Published: August 16, 2021
First-Time Blue Star Museums Participant, Mexic-Arte Museum, Shares Inclusive Space for MilFams to Learn and Connect
“Art matters because it is the one true great connector in a world that seems to be very unconnected.”
– Josh Groban
In many ways, military life is extremely fractured. Life is broken up into blocks of time─two-year command, one-year deployment, two-month temporary duty assignment, six more months until homecoming, or two weeks on the road from one duty station to another. It’s hard to feel connected─to a place, to people, to each other─when so much of your life is disjointed. In fact, according to the 2020 Military Family Lifestyle Survey, only 27% of active-duty family respondents feel a sense of belonging to their local civilian community. With “belonging” so strongly associated with mental health, the lack of connection is a major problem. And when there’s stress at home, mission readiness suffers.
With all the inconsistencies of military life, Blue Star Families looks to provide access to resources that can unify communities, and cultivate an environment of support and connection for military families. We find that in museums. No matter where you are, where you’re going, what your background is, there’s a museum ready to connect you to the community; to provide a place to meet, learn, and explore. And with the Blue Star Museums program, military families can access these safe spaces free of charge, all summer long, all across the country.
Offering an inclusive space is exactly what first-time Blue Star Museums participant Mexic-Arte Museum is aiming for. “Mexic-Arte serves as an integral resource and center of information regarding Latinx cultural practices and art in Central Texas,” said Jessica Solis, Community Outreach Associate for Mexic-Arte. “We practice diversity and inclusivity in our programming in an attempt to democratize American art. When we first heard about the Blue Star Museums program through a contact at Texas Commission of the Arts, we decided to participate to reach the military community in the hopes of making military families feel welcome. To give them a place to learn and participate in activities together. Having access to museums across the country can be a stable way for families to have a sense of unity even though they may be in a new place. We can also provide a space for military families to feel more at ease meeting new people.”
The Mexic-Arte Museum isn’t just providing free admission. It’s actively inviting military families to participate in special Blue Star Families events designed to provide education and engagement. Military families in central Texas have a new source of support and inclusion available to them. After a year that was harder than most, we could all use time to connect, relax, learn, and have fun. So if you haven’t taken a moment to check out the museums around you or along the route to your new home, now’s the time!
If you’re a museum representative and you’re not yet a member of the Blue Star Museums program, it’s not too late to get involved. “Creating a world where art is accessible is the ultimate goal,” Solis said. “Engagement from our community not only is a great way for people to come out but it also offers an overall sense of togetherness.” The Blue Star Museums program is ready to help you accomplish that goal–to create a mutually supportive relationship where everyone can come together and learn.
To connect with us about becoming a Blue Star Museums participant, visit www.bluestarfam.org.