Cleveland Museum of Art celebrates 100 years: director William Griswold

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CLEVELAND, OH — One hundred years ago the Cleveland Museum of Art opened its doors to the public. In 2016 the museum invites all audiences to celebrate its 100th anniversary, honoring the past and looking ahead to the future. Program highlights include special Centennial exhibitions representing the creative genius of four continents, spanning ancient to contemporary, as well as the presentation of extraordinary individual works of art on loan from top-tier institutions all over the world, and once-in-a-lifetime events and community programs. William M. Griswold, director of the Cleveland Museum of Art states, “The museum’s year-long Centennial celebration will honor this great institution in myriad ways. We have collaborated with staff and volunteers, as well as our outstanding board, generous donors, corporate partners and supportive community to plan meaningful and memorable programs that celebrate our history and set a bright and exciting course for the future. I invite everyone to take part in and enjoy the Cleveland Museum of Art’s 2016 Centennial.” 

Centennial Exhibitions 

Pharaoh: King of Ancient Egypt
March 13–June 12, 2016
This exhibition brings 3,000 years of ancient history to life through some of the finest objects from the vast Egyptian holdings of the British Museum. Works range from monumental sculpture to exquisite jewelry, supplemented by key works from the Cleveland collection. A collaboration between the British Museum and the Cleveland Museum of Art.

Art and Stories from Mughal India
July 31–October 23, 2016
This exhibition celebrates the major acquisition in 2013 of the Ralph Benkaim and Catherine Glynn Benkaim collection of Deccan and Mughal painting, renowned as one of the major Indian paintings collections assembled in the 20th century. 

Albert Oehlen
December 4, 2016–March 12, 2017
The Cleveland Museum of Art announces Albert Oehlen, the largest exhibition of the artist’s work in the United States to date. It illustrates the depth and complexity of an artist who has been at the forefront of artistic innovation since the late 1970s. Curated by Reto Thüring in close collaboration with the artist, the exhibition will include curatorial, musical and written contributions by four of Oehlen’s closest friends and fellow travelers—curator Julie Sylvester, artist Christopher Williams, author and critic Diedrich Diederichsen and composer Michael Wertmüller—helping to pinpoint his diverse approach to art making. 

Converging Lines: Eva Hesse and Sol LeWitt
April 3–July 31, 2016
Converging Lines: Eva Hesse and Sol LeWitt, celebrates the close friendship between two of the most significant American artists of the post-war era: Eva Hesse (1936–1970) and Sol LeWitt (1928–2007). Organized by The Blanton Museum in Austin, Texas, the exhibition will feature approximately 50 works, including many that have not been publicly exhibited for decades.

Stag at Sharkey’s: George Bellows and the Art of Sports
May 14–September 18, 2016 
Images of sport and fitness punctuate the career of George Bellows (1882–1925), an Ohio State University letterman and semi-professional baseball player-turned-artist, who is perhaps best known for his gutsy boxing subject, Stag at Sharkey’s (1909), in the Cleveland Museum of Art. This focus exhibition showcases this masterpiece alongside nearly two-dozen carefully selected paintings, drawings, and lithographs. For Bellows, sport and fitness were exhilarating pursuits, and his depictions of skill and rivalry stand as potent symbols for the brash competitive spirit of America itself during the rapidly accelerating Industrial Age.

Myth and Mystique: Cleveland’s Gothic Table Fountain
October 9, 2016–February 26, 2017
The most complete surviving example of a Gothic table fountain is preserved in the Cleveland Museum of Art. This exhibition will, for the first time, present this unique and special object as the focus of a single study. The table fountain will be placed at the center of a group of objects including luxury silver, hand-washing vessels, enamels, illuminated manuscripts and a painting. Each will inform some aspect of the fountain’s history, functionality, presumed use and context, materials, technique, dating and style.


Centennial Celebrations

No birthday is complete without a party! Learn more and reserve tickets for select celebrations listed below by visiting

Members-Only Birthday Celebration
Monday, June 6
The museum opens its doors to members for a day of special programs and surprises. Members will receive a birthday party invitation with details about the celebration. Open to all members.

Official CMA Birthday Party
Tuesday, June 7
On Wednesday, June 7, 1916 the museum officially opened its doors to the public. The 100th birthday will be acknowledged with a day-long celebration of this historic milestone. Visitors are invited to pose for a group photograph and enjoy special programs, surprises and cake. No reservation required. 

Centennial Festival Weekend 
Saturday, June 25–Sunday, June 26
Centennial Festival Weekend is a two-day music and arts festival. Inside the museum, visitors will find special programming, tours, music and surprises. Outside, around Wade Lagoon, festival-goers can engage with local artists as they create original artworks. Solstice, one of the museum’s signature summer events, will take place the evening of Saturday, June 25. The festival’s grand finale includes a Centennial Celebration Concert by the world-famous Cleveland Orchestra on Sunday, June 26. Tickets required for Solstice; all other events are free and open to the public. 

Centennial Gala
Saturday, October 22
The second biannual Benefit for the Cleveland Museum of Art promises to be the premier event of the season, gathering more than 900 nationally renowned collectors, artists and philanthropists to celebrate and support the museum. Reservations required.


Engaging the Community

One hundred years ago, the founders of the Cleveland Museum of Art established an ambitious goal: to create a public art museum “for the benefit of all the people forever.” To honor the founders’ vision, the museum has planned a series of special projects and programs designed to engage everyone in our community—both inside and outside the walls of the museum.  

Studio Play 2.0
Reopening Wednesday, May 26, 2016
A pioneer in engagement technology, the Cleveland Museum of Art will embark on a major renovation of Studio Play, the family-friendly space where art and technology collide, located in Gallery One. After a three-month renovation, Studio Play 2.0 will feature new interactives created to enable young visitors to closely examine art through kinetic movement, create their own artworks inspired by the collection, and engage with one another while discovering the details that make art fun.

Clevelanders: Portraits of our Community
In its 100th year, the Cleveland Museum of Art is celebrating its community. To capture the moment, it is inviting everyone in the Cleveland area to make and share portraits. Participants are encouraged to use any medium and take inspiration from the museum’s collection to create original portraits that can be shared on social media. Visit to learn more.

Centennial Art Truck
This truck takes the museum’s programming to neighborhoods around town, delivering engaging experiences that are designed to bring out the inner artist. Neighborhoods will have the opportunity to experience Art To Go, studio classes, interactive presentations and more. Follow the Art Truck on Twitter using the hashtag #CMAArtTruck.

Centennial Creativity Kits
These free kits are designed to help Clevelanders of all ages connect to the museum’s collection through creativity journals, art materials and collection guides—all included in a handy zipper pouch. Creativity Kits will be available May-October. Details about picking up Creativity Kits will be available in April 2016. Visit for more information.

Parade the Circle
Saturday, June 11
The 27th annual Parade the Circle will showcase its most spectacular array of costumes, floats, stilt walkers, dancers, and musical performances to date. International teams of artists from Brazil, South Africa/Burkina Faso and India will work with Parade participants to deliver a special Centennial twist that will dazzle spectators. Free.

Draw Together: A Big Draw Event
Sunday, October 9
Participate in the world’s biggest drawing festival, connecting the Cleveland community with the museum and its collection. On Sunday, October 9, all of Cleveland is invited to draw in the museum’s galleries. Teaching artists will engage visitors throughout the day with drawing classes. Participants are encouraged to use supplies provided in the Centennial Creativity kits as they develop original artworks. Free; no reservation required.

Throughout the year, look for special Centennial themes integrated into the museum’s signature programs such as public tours, Second Sundays, MIX, the Chalk Festival and Winter Lights Lantern Festival. 


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