Cleveland Museum of Art Unveils Strategic Plan

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Expect more live performances, more outdoor art spaces, more online visitors, and more in-person attendance at the Cleveland Museum of Art. 

CMA unveiled its new 10-year strategic plan on Wednesday. 

The museum wants to bring together art, audience and place in a way that fulfills the statement written into the deed for the land where the museum has stood for the past 100 years

“How do we make sure the museum really exists ‘for the benefit of all the people’?” asked Cyra Levenson, the museum’s Director of Education and Academic Affairs.

CMA is aiming for five million virtual visits to the museum and one million walk-ins.  Levenson explained an “audience-centered culture” is one of the organizational values set out in the new strategic plan.

“That we build a culture internally and in conversation with those who come to visit where people want to walk in the door, see themselves reflected here, feel that they belong, feel that they’re invited, feel that they can participate in what the museum is and help us shape our next century,” she said.

To that end, CMA will be looking at ways to compete for major works of art but also art that’s relevant to everyday audiences. 

“The art market has changed dramatically since the years when CMA was founded, even in the last 25 years.  It is becoming increasingly impossible for public institutions to compete with private collectors,” Levenson explained. “So we need to be working with private collectors and those who might be interested in giving their work to a public collection so that it can be more accessible and more people can see it and appreciate it and learn from it.”

CMA intends to increase its endowment from approximately $780 million currently to $1.25 billion in ten years.

The strategic plan includes expansion of CMA’s performing arts program, outreach to schools around the region, and a new art history institute in partnership with Case Western Reserve University on the former site of the Cleveland Institute of Art. 

Levenson said the museum will also develop a master plan for its outside spaces including the garden and lagoon designed by Frederick Law Olmsted Jr.

“How do we use that space as a welcoming, exciting and dynamic front lawn for the museum and for the neighborhoods that surround us as well, especially as they change and grow and evolve?  And how do we make it a creative space and a place of reflection but also dynamic and exciting and accessible?” 

The art museum estimates the net cost to implement the plan over the next five years is about $50 million.

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