"I like her style. It crackles. She consistently surprises with her word choices, her tone, and wit."
—Charles Johnson, National Book Award winner and MacArthur fellow

Arts educator, poet, and museum consultant Toni Wynn creates inspired opportunities for learning. Toni brings a poet’s truthtelling and an educator’s respect for learners to her work.

Toni's writing lives online and in museums, anthologies, limited-edition book-art collabos, and scholarly places. From time to time she muses on the vagaries of motherhood at Call Your Mother.

Toni formally studied international relations, social welfare, marketing, and instructional technology. She is a trained conflict manager who supports the best in us all. 

 

MUSEUMS + HISTORIC SITES

 

smithsonian institution traveling exhibition service

Exhibit development and script editing for "Men of Change," a forthcoming exhibition celebrating African American men.

Adapted and edited script of “City of Hope: Resurrection City & the 1968 Poor People’s Campaign.” The National Museum of African American History (NMAAHC) and Culture exhibit had shown at the National Museum of American History before opening at NMAAHC. It will now tour as a poster exhibit.

Project initiative support for “The Bias Inside Us” a project for engaging and strengthening communities 

Museum as site for social action (MASS Action)

Member of this resourceful community of museum workers. We actively work for systemic change toward institutional transformation and engaged visitors. Facilitated the workshop “Things Fall Apart” with Swarupa Anila and Janeen Bryant at the MASS Action convening in 2018.

ANACOSTIA COMMUNITY MUSEUM

Exhibit and publication development for the pathbreaking Smithsonian museum's 50th anniversary year

NATIONAL MUSEUM OF AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY AND CULTURE

Toni helped give shape and voice to the permanent "Cultural Expressions" exhibit for the Smithsonian’s newest museum on the National Mall. The American Alliance of Museums honored her with a second text-writing award. Her editorial consulting with the museum’s Office of Strategic Partnerships is ongoing.

New Jersey state museum

Editing and consulting in her home state with historians, educators and paleontologists on the "Silver, Shell and Glass" and "Fossil Tales" exhibits

MUSEUM AT THE GATEWAY ARCH

Toni's Word-Burning Stove team wrote new exhibit text for the renovated museum at Gateway Arch National Park in St. Louis. Formerly the Museum of Western Expansion, it reopened July 2018.

BLACK HISTORY MUSEUM AND CULTURAL CENTER OF VIRGINIA

As advisor to the board, Toni guided the museum's traveling exhibitions. BHM opened in the historic Leigh Street Armory in Richmond in May 2016.

NATIONAL CIVIL RIGHTS MUSEUM

Historian Hasan Jeffries, Ph.D, and Toni worked together with Dr. Stephanie Shaw and the NCRM staff on a new exhibit script for the landmark museum at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee.

TUSKEGEE AIRMEN NATIONAL HISTORICAL SITE

Toni completed exhibit text for the new Hangar Two exhibit at historic Moton Field in Alabama. The Tuskegee Airmen lived and trained at the site, moving what began as "the Tuskegee Experiment" forward into World War II and history as "the Tuskegee Experience." Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site

OLD SLAVE MART MUSEUM

Toni wrote interpretive text for a daring history museum on the domestic slave trade in Charleston. The museum is celebrated for its unsentimental telling of the story of Ryan’s Mart, a slave market, from three perspectives.

AFRICAN BURIAL GROUND NATIONAL MONUMENT AND HISTORIC SITE

Toni's work as lead exhibit writer for the African Burial Ground Visitor Center garnered a 2010 text writing award from the American Association of Museums. Toni interpreted in writing the rediscovered history of the Africans who helped build New York. The cemetery is located in lower New York, near Wall Street.

SCOTCHTOWN

Preservation Virginia staff identified the need to revise docent training at the former plantation home of statesman Patrick Henry, his family, and domestic and field workers. Toni shaped a more inclusive, culturally sensitive program, and met with community members about their connection to Scotchtown.

HISTORIC JAMESTOWNE

Toni workshopped research findings in 17th c. Virginia history with African American community stakeholders in her work on the permanent exhibitions at Jamestown. With her guidance, a national review team ensured cultural sensitivity on all interpretive plans, research methods, and content. Historic Jamestowne.

ARTS EDUCATION/steam

Toni employs the arts across disciplines to reconnect students and teachers with their curiosity.

CARVER [ON] RECORD

With artist-in-residence Nelly Kate Anderson, art teacher Liz Claud, social studies teacher Sarah Marcellin, and a dynamic team of high school students, created a multi-level civil rights + arts exhibit experience in Chester, Virginia. Elements of the installation are now a permanent part of the school. We’ve facilitated Carver workshops at MuseumNEXT and at the Arts in Society conference in Paris. The University of Richmond hosts us in April at “Learning Stories,” part of their Speakers Series.

Partners in the Arts at the University of Richmond

  • Partners in the Arts Joan Oates Institute (JOI): Toni's "Jazzing STEM" professional development musical workshop with Russell Wilson's jazz quartet

  • For JOI 2016: Community and Art Installation workshop with Michael K. Lease of VCU's Institute for Contemporary Art

 

in print

“On the Hex: A Roadmap for Experiential Oral Histories”: Written with the Carver [ON] Record team for The International Journal of Arts Education, 2019

MASS Action Toolkit : Contributor to the (free!) 2018 action guide to equity in museum work

“Identity, Narrative, and Mis-Education in a More-Than-Human World”: A collaborative article with my daughter, Dr. Rae Wynn-Grant, in Mapping Meaning, the Journal, Issue No. 1, 2018

"Toward a STEM + Arts Curriculum: Creating the Teacher Team" : STEAM article written with Juliette Harris for Art Education

“Louder” : A poetic tribute to Prince. Toni and Nelly Kate Anderson collaborated on this broadside. Triple Stamp Press in Richmond, VA, printed it on purple stock.

TWO FOR LITTLE RIVER : A tiny limited edition letterpress folio to celebrate the first Little River Poetry Festival

KEHINDE WILEY: A NEW REPUBLIC OPENS SATURDAY AT VMFA : Profile of the artist and exhibit for Richmond Free Press

BLACK NATURE : Editor Camille T. Dungy calls this an "introduction to a new way of thinking about nature writing and writing by black Americans." The first in my brown girl's nature poem cycle is published here.

POECOLOGY : Inaugural issue! An online journal of poems inspired by the natural world (and caring for it). 

TOAD : Three poems in Toad 

MATH INTO VISUAL ART INTO MATH INTO POETRY AND LEAH GILLIAM AT WORK AT PLAY : Encounters with math artist John Sims and his maths-art exhibit series at the Bowery Poetry Club in New York; for the "Innovation" issue of the International Review of African American Art. Media artist and educator Leah Gilliam is profiled, too. 

GROUND : Fifteen poems about the Earth and us. Hand-bound, letterpress book art collaboration with Shakespeare Press Museum. Numbered limited edition available.

RECKONING : Portfolio collaboration with printmaker Barry Ebner. Eleven poems and images tell a family’s story of domestic violence. Numbered limited edition of 21.

THE PLACE WITHIN WHERE THE UNIVERSE RESIDES : T’s first letterpress chapbook of poems. Lovingly printed and hand-stitched at Shakespeare Press Museum, San Luis Obispo, California.

 

PRESS + affiliations

MUSEUMS

POETry + interdisciplinary art

  • Recent readings at Poetry at the CORE — CORE Wine Tasting Room, Santa Maria, California; Goodyear Arts, Charlotte, North Carolina; (re) Surveying the Source: Entanglements of Water, History, and Form — Centennial Valley, Montana; William Carroll Writers Festival, Norfolk State University, Virginia

  • Mapping Meaning : Member of this community of artists and scientists imagining new futures; grounded in respect for environment and community