days we’re closed to guests. Rest assured that we’re taking that time to do deep cleaning and sanitization before your next visit.

We always welcome questions, suggestions, and ideas from our friends. Please reach out to us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

Thank you for your support and dedication. We can’t wait to see you in the galleries again soon!


Image by Kyra Schmidt

Dear Friends,

It is with a very heavy heart that we announce the passing of a dear colleague and friend, Dr. Patrick Shaw Cable, the Museum's Chief Curator and Deputy Director of Exhibitions and Collections.

Patrick's recent passing was unexpected, and we at the Museum are still processing the shock of losing someone so genuinely kind, intelligent, and insightful. We are in contact with his family and will post information regarding memorials as appropriate.

If you ever interacted with Patrick, then you know that art was his passion - from the challenge of digging-down-into-the-books to research an obscure detail to the joy of uncrating wondrous new works from lenders and the excitement of an exhibition opening weekend. And while art was his passion, he also had a true passion for people. He took great joy in touring the galleries with you - teaching you about the works, why he loved them, and why they were important.

Patrick mattered a great deal to us, and we have a feeling he meant a lot to you as well. Our sympathies go out to each and every one of you that were touched in some way by Patrick.

You can read more about Patrick's accomplishments and the impact he had on our community and beyond in this Roanoke Times article:

We invite you to send your condolences to Patrick's family at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Cindy M. Petersen
Executive Director

These are challenging times for all of us, and we miss having you in the galleries and classrooms. While the heart of a museum is its collection, the soul of a museum is its people, with all the energy and passion that they provide.

We hope you and your loved ones are doing well during this uncertain time. We at the Museum firmly believe we will all come through this experience with a deeper appreciation of each other and a renewed sense of what matters most in life - family, community, education, and inspiration spring to mind for us.

Like you, we are closely monitoring the evolving situation with COVID-19 and continue to be vigilant in our efforts to protect you and others while serving our mission. Although our physical doors will remain closed to the public and all on-site programming is postponed until further notice per order of the Governor, we will continue to make an impact in our community, just in a new way.

The Museum is working diligently behind the scenes to bring you impactful art experiences, as we believe in the educational, inspirational, and healing power it can provide. We are hard at work crafting dynamic content and augmenting our online programming to best serve you and help our community remain connected to one another.

Keep an eye on our web site, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube platforms for tours of the galleries, artwork spotlights, collaborative performances with partners such as the Roanoke Public Libraries, Opera Roanoke, and Southwest Virginia Ballet, as well as art lessons for all ages.

We will strive to keep you updated with news about rescheduled programming and opportunities to enjoy YOUR Museum - virtually for now and, hopefully soon, again in person.

Thank you, as always, for your continued support and care for the Taubman Museum of Art.

Be well, and stay safe.

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