Cleveland Museum of Art Announces Plans for Centennial Celebrations Throughout 2016


  • Courtesy CMA

Yesterday morning, Mayor Frank Jackson joined the Cleveland Museum of Art’s Director, Dr. William Griswold, to officially announce the museum’s summer plans for its Centennial celebration.

“The Cleveland Museum of Art contributes a lot to Cleveland,” said Mayor Jackson from inside the CMA’s Ames Family Atrium. “It’s not just a local or national institution; it is known throughout the world, and its being known throughout the world has really brought great benefits to the city of Cleveland. When people think of Cleveland, they think of the museum, they think of us in a very positive way. Earlier, as we were talking, I saw some kids going though, and I see some kids now, so it also serves as a way to expose young people to culture and to art in a way that they would not have been able to be exposed but for this museum. So then again, I’d like to congratulate the museum on 100 years and thank them for what they do for Cleveland.”

Mayor Jackson also presented a proclamation in honor of the museum’s 100 years. Following Mayor Jackson’s remarks, Dr. Griswold spoke to members of the media, CMA staff, members and visitors.

“This morning, I am pleased to announce a host of new partnerships, as I am to announce to you some of the major events of our summer season, when the festivities with which we are planning to celebrate our centennial reach a real crescendo,” Griswold announced. “The centennial of this august and ever changing museum marks an occasion that demands a celebration that will last a full year. That celebration began on New Year’s Eve and it has continued with such exhibitions as Monet to Matisse and Pharaoh: King of Ancient Egypt.”

The Cleveland Museum of Art has planned several special Centennial Exhibitions throughout the year, including Painting the Modern Garden: Monet to Matisse (ended Jan. 5), Pharaoh: King of Ancient Egypt (through Jun. 12), Converging Lines: Eva Hesse and Sol Lewitt (through Jul. 31) and Art and Stories from Mughal India (Jul. 31 to Oct. 23).

Joining in the celebration, Slider of the Cleveland Indians stopped by to help officially announce this Saturday, May 7 as Cleveland Museum of Art Day at Progressive Field.

“Thanks to the Cleveland Indians, and thanks to you Slider for being here,” Griswold said before being bear-hugged by the Indians’ mascot. 

The CMA was founded in 1913 “for the benefit of all the people forever,” as stated by co-founder J. H. Wade II upon its inception. It officially opened its doors on June 6, 1916. The museum’s mission statement and longtime financial support ensure that the museum’s collection will remain free to the public forever. It truly is one of our community’s greatest assets.

“For a century, Clevelanders of all ages have explored the museum’s galleries, learning from and enjoying art from every period and every corner of the globe,” reflects Dr. Griswold. “Busloads of school children have arrived to expand their horizons. Art enthusiasts from all over the world have poured over the works in our collection, and in these august surrounds, our community has come together, our visitors have found joy and solace, and both here and in the Fine Arts Garden, couples have celebrated their marriage vows in the company of family, friends and fine art.”

He continues, “Today, the museum is a crucial component of a thriving arts community in our town, and it contributes to Cleveland and Northeast Ohio’s social and economic wellbeing. It complements our burgeoning manufacturing, healthcare and professional services sectors, and the museum and its programs enhance the quality of life in our region.”

The CMA’s Centennial comes just a few short years after the completion of the museum’s $320 million dollar renovation and expansion. Griswold connected the past to the present in the same way the CMA’s new atrium connects the museum’s original building to its more recent additions.

“As we celebrate our centennial year, we are proud to rededicate ourselves to our founders’ mission in the service of this and future generations of Clevelanders,” Griswold promises. “We also of course seek to build on the legacy of our founders. Today’s Clevelanders have picked up the mantle of those who came before them, generously supporting the museum’s recently completed $320 million expansion. That project, so visible all around us, gave us a third more space to display the collection. It gave us new galleries for exhibitions. It allowed us to create our award-winning Gallery One, and it made possible the construction of this magnificent 3,900 sq. ft. Ames Family Atrium, which has become a major locus for family events.”

In 2016, the CMA has planned a series of special exhibitions, celebrations, loans and events designed to engage the community beyond just University Circle.

“With the support of the Bidwell Foundation, we now have a foothold on the west side in the form of the Transformer Station,” says Griswold. “Programming there and the ties that we forge with our neighbors in East Cleveland, Fairfax, Collinwood, Glenville and Hough have allowed us to reach far beyond University Circle. As we embark on our next 100 years, we have tremendous momentum, and it is our goal to involve every Clevelander in our Centennial. Because community outreach is such a key part of our mission, we will take our celebration into the streets, and we’re teaming up with other renowned institutions, as well as with artists and celebrities from throughout our region.”

He elaborates, “In Hough, our partnership will feature collaborative arts programs, and culminate in a community celebration that will last from August the 6th until August the 11th. Afterward, we look forward to continuing to work in Hough, and to continuing our work with the Cleveland Orchestra, as together we seek to raise awareness of art and music and culture.”

Additionally, Dr. Griswold announced Centennial local partnerships with the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (RTA) and the Cleveland Orchestra.

“We’re pleased to be working with one of the best public transit systems in North America, the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority, which has been designated the official transportation provider for the museum’s Centennial,” Griswold proudly announced. “The RTA is going to partner with us in community outreach programs related to our celebration, providing public transportation to and from the museum throughout the summer.”

Continuing, he adds, “In addition, I’m thrilled to announce a new partnership with the Cleveland Orchestra. Bringing together two of Cleveland’s most revered institutions, our collaboration with the orchestra will engage the community, not just as spectators, but as active participants in the creation of art.”

From now through October, the museum will offer more unique programs. Its new Centennial art truck, Studio Go, will bring the CMA’s educational programming to more than 50 locations in neighborhoods throughout Northeast Ohio. Like a food truck, the Centennial Art Truck will bring Art to Go, interactive presentations, studio classes and more programming directly to local neighborhoods. You can follow Studio Go on Twitter using the hashtag #CMAArtTruck.

“Many of our Centennial plans stem from the museum’s enduring commitment to families,” Griswold promises. “Starting today, Studio Go, our Centennial art truck, will begin taking museum programs all over the city. Studio Go is going to visit more than 50 locations, and appear at many events throughout Cleveland between now and October. The art truck will feature opportunities to make art, and we’re planning a menu of programs on such themes as the art of ancient Egypt, printmaking and portraiture in collaboration with each of our community partners.

“At the same time, we’ll kick off Art Explorers, a new membership program especially for young people age 5 to 12,” Griswold adds. “Every child who visits the museum within one year of joining this program will receive points each time he or she comes toward a free one year membership for his or her whole family. And so just by participating in such great events as Second Sundays, Family Game Night, other special events, kids may earn memberships for the betterment of their brothers and sisters as well.”

Later this month, the museum will debut a new and improved version of its award-winning Art Lens app for the iPhone.

In June, the CMA will host a Members-Only Birthday Celebration (Monday, Jun. 6), the Official CMA Birthday Party (Thurs. Jun. 7) and Centennial Festival Weekend (Saturday, Jun. 25 and Sunday, Jun. 26). The Members-Only Birthday Celebration is open to all members, and memberships are available through the CMA’s website. The event includes special programs and surprises. Members will receive an invitation with details closer to the event.

“Our actual birthday is on June the 6th, that’s a Monday when we’re usually closed to the public,” Griswold reveals. “We’re going to use it to host special behind the scenes tours and programs just for our members. Our public celebration will kick off on the next day, Tuesday, June the 7th with a birthday party celebration, with of course, ice cream and cake for the entire community. There will be activities for the whole family together with music, a pop-up restaurant here in our Ames Family Atrium, studio programs, Centennial chats in front of masterpieces from our collection, and special behind the scenes tours. In addition, our ticketed exhibition, Pharaoh: King of Ancient Egypt, will be open free to the public that day.”

The museum promises more big events later in 2016. The 27th Annual Parade the Circle promises its most spectacular collection of musical performances, dancers, costumes, stilt walkers and much more. Teams of international artists from Brazil, India and South Africa/Burkino Faso are being flown to Cleveland to help celebrate the museum’s milestone.

“The next weekend will be Parade the Circle, bigger and better than ever,” Griswold promises. “And on June the 25th and June the 26th, in a celebration that will out ‘Solstice’ every previous Solstice, we’re going to host a centennial festival weekend with two days of music and special arts programs involving some 40 local artists working both inside and outside our building. There will be performances on two outdoor stages. Our annual Solstice party will take place on the evening of June 25th, and the following day, the party will culminate in a special concert by our partners, the Cleveland Orchestra, who will perform outdoors for the public.”

The Centennial Festival Weekend is a two-day arts and music festival, including this year’s Solstice, one of the CMA’s signature events. Inside the museum, guests can participate in special programs, tours, music and more surprises. Outside the museum, and around Wade Lagoon, local artists will be creating original works of art. Saturday includes Solstice, the museum’s annual international music festival. Sunday’s grand finale features a Centennial Celebration Concert by the Cleveland Orchestra. Tickets are required for Solstice (and typically sell out very quickly), but the rest of the weekend is free and open to the public.

For this once in a lifetime occasion, the CMA is working with distinguished institutions such as The Art Institute of Chicago, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and the J. Paul Getty Museum to bring masterpieces by artists like Titian, John Singer Sargent, Wassily Kandinsky and Marcel Duchamp, as well as a Luba mask from the Congo, a seventeenth-century silver sculpture from Tibet and a garland-style diamond necklace by Tiffany and Company to Cleveland. More than a dozen objects have been or will be loaned. Some works will relate to the CMA’s permanent collection, while others will highlight artists and objects not currently represented by the museum’s permanent collection.

“And of course, we are a museum, and it all starts with the art,” Griswold states. “This year, we’ve got a great roster of exhibitions, and peer institutions all over the world have agreed to the loan of major paintings and works of sculpture to help Cleveland celebrate. Clevelanders will have the chance to see masterpieces of world art from Boston, Chicago, New York and Los Angeles. In addition, next month we’ll reopen our gorgeously reinstalled Japanese galleries in the first comprehensive reinstallation of any part of our collection since the completion of our new building.”

Additionally from May through October, the museum will be providing Centennial Creativity Kits to guests of all ages. These special kits are designed to help visitors connect with the CMA’s collection through art materials, creativity journals and collection guides.

On Sunday, Oct. 9, all of Northeast Ohio is invited to the CMA to draw in its galleries during Draw Together: A Big Draw Event. Teaching artists will engage visitors with drawing classes throughout the day. Participants are encouraged to use the supplies provided in the Centennial Creativity Kits to create their original artworks.

On Saturday, Oct. 22, the museum hosts its Centennial Gala; its second biannual benefit for the museum. The Gala will gather nearly 1,000 nationally renowned collectors, artists and philanthropists to support and celebrate the museum and its 100th Anniversary. Reservations are required for the Centennial Gala.

“We’re looking forward to an incredible year and incredible next century” Griswold concludes. “Today I can’t possibly thank everyone who has done so much in support of this, our milestone anniversary. With so much going on, this is an exciting time for all of us here at the museum, and it is an exciting time for our city. As we honor the legacy of our founders, and as we look ahead to a dynamic future, I hope that each of you and every Clevelander will join us in this celebration.”
For a complete list of Centennial Celebrations (and to reserve tickets), visit Clevelandart.ort/centennial.

(Cleveland Museum of Art) 11150 East Blvd., 216-421-7340,

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 [email protected].

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.