At TAO we have a vision:  to make the arts accessible for everyone.  We advocate for artists and the value of their work; we advocate for healthcare staff and the difficult jobs they have; we advocate for people with special needs and for the elderly.  From workshops and website resources to e-newsletters and social media, we serve as a community resource for arts and health.  Our training series brings creative experts from around the country to share best practices in the field of arts and health with area artists and caregivers.
TAO's outreach programs encourage participation and creative self-expression.  The people we serve, who struggle with disability, crisis, poverty, infirmity and/or advanced age, need these affirming experiences in their lives. Half of the residents in long-term care have no regular visitors; the caring and dedicated staff who attend to them simply can’t do all the visiting, hugging and listening that is needed.  Our artists support their work and replace loneliness and isolation with caring and celebration; happiness that often lasts long after our programs end.
The arts are a powerful force for good.  TAO's group arts programs build community, helping people bridge culture, age and ability differences and allowing us to communicate about issues that often are difficult to put into words. We can tell our story or leave our legacy, through the arts.  In addition to all the socializing and fun, the health benefits of creative engagement are well documented.
At TAO we are inspired and hopeful, yet we struggle to fulfill many of the services requested by groups on behalf of their residents, clients and staff.  Residents like Steven, a young boy at a local crisis shelter, who, with singer/songwriter Tina Micula and other children wrote, sang and recorded “You Gotta Get Up,” a collaborative piece about resilience and determination in the face of adversity.  And clients like Mary, who told us, “the tears started flowing,” during our ‘Life In Transit’ project of healing through art and poetry for women victims of violence.  And staff members like Amy, who commented our workshop showed her “a whole new way of looking at, working with and improving quality of life for the elderly.”
We need your help to continue providing training and programming for thousands of people like Steven, Mary and Amy.  Please join me by making a tax-deductible gift to Tidewater Arts Outreach this month. Year-end funds will allow us to produce regular workshops, get new programs off the ground and provide group arts experiences for people with special needs. To help us make an even bigger impact, you can support our programs with a monthly, quarterly or annual donation. Can we count on you to help us meet our goals?
One daughter of a nursing home resident told us 'I saw a light in my mother’s eyes I have not seen for a long time.’ Today, you can help us replace suffering, frustration and isolation with laughter, inspiration and the best kind of tears.  Today, the instruments to heal are in your hands.
Thank you for joining in our effort for service through the arts and improved quality of life for thousands in Hampton Roads.  If you have questions, or if you would like to be more directly involved in any aspect of our work, please call or email us.  Thank you for joining with us in December to make real and lasting change for so many.  Thank you for your gift.

MaryAnn Toboz
Founder/Executive Director