Columbus Museum of Art

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Columbus Museum of Art
CMA logo.png
Columbus Museum of Art 06.jpg
Former name
Columbus Gallery of Fine Arts
Location480 E. Broad St.,
Columbus, Ohio 43215
United States
Type Art museum
Executive director Nannette Maciejunes
Public transit accessAiga bus trans.svg COTA alt logo.svg 10
Ic directions bike 48px.svg CoGo
Interactive map
Columbus Museum of Art
Interactive map highlighting the CMA's locations
Coordinates 39°57′51.534″N82°59′16.415″W / 39.96431500°N 82.98789306°W / 39.96431500; -82.98789306 Coordinates: 39°57′51.534″N82°59′16.415″W / 39.96431500°N 82.98789306°W / 39.96431500; -82.98789306
AreaUnder 1 acre (0.40 ha)
Architect Richards, McCarty and Bulford; Robert Aitken
Architectural style(s) Second Renaissance Revival
Visitors200,000 (in 2015) [1]
DesignatedMarch 19, 1992
Reference no. 92000173

The Columbus Museum of Art (CMA) is an art museum in downtown Columbus, Ohio. Formed in 1878 as the Columbus Gallery of Fine Arts (its name until 1978), [2] it was the first art museum to register its charter with the state of Ohio. The museum collects and exhibits American and European modern and contemporary art, folk art, glass art, and photography. The museum has been led by Executive Director Nannette Maciejunes since 2003.



The Sessions house and William Monypeny houses, hosting the art museum (left) and Columbus Art School (right) The Old Art Gallery and School of The Columbus Gallery of Fine Arts, photograph.jpg
The Sessions house and William Monypeny houses, hosting the art museum (left) and Columbus Art School (right)
The Pizzuti Collection Pizzuti Collection.jpg
The Pizzuti Collection
Claude Monet, Weeping Willow, 1918 Claude Monet, Weeping Willow.JPG
Claude Monet, Weeping Willow , 1918

The CMA was founded in 1878 as the Columbus Gallery of Fine Arts. Beginning in 1919, it was housed in the Francis C. Sessions house, a founder of Columbus Art School (later known as Columbus College of Art and Design (CCAD). Sessions deeded the mansion and property to the art museum, which operated there until 1923. The house was demolished, with the current museum built on its site. CCAD's Beaton Hall includes elements from the entranceway of the Sessions house. [3]

The current building was built on the same site from 1929 to 1931, opening on January 22, 1931. In 1974, a visually unobtrusive structure was added to the rear of the building. [4] The museum building was added to the National Register of Historic Places on March 19, 1992, under its original name. [5]

The Columbus Museum of Art began a massive reconstruction and expansion in 2007. The first new space opened on January 1, 2011, after 13 months of construction. The space, called the Center for Creativity, is an 18,000 sq ft (1,700 m2) space that includes galleries, gathering areas, and places for workshops that allow visitors to engage in hands-on activities. On October 25, 2015, the new Margaret M. Walter wing opened to the public, adding 50,000 square feet of addition and 40,000 square feet of major renovation to the Museum. [6] The Margaret M. Walter Wing was designed by Michael Bongiorno of the Columbus-based architecture firm DesignGroup. [7]

In September 2018, the Pizzuti Collection, a museum in the Short North, was donated to the CMA, along with part of its collection. The museum opened as a part of the Columbus Museum of Art that year. [8] The museum and its Pizzuti Collection branch temporarily closed beginning in March 2020 due to the 2020 coronavirus pandemic. [9]

The Columbus Museum of Art is part of the Monuments Men and Women Museum Network, launched in 2021 by the Monuments Men Foundation for the Preservation of Art. [10]

Ross Building layout and architecture

The 1931 museum building, today known as the Elizabeth M. and Richard M. Ross Building, [7] was designed in the Second Renaissance Revival style by Columbus architects Richards, McCarty and Bulford. It has a concrete foundation, walls of limestone and concrete, and a truncated copper hipped roof. The building is horizontal, two stories high, and has a central structure advanced several feet in front of its two wings. The wings feature large limestone friezes, together known as The Frederick W. Schumacher Frieze or Masters of Art. The work, by Robert Ingersoll Aitken, depicts 68 artists from 490 B.C. to 1925 A.D. [4]

The original main entryway consists of three arched portals to the interior. The facade here includes decorative moldings, keystones, bulls-eye medallions, and stone quoins. A frieze hung above the arches, with the name "Columbus Gallery of Fine Arts". A set of sixteen limestone steps leads to the sidewalk, flanked by two Italian-style lamp posts. [4]

The Center for Creativity, on the first floor of the museum, includes a Creativity Lounge, The Studio, The Wonder Room, the Big Idea Gallery, and an Open Gallery.[ citation needed ]


The permanent collection includes outstanding late nineteenth and early twentieth-century American and European modern works of art. Major collections include the Ferdinand Howald Collection of early Modernist paintings, the Sirak Collection of Impressionist and Expressionist works, the Photo League Collection, and the Philip and Suzanne Schiller Collection of American Social Commentary Art. The Museum houses the largest collections of works by Columbus born artists Aminah Brenda Lynn Robinson, Elijah Pierce, and George Bellows.

Highlights include early Cubist paintings by Pablo Picasso and Juan Gris, works by François Boucher, Paul Cézanne, Mary Cassatt, Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres, Edgar Degas, Henri Matisse, Claude Monet, Edward Hopper, and Norman Rockwell, and installations by Mel Chin, Josiah McElheny, Susan Philipsz, and Allan Sekula.

Sculptures include: Hare on Ball and Claw , Intermediate Model for the Arch , Out of There , The Family of Man: Figure 2, Ancestor II , The Mountain , Three-Piece Reclining Figure: Draped 1975 , Two Lines Up Excentric Variation VI , Wasahaban .

Selections from the permanent collection

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  1. "Newly completed expansion gives Columbus Museum of Art a welcoming wow factor (Photos)". 28 October 2015.
  2. Museum chronology
  3. "Sessions Society" (PDF). Columbus Museum of Art. August 2016. Retrieved May 3, 2020.
  4. 1 2 3 Ohio SP Columbus Gallery of Fine Arts. File Unit: National Register of Historic Places and National Historic Landmarks Program Records: Ohio, 1964 - 2013.
  5. "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places . National Park Service. April 15, 2008.
  6. Gilson, Nancy (31 August 2015). "Columbus Museum of Art names new wing in honor of benefactors". The Columbus Dispatch. Retrieved 1 November 2015.
  7. 1 2 "Architect Michael Bongiorno on DesignGroup's New Wing at the Columbus Museum of Art - Architizer Journal". 25 November 2015.
  8. Goldsmith, Suzanne (September 6, 2018). "Pizzuti Collection to become part of Columbus Museum of Art". The Columbus Dispatch. Retrieved April 6, 2020.
  9. "Columbus libraries, art museum to close amid coronavirus pandemic". Columbus Business First. March 13, 2020. Retrieved April 7, 2020.
  10. "A New Museum Network Is Focusing On the Monuments Men's Long-Overlooked Postwar Cultural Contributions". Artnet News. 2021-06-17. Retrieved 2021-07-14.