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Katonah Museum of Art

Cultivating curiosity and creativitgy

As Marketing & Communications Manager Caroline Holder explains, “The Museum is a vital contributor to the community – a ‘hidden gem’ – and offers a welcoming space for the public to share ideas and experience the power of art.” Stop & Shop has supported this nonprofit organization through the Community Bag Program.

Tell us about the Katonah Museum of Art.

The Katonah Museum of Art (KMA) is a non-collecting institution that presents innovative exhibitions that cross a spectrum of artistic disciplines, cultures and time periods. The mission of the Museum is to promote the understanding and enjoyment of the visual arts for diverse audiences. Our exhibitions explore ideas about art, culture and society—past and present—through innovative exhibition and education programs and provide an engaging, approachable space where all are welcome.

From a historical perspective, The Katonah Gallery, a forerunner of the Katonah Museum of Art, was founded in 1954 and initially located in a small attic room over the Katonah Village Library. In 1969, the Gallery opened exhibition space on the ground floor of the Katonah Library. Then, in 1990, the Katonah Gallery became the Katonah Museum of Art and moved to its new building designed by Edward Larrabee Barnes.

We are worldwide; the Museum exhibits art created both locally and from across the globe. Our current exhibition, ‘Tenacity & Resilience: The Art of Jerry Pinkney,’ features the work of a single artist who was local before his passing in 2021. We’ve done exhibitions like the one last year called ‘Arrivals’ that focused on stories of immigration, which drew art and artists globally. These conversations speak to everyone; they’re global conversations and issues.

The mission of the Museum is to promote the understanding and enjoyment of the visual arts for diverse audiences.

What services do you provide to the community?

The Katonah Museum of Art cultivates curiosity and creativity, providing learning experiences for kids, teens and adults of all abilities. The Museum has developed partnership programs based on thoughtful collaboration with schools and community organizations throughout Westchester County.

The changing variety of art from around the globe, created in a multitude of media, provides rich opportunities for learning that resonate for all ages and educational levels. In an increasingly complex society inundated with visual stimulation, the Museum sees its goals–teaching visual literacy and encountering primary objects–not just as an opportunity, but as a special responsibility.

The Museum is a vital contributor to the community – a “hidden gem” – and offers a welcoming space for the public to share ideas and experience the power of art.

What sets you apart from other nonprofits in your community?

From the beginning, the KMA was committed to presenting exceptional art from all cultures and time periods. The founders’ decision to be a non-collecting institution resulted in a dynamic and flexible exhibition program, which remains one of the most distinctive features of the Museum. The KMA offers lectures, films, workshops, concerts and other events for a general audience; and presents innovative and substantive programs for nearly 100 member schools and community organizations. The Museum’s outreach programs for the local Latino immigrant population are at the forefront of community-based education programs. Its exhibitions, events and educational programs invite everyone to experience and reflect on the impact and transformative power of the visual arts.

Tell us a story that illustrates the good work of your organization.

Going beyond being just a museum, we effectively engage in the community and have inspirational collaborations with schools, libraries and other cultural organizations.

The Katonah Museum of Art engages in collaborative projects such as ArteJuntos/Art Together, the KMA’s nationally recognized art and family literacy program designed to support the literacy and communication development of preschool children while promoting parent engagement. Supported by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), ArteJuntos/ArtTogether empowers parents to become resourceful facilitators of their children’s learning while encouraging families to enjoy museums together. Since its inception almost 15 years ago, ArteJuntos/ArtTogether has strengthened and grown with its partner organizations for Westchester County’s growing Latino community.

Another program we are proud of is Building Bridges: Prison Arts Initiative, launched in 2021 at the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility, a maximum-security women’s prison, with collaborative support from Rehabilitation Through the Arts. The program engages incarcerated women at the facility in guided dialogue and poetry writing in response to the artwork on view at the Museum. Educating, healing, and growing through art are essential tenets of the initiative, which generates creative and collaborative learning experiences that enrich the lives of incarcerated people and empower individuals to improve the quality of their lives.

What is your most outstanding achievement or contribution to the community?

The Museum prides itself on being a welcoming space for all ages. Museums have the power to create unity on both a social and political level, but also on a local one. As a local museum, the KMA is able to provide a sense of community and place by celebrating a collective heritage, offering a way to get to know the history of the area. In addition, the KMA also brings people together in a more literal way–through public events, workshops and lectures. Engaging people on different levels is essential; we encourage people to spend as much or as little time in our space to observe the art, come into our learning center and cultivate their creativity.

What is the most important thing you want people to know about your organization?

As a non-collecting museum, we can also be innovative and focus on various art to expose to audiences. The fluctuating aspects of the art scene and artists, in general, are highlighted in our space. Speaking through art on present issues at the forefront of society is important to the Katonah Museum of Art.  

How will you use the funds raised from the Stop and Shop Community Bag Program?

The funds we earned through the Stop & Shop Community Bag Program have assisted with our general operations. These funds have helped provide supplies for our many programs and helped with any day-to-day needs within the Museum. A little goes a long way, and we are grateful to continue participating in this program.

Is there anything you’d like to add?

I encourage you and those around you to come and visit the Museum. The current exhibitions are wonderful to experience. People can also check out some of the past shows on the website, as well as some exciting events and programs underway:

Caroline Holder is the Marketing & Communications Manager for the Katonah Museum of Art.