In the Beginning.

Tidewater Arts Outreach was founded in 2004 by artist MaryAnn Toboz. In her own words:

MaryAnn Toboz
Founder and Executive Director 2004-2018

Tidewater Arts Outreach was born out of an abundance of enthusiasm, a passion for sharing music, a love of people, and a desire to convene members of Tidewater’s creative class. Add the support of a loving spouse and subtract caution or second guessing. I went to the local public library and checked out “Starting a Nonprofit for Dummies,” and I was off.

It took six months to get a 501c(3) designation; in the meantime, I enlisted the help of a few friends and formed a small board; we met on my back porch. I started calling folks; I think helped initially by leaders at the local arts commissions. We convened a think tank early on…they encouraged us to see beyond music to the potential of using all the arts in outreach to others.

A small group seeded TAO with a few thousand dollars, and I began writing small grants. We grew as our resources allowed and I was having the time of my life – and I’d never worked harder. I spent plenty of time reaching out to whoever would listen about the power of the arts–nursing home administrators, doctors, lawyers, Task Forces on Aging members, artists of all backgrounds and persuasions. The need was so great for what we were offering, and the response was overwhelmingly positive. We were off.

MaryAnn Toboz, on the founding of TAO

Through Transition

After over 14 years of directing the organization, MaryAnn turned the reins over to Reese Beeler, CFRE. Reese continued to expand program partnerships with facilities and organizations in the region that served TAO’s target population. She was also the creator of the Once More Concert, TAO’s annual fundraiser that tells the stories of those TAO serves through the power of song. This groundbreaking event has enjoyed success even as its inaugural year was impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Reese wisely guided the organization to the end of the year 2020 before turning over the organization to current Executive Director, Kate Powell.

Reese Beeler
Executive Director from 2018-2020

And Into the Future.

Tidewater Arts Outreach reaches thousands of participants with an average of over 200 programs per year. Even in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, TAO continues to reach those who experience isolation from society.

Now it’s your turn. Get involved in this mission and become part of this amazing story.

Thalia Brass Quintet at
Pelican Health in Norfolk