Arts » Arts Lead

CMA's Annual Staff Show Puts Spotlight on Employees' Most Personal Work



As its yearlong centennial celebration comes to an end, the Cleveland Museum of Art celebrates its talented employees with its annual Staff Show at Transformer Station. Although the show is held each year, this year's exhibition seems particularly special as the museum reflects on its first century before beginning its next.

Hosted by Fred and Laura Bidwell's Transformer Station for the second time, this year's Staff Show stretches through both of Transformer Station's exhibition spaces. Transformer Station was founded in part as a west side footprint for the Cleveland Museum of Art. The CMA schedules half the year's programming at Transformer Station, allowing it to "uncover new opportunities, take risks and explore new ideas and new media."

With each staff member allowed to exhibit only one new work, the exhibition showcases the artists' most personal work. While viewing the exhibition, it quickly becomes apparent that every work is placed with a purpose. Thanks to this thoughtful curating, unexpected and unintended themes emerge. These repeating elements, symbols and motifs include: references to art history, trees and foliage, flowers, socio-political commentary, indigenous people and culture, lions (really, the exhibition features three works portraying lions), Cleveland, the incorporation of textiles and more.

The CMA was founded in 1913 "for the benefit of all the people forever," as stated by J. H. Wade II upon its inception. It opened its doors to the public for the first time in the summer of 1916. The museum's mission statement and longtime financial support from the community ensure that the museum's collection will indeed remain free to the public forever.

Earlier this year, the CMA was named the second-best museum in the U.S. by Business Insider magazine, second only to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, as well as second-best free museum in the U.S. by USA Today. This special exhibition showcases the immense talent that contributes every day to the CMA's world class experience. The Museum employs more than 450 staff members. These individuals, and their collective efforts, are what make the CMA one of the best art museums in the world.

The CMA Staff Show remains on view through New Year's Day, Sunday, Jan. ,1 during regular business hours: Wednesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., with extended hours until 8 p.m. on Thursday. Closed Monday and Tuesday. As always, Transformer Station is free and open to the public.


We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club for as little as $5 a month.