Columbus Museum of Art’s mission is to create great experiences with great art for everyone. Whether we are presenting an exhibition, designing an art-making activity, serving a lunch, or giving directions to a visitor, we are guided by a belief in advocacy, quality, community, integrity, and creativity. We believe that art speaks to each and every one of us in different ways. Art inspires. Art challenges. Art thinks.
Approximately 200,000 people tour the Museum each year, many participating in programs designed for diverse audiences from school children to scholars. Art begins a conversation within ourselves and our community. The Columbus Museum of Art is where that conversation begins.
CMA houses art that speaks to diverse interests and styles. We have an outstanding collection of late nineteenth and early twentieth-century American and European modern art. Our collection includes spectacular examples of Impressionism, German Expressionism, and Cubism. We are also recognized for extraordinary regional collections such as the largest public collection of woodcarvings by Columbus folk artist Elijah Pierce and the world’s largest repository of paintings and lithographs by Columbus native George Bellows, who is widely regarded as the finest American artist of his generation.
In 2001, the Museum acquired The Photo League collection which includes photographs by artists Berenice Abbott, W. Eugene Smith and Weegee. In 2005, the Museum acquired the Philip and Suzanne Schiller Collection of American Social Commentary Art 1930–1970, considered to be, according to Virginia Mecklenburg, Chief Curator of Smithsonian American Art Museum, “unquestionably the most important collection of its kind in the country,” The collection includes works by Jacob Lawrence, Romare Bearden, Ben Shahn, Lucile Blanch, Lucienne Bloch, Moses Soyer, George Tooker, Paul Cadmus, Jared French, Rockwell Kent, and George Grosz. Today a commitment to contemporary art, folk art, and photography continues the Museum’s dedication to showcasing art of our time.
The Museum also presents a rich menu of traveling and CMA-organized special exhibitions that reflect the diverse voices in our community. Noteworthy exhibitions organized in part or whole by the Museum include Symphonic Poem: The Art of Aminah Brenda Lynn Robinson, the first retrospective exhibition of Columbus artist Aminah Robinson; and Illusions of Eden: Visions of the American Heartland, chosen by the U.S. State Department as one of only three Millennium projects to tour outside the United States to help promote political, economic and cultural ties and exchanges.
A series of exhibitions inspired by CMA’s permanent collection have garnered critical and popular acclaim including Renoir’s Women, Edgar Degas: The Last Landscapes, and In Monet’s Garden: The Lure of Giverny. An emphasis on collaborations with organizations such as The Ohio State University, Ohio Arts Council, Franklin Park Conservatory, COSI, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, Phoenix Theater Circle, CAPA, and Greater Columbus Arts Council further enhances Museum exhibitions and programming.