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Cleveland: Art Museums

by Cris Glaser, Cleveland Visual Arts blogger

Ever since the Cleveland Museum of Art threw open its doors for the first time in June of 1916, the venerable institution has treated discriminating culture connoisseurs to 43,000 of the world’s foremost art contributions by the masters. Over the years, the museum has hosted exhibits of significant works by Matisse, Renoir, van Gogh, and Picasso. It’s also acquired dozens of works by Botticelli, Dali, and El Greco. Critics have called the museum’s collection of Chinese, African, and Modern European art a “compilation for the ages.”

But Cleveland’s exposure to the finest art pieces in the world isn’t limited to the CMA. There’s the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland, a 20,000-square-foot showplace of inspiring exhibits by Christo, Oldenburg, and Hodges. The gallery doesn’t forget homegrown talent, either. During the course of a three-exhibit season every year, it spotlights the works of a growing colony of emerging Northeast Ohio artists. And every year, it hosts the Wendy L. Moore series of female artists younger than 30 years old.

Small yet ultra-cool galleries also dot Northeast Ohio’s landscape. There’s the downtown headquarters of Bonfoey, with its eclectic assortment of paintings, sculptures, and glassware. There’s also the Artefino Café in the Tower Press Building, spotlighting a Cleveland-centric parade of frescos, murals, and jewelry. An in-house baker also makes some of the city’s most scrumptious pastries, giving the gallery a reputation as a go-to stop for morning breakfast!

Cleveland Art Museums: Art Museums Around Cleveland

Below are our Cleveland Art Museum recommendations, with information on location, admission, transportation/parking, museum history and other points of interest in Cleveland Art.

Akron Art Museum

Akron Art Museum (Akron, OH)

Akron’s art museum first opened its doors to the public as the Akron Art Institute on February 1, 1922 in two borrowed rooms in the basement of the Akron public library. Since then, it has transformed into a large facility whose collection spans three centuries. AAI became the Akron Art Museum in October 1980, and shifted its focus to acquisitions and establishing a permanent collection.

The museum’s focus on collecting and …more…

Allen Memorial Art Museum

Allen Memorial Art Museum (Oberlin, OH)

The Allen Memorial Art Museum (AMAM) at Oberlin College has outstanding holdings of nearly 14,000 works of art, providing a comprehensive overview of the history of art. Founded in 1917 – and continuing to offer free admission nearly a century later – the museum has been recognized as one of the five best college and university art museums in the United States. ...more...

Butler Institute of American Art

Butler Institute of American Art (Youngstown, OH)

The Butler Institute was the first museum dedicated to American art. The original structure, listed on the National Register of Historic places, was dedicated in 1919, and the Institute’s holdings now exceed 20,000 individual works. The Butler charges no admission fee, either at the main location or at its branch museums. These satellite facilities include the Salem branch, which presents selections from the Butler’s permanent collection, exhibitions by nationally-known contemporary and historic artists, and regional art, and the Trumbull branch, which focuses on important international artists whose works have profoundly influenced America, as well as exhibitions of works by contemporary master painters and sculptors. ...more...


Cleveland Museum of Art

With more than 40,000 works of art, the Cleveland Museum of Art is best-known for its top-notch Asian, medieval European, and pre-Columbian collections. In addition, it also holds famous masterpieces by Turner, Van Gogh, Picasso, and Monet, as well as the moving Stag Night at Sharkey’s by George Bellow. ...more...

MoCA Cleveland

Museum of Contemporary Art

First established in 1968, Cleveland’s Museum of Contemporary Art features the work of national and international modern artists, including special exhibitions and the showcasing of work by local talents. But MOCA isn’t only a museum for visual art enthusiasts – it is a great gathering place for people who like to participate in a wide variety of activities. ...more...


The Sculpture Center

Cleveland’s Sculpture Center is a unique not-for-profit institution that is devoted to developing the careers of artists and sculptors in the state of Ohio. It was founded by sculptor David E. Davis in 1989, occupying a storefront gallery on Cleveland’s historic Euclid Avenue. Exhibitions here change by season; the fall features sculpture and installations by mid-career artists, winter and spring are devoted to developing sculptors early in their careers, and the summer features a juried exhibition of small sculpture by area artists. ...more...