Thank you. You've already made a difference just by being here. Truly.

Now, let's meet Qayla.

In a time when selfies and social media have taken root in our culture, and studies show that millennials prefer Instagram to museums, Qayla is a breath of fresh air and an inspiration, and I think you will agree.

Qayla, a 9 year-old who recently moved to Lakeland, is a Polk Museum of Art Sponsor Member dedicated to the arts. Her mother, Rosetta, purchased this membership at her daughter’s request, saying, “Passion cannot be taught but a mind can be encouraged...I want her to be inspired by the world around her, and art allows her to achieve this.”

Qayla and her mother attended their first Member’s reception in April during which they both surveyed the Rebels with a Cause exhibition until they each picked their favorites. Qayla’s favorite is Marion Crocker’s Changing Times. You could see the genuine interest and appreciation for the serene watercolor as she described her favorite features: “I like the way the hay looks… It’s very beautiful but plain… It’s a very calm picture.”

With funding for the arts dwindling and in an ever-evolving world where technology often replaces real in-person experience, we must remind everyone that our Museum is an important asset that brings enormous value to individuals as well as to our community as a whole.

Qayla’s story reminds us about the ways our Museum touches people in the community and continues to be a community gathering place where visitors can find inspiration, where they can satisfy their curiosity about the world, and where their creativity can be nurtured – all elements of a well-balanced life.

As with every prosperous city, our Museum is part of the infrastructure that also brings tremendous economic value to our region and makes Polk County an attractive location for businesses and families to move to and visit. A recent economic impact study has calculated the Museum’s impact in Lakeland alone at approximately $13 Million.

Sources of funding are dwindling for most not-for-profit organizations throughout the country. Due to budget cuts and lack of funding, we have had to cut programs that our community has asked for, including outreach programs, Family art workshops and exhibitions that would have created unique experiences for our community.

We must continue our mission to provide children like Qayla the opportunity to experience moments like this one – moments in which they can see and experience the world in a different light. With enough support from people like you, we can dive deeper into the conversation about Marion Crocker’s Changing Times.

Please help us continue these conversations by donating today.

Today, I ask you to consider a gift to the Museum that will help us deliver the enriching exhibitions and programs that benefit our community.

Our goal with this appeal is to reach more than $20,000 and you can help make that happen by donating today.

On behalf of our Board of Trustees, our Board of Governors, our staff, our artists, our teachers, our students, and our community, thank you for your on-going support and contributions.


Claire Orologas

Executive Director

PS: Please ask your company about a matching gift program and send the proper forms to the Museum. This is a simple way to make your gift go further.