"After three years of the show, we wanted to do something different," Merkt said. "I wanted the museum to be seen more as a community center."
As a result, Mabee-Gerrer reached out to local community organizations and nonprofits that needed assistance and jump-started the idea of themed art shows that would directly benefit these groups and the people they assist throughout the year.
For the duration of last year's sculpture exhibition, "Doing What We Can to Help," the museum waived the price of admission with the donation of a canned good item for the Shawnee Salvation Army. The surrounding community was extremely supportive, Merkt said.
"Our openings are much better attended with these shows," she said. "We receive double the amount of visitors with them than with our regular openings."
This year, the museum replicated the idea with "A Promise of Home," featuring more than 30 local artists' representations of what home means to them. The exhibit runs through Sunday, for which admission is waived with the donation of a new roll of toilet paper and other personal paper and personal hygiene products.
Donations will benefit Family Promise, which assists homeless families and children.
Hours for the museum, 1900 W. MacArthur Drive in Shawnee, are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday. For more information, call 878-5300 or visit www.mgmoa.org. "Ta'Chelle Jones
Sister Eugenia Brown's "The Browns' White House" is among the works featured in "A Promise of Home."