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, or giving visitors directions, we are guided by a vision to connect people and art. CMA nurtures that connection and removes barriers between our community and our collection.
We got a grant, we got a grant! Thank you to Bank of America, who awarded the Museum support for conservation work on a selection from our collection of over 4,000 prints. It was an international competition, so you can all be very proud of us. We are.
It’s tough to choose which prints get treatment, especially with so many to sort through. Curators and Registrars work together. Curators think about the object’s significance in art history and the role it can play on display. Registrars know which prints need help due to tears, acidic mats, or age staining.
We used our partnership with the Dordrecht Museum and the Life in the Age of Rembrandt exhibition as a starting place. How many European prints did we have that were created before 1800? How many of those were by Dutch, Flemish, or Germanic artists? Between us, white-gloved and earnest, we chose 50 Old Master European prints. The youngest print is about 200-years-old. The oldest print is more than 500-years-old. We want them all to make it another 500 years at least.
We don’t have a conservator on staff, so CMA works with different ones according to our needs. In this case, we went to Gina McKay, a paper conservator at McKay Lodge Conservation located in a farmhouse compound outside Oberlin, Ohio. At last count they had 7 dogs. At least.
A New Look at Old Masters Prints - YouTube
Gina and her folks looked at every print, measured it, photographed it, and gave a summary of its condition and estimated cost to repair. Some things just needed better mats. Some required more aggressive treatment, such as bathing to remove stains. While putting paper in water makes us uninitiated people cringe, it’s something paper conservators do without much batting of eyes.
A good conservator doesn’t just think about what the work should look like ideally, but what they can do that is safe and won’t make the next generation of conservators shake their heads sadly. New hinges (the pieces of paper attached to the print so it can be attached to a mat so it can be framed and displayed) are easily reversible. Nothing is glued down permanently anymore.
One of the highlights of the project was seeing the finished Albrecht Dürer print. The conservators, who are supposed to be used to this sort of thing, were so excited to show us how it came out that they unwrapped it for us. We all gathered around the conservator’s microscope in awe.
I am constantly surprised by what can come to life beneath the fingers of a master printmaker. They coax texture, shading, and the curve of a human figure from a plate of metal or wood. A simple inventory sometimes goes quite slowly because we can’t help stopping to admire the techniques.
It’s intensely satisfying for Museum folk to be able to assure that a work of art will last from this generation to the next and the next.
Come see the results for yourself. The new restored prints are on view now in Gallery 5.
(Video courtesy of WOSU).
Elizabeth Hopkin is Associate Registrar at Columbus Museum of Art, and has also been designing and building costumes for ballet and theatre in Central Ohio for more than 14 years. She has worked on projects with Opera Columbus, Ballet Met, and is resident costume designer for Columbus Dance Theatre where she designed the costumes for the ballet Claudel, which won the Greater Columbus Arts Council award for Artistic Excellence.
We at CMA love asking “what if.” Imagining is one of our favorite pastimes. A couple of years ago we asked ourselves, what if we took the experimental spirit that fuels our Chase Center for Creativity and applied it to art that speaks to social issues relevant today? What could creative activation and social engagement look like at the museum?
These and similar questions had been churning through our minds for a few years when we got the exciting news that CMA had been awarded funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, Museums for America program to launch the Center for Art and Social Engagement.
We had long been experimenting to foster visitor conversations about social issues through art, but the IMLS funding would kick us into the next gear. As you might imagine, the news was thrilling and a little bit scary. Now came the hard part.
The first step was asking ourselves, What do we mean by ‘social engagement,’ and how do we hope visitors – and the museum – will be different as a result of this initiative? These early conversations were exciting, but broad; our imaginations were pulling us in a million directions. So almost on a whim, someone suggested that we pull out CMA’s primary book of social commentary art, In the Eye of the Storm: An Art of Conscience, andopen it to a random page. We opened to George Tooker’s Lunch and began, as museum educators always do, to notice. We surfaced dozens of ideas that could point us toward a theme. The one that rose to the surface was isolation. The work is packed with figures, apparently seated in rungs, slouched forward and looking down. Although they are crowded together, each seems alone. Some appear to be holding sandwiches, one a cup of coffee. Visitors sometimes remark that the posture and feeling of disconnection reminds them of people on their cellphones.
I don’t want to say too much, because I don’t want to limit how you explore the work on your own. Suffice it to say that for us the work evoked personal isolation as well as social exclusion. Our noticing surfaced the loneliness of being near others but feeling alienated from them, and it raised the sociopolitical question of who “gets a seat at the table.”
Both isolation and alienation impact us all of us, in different ways, that are personal, social and political.
We are living in times characterized by superficial connections and profound loneliness; a recent study found that 1 in 5 Americans “always” or “often” feel socially isolated. Moreover, while the rights movements of the past decades have achieved undeniable gains, persistent power imbalance means that massive inequities remain a societal toxin.
When you visit the Center for Art and Social Engagement, we hope you will have the courage to consider your own experiences of loneliness, isolation, exclusion, and to imagine the lives of others. We have mined the collection to find works that speak to different aspects of isolation and exclusion; we encourage you to slow down with them. We will also be launching a special tour and hosting creative encounters with artists around this theme – so stay tuned for program announcements.
We also hope you will build connections with other people through experiences in the Center. We have included games – some familiar, some created especially for CASE. These will help you connect with someone you visit the museum with or perhaps a stranger you meet in the gallery. Some will also help you think differently about some of the structures that push people to the margins and limit their wellbeing.
Lastly, we hope that visiting CASE will inspire you to take action, for yourself and for others. We have crowdsourced some tips for fighting isolation, local resources for mental health and other kinds of support, and organizations that combat social exclusion and that need your help.
Loneliness and exclusion thrive when we are afraid to name them. We hope that this inaugural installation of the Center for Art and Social Engagement will help us break those taboos, build new connections, and engage in new, creative, relevant ways.
The Center for Art and Social Engagement is funded by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
-Jen Lehe, CMA Manager for Strategic Partnerships.
Celebrate Valentine’s Day week with the return of #HeartsforArt. Once again CMA is joining museums across the country to celebrate Valentine’s Day with #HeartsforArt, a special way for art lovers to show off their love of art.
Pick up a paper heart at the CMA admission desk and place it in front of an artwork you love, from February 12-17, 2019.
Share your love of art by taking a picture and using hashtag #heartsforart #mycma, and tag @columbusmuseum across your favorite social media platforms. We’ll share some of our favorites.
Since it’s launch six years ago #HeartsforArt has expanded to include participation from museums across the country from as far way as Alaska.
As CMA celebrates the 5th year of Wonderball, we talked to a few of the performers and members of the planning committee who have been involved since the event’s inception.
The men behind Pacemour Creative – Donnie Mossman and Charles Erickson – have acted as Wonderball’s in-house DJ team, adding impressive visual artwork to the blank canvas of CMA’s Schottenstein Property Group Pavilion. They embody Wonderball at its heart and have helped elevate the experience year over year.
Serving on the event planning and marketing committee, Ann Mulvany has helped grow Wonderball into what it is today, sharing the event throughout Columbus, attracting new attendees and talent.
Here’s what these dedicated art enthusiasts had to say about 5 years of Wonderball:
How does art move you?
Donnie Mossman (DM): Being an artist for a living, art moves me in the sense that it is the reason I get up and go to work. Creating art is something I’m constantly preoccupied with throughout the day. On the other side, as a consumer of art, I think the art that really moves me, tends to hit me in the gut, and the pieces that really stick with me are the ones that evoke an involuntary physical/emotional response, whether it’s a song or a painting or an animated video loop.
Charles Erickson (CE): Art moves me because… it actually moves me. I go places and do things for the sake of art — both to create art as well as to experience the art of others. While human connections may give my life the most meaning, it is art that enables and enhances these connections through jointly experiencing art. Therefore, by extension, art moves me because it makes everything in my life more meaningful.
Ann Mulvany (AM): Art connects me with parts of myself and the world that I don’t often experience or give as much attention. It’s so easy to fall into our own habits and routines — especially for those of us in less creative professions — and we get rooted further and further into those spaces instead of exploring new and different things. Whether it’s street graffiti, classical ballet, or a perfectly formed snowflake, art is a force that pushes me out of my day-to-day and makes me think and feel differently, even if just for a moment.
What about Wonderball keeps you coming back for more?
DM: I love the atmosphere of creativity around the event and everyone working together to top the previous Wonderballs. Plus, there is always a lot of problem solving for me, which I love. Figuring out solutions for the tricky parts of projection mapping installations is something I really enjoy and it’s very satisfying when it all comes to life the night of the party. I also appreciate the museum being so supportive of all the crazy ideas we’ve done over the past 5 years.
CE: Wonderball is special to me as it was my first significant large-scale collaboration with Donnie as a digital artist. I had previously recruited him to assist me with providing visuals at various social events. When the staff reached out to me about being the featured DJ for the first year of Wonderball, I immediately suggested we additionally contribute projected visuals to the event and brought Donnie along for the ride. After that, our partnership solidified, with me talking our way into things and his immense talent proving why we were supposed to be there. Now, 5 years later, Donnie and I have finally branded our mutual creative work under the name Pacemour Creative. Wonderball is something that allows us to express ourselves creatively — much more so than the majority of our professional/ corporate work.
AM: Beyond supporting the museum and the wonderful things it does in our community, I love that Wonderball brings together such a dynamic group of people. From artists and other creatives to lawyers and financial planners, this event is a convergence of different ideas and experiences. (Plus, who doesn’t love a giant party in the dead of winter?!)
Do you have a favorite Wonderball memory?
DM: I think the 2018 projection mapping in the windows of the event space was my favorite memory, it was a really difficult but rewarding challenge. Seeing the performers and the guests at Wonderball enjoying it and playing in the light form the projections really made me happy.
CE: I am very proud of the 3D face and the mapped windows, as those were both far more complex offerings than the earlier work… but I keep going back to the feeling we had following the first year. Between the stage projections and the “wonder mirror,” we vastly exceeded expectations. With so many people posting images featuring our visuals on Instagram and Facebook, we were a large part in making that first event truly memorable. It was the moment we knew we’d be a part of Wonderball in the future and that we, as a team, were really on the path to something great. I’m still very thankful for that initial opportunity.
AM: Zane Miller’s two-way protocols at last year’s Wonderball was definitely one of my all-time favorites.
– Bethany Cramer is marketing director for Zipline Logistics and three-year member of the CMA Wonderball marketing committee. She is an ambassador for creativity in Columbus, a life-long learner, yogi, and SUNY Geneseo alumna.
As we quickly approach the last Saturday in January, final preparations are being made for one of the biggest parties of the year – Columbus Museum of Art’s Wonderball. On January 26, everyone is invited to put on their best black and white attire and get moving at a one-of-a-kind celebration of the Central Ohio arts community featuring live music, performance artists, interactive exhibits, artisan cocktails and delectable samples from local eateries. Attendance at Wonderball supports numerous Museum initiatives, but it is no small feat to put on this extraordinary annual bash.
In addition to 100+ community volunteers and nearly all CMA staff, each year has a host or host committee to help wrangle the direction lead the planning process. The chairs of Wonderball 2019 are Sandra Lopez, Joshua Schonauer, and Gerry Rodriguez.
Sandra is a legislative assistant with the City Council Division of Community Engagement, and spends her off-hours pursuing many passion projects through community involvement, including the Women’s Fund of Central Ohio. By day, Joshua is Counsel in the Office of the Chief Legal Officer at Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company. By night, Joshua serves as a board member for CATCOand enjoys volunteering for Buddy UP! Tennis and the Mid-Ohio Food Bank and participating in Pelotonia. Not only is Gerry Chief of Staff at Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, but he also dedicated time to serving on the board of trustees at Stonewall Columbus.
We sat down with each of our hosts for a pre-party chat to get to know them a bit better.
How does art move you?
SL: For me, art breaks down walls, demystifies stereotypes and above all, art has given me connections to so many new people! Art is a universal language – you don’t have to be fluent in Spanish to relate to Frida Kahlo or Picasso! Art also helps me to understand social issues and pushes me to question what I believe to be true.
JS: Every work of art has a back story: not only of the message that piece conveys to the observer, but also the effort and passion that went into its creation. I am moved by art when I consider everything that moved the artist to create it in the first place and each of the events that had to occur for that work and me to be in the same place at the same time.
GR: I love how art is so personal and subjective. There is nothing greater than walking through a museum and coming across something that unexpectedly fills you with emotion or evokes a memory, so I’m always excited to learn and explore new artists and art forms.
Why did you decide to partner with the Columbus Museum of Art on Wonderball?
SL: Because I love the work that CMA has been doing in the last few years. Their commitment to be more inclusive, not only on the exhibitions they’re showing but also the programs and experiences they are making available to our community truly enriches us all.
JS: I am proud to be affiliated with CMA and Wonderball because this event supports ground-breaking initiatives like Wonder School and Teen Open Studio, and specifically because Wonderball attracts such a wonderfully diverse cross-section of Columbus to the museum each year.
GR: I think Wonderball truly captures the spirit of the Columbus Museum of Art. I am so excited and honored to work with the museum to celebrate art, artists, local businesses in such a wonderful setting.
What are you most looking forward to at this year’s Wonderball?
SL: Who doesn’t love a good party?! I’m excited to see the performers and also what people are wearing. There’s so much creativity in Columbus!
JS: I am most looking forward to witnessing our guests’ “Wonder Face” each time they are confronted with something unexpected. We have worked hard to curate an evening that will be inviting and a lot of fun, and one that will also challenge our guests’ perception of what art is and can be.
GR: All of it! My first year attending Wonderball, I had such a great time as soon as I walked in the door, but that meant that I didn’t get a chance to truly go explore and experience the full event. The entire planning committee has done such a great job and I can’t wait to see it all come together.
Tickets are going fast for this not-to-be-missed celebration.
Through (1/25): $125
At the Door (1/26): $135
Visit the Wonderball page for details and tickets.
– Lexi Sweet is public relations manager at Experience Columbus and a three-year member of the Wonderball marketing committee. Sweet is a graduate of the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University.
Start 2019 with a bang – put on your favorite black and white attire and party for the arts at Wonderball! On January 26, join Columbus Museum of Art for the 5th annual Wonderball, a celebration of Central Ohio’s arts community. This annual event features live local musicians and DJs, performance artists, interactive exhibits, and cocktails and food from Columbus eateries. Not only is Wonderball an out-of-the-box opportunity to engage with the museum, it also supports CMA programs that enrich our local arts communities.
Columbus has long been a cultural hub for Ohio and the Midwest. With designated arts districts such as the Short North, Franklinton, and Olde Towne East, and historic performing arts spaces like the Ohio, Palace, and Lincoln Theatres, countless artists and performers call Columbus home. Their involvement in, and dedication to, the local scene has shaped a vibrant arts community in Columbus and Central Ohio.
In keeping with Columbus’ tradition of welcoming artists, artisans, and performers, Columbus Museum of Art has focused its mission on serving the diverse communities of Columbus and Central Ohio. From its initial chartering in 1878, CMA has enriched Ohio’s arts community with specially curated exhibits and programs. Over its 141-year history, CMA has not only hosted international artists, but has also showcased local legends such as Aminah Brenda Lynn Robinson, Elijah Pierce, and George Bellows.
Now, CMA has focused its efforts to curate programs, events, and resources that give back to Central Ohio. By offering programs for individuals of all ages, abilities, and experience levels, CMA is working to make art more accessible and enjoyable for everyone.
Wonderball is an event by locals artists, for local art lovers. Your support for Wonderball supports a variety of creative programs such as:
Wonder School is a collaboration between Columbus State Community College, Columbus Museum of Art, and The Childhood League Center. Wonder School is a learning laboratory for preschool children ages 3 to 5. This program seeks to foster purposeful play, encourage critical inquiry, and create a collaborative community approach to education for both children and educators. Parents are welcome to attend and assist.
With this program, CMA hopes to foster a more compassionate, creative community.
Made possible through partnerships with the Alzheimer’s Association of Central Ohio and AWARE (Alzheimer’s Women’s Association to Reach and Engage), the monthly Sparking Imaginations tour is designed to inspire laughter and imagination for people living with dementia and their caregivers. Sparking Imaginations is curated to provide a fun, expressive outlet and forum for dialogue.
With more than 220,000 people living with Alzheimer’s in Ohio, CMA hopes to provide a community resource for those in need of engagement and support.
Think Like an Artist Thursdays
With Think Like An Artist Thursdays, visitors are encouraged to create art, enjoy craft drinks, and experience live entertainment at CMA. Each month featured partnerships with local creators and creatives, so guests will always have a new and unique experience! Novices and experts alike to can hone their artistic skills and cultivate their creativity. Cost of the program is included with Thursday evening admission, $5 for nonmembers and free for members.
Teen Open Studio Teen Open Studio is a free after school program held on Thursdays and Friday designed for Columbus teens. Teen Open Studio is hosted by CMA in a space which incorporates lab space, technology resources, and art supplies. This program gives teens flexibility to work on homework, experiment with the arts, or just hang out with friends. Made possible through partnerships with Battelle and The Reinberger Foundation, Teen Open Studio provides Columbus teens with a free, accessible space to learn and grow.
Don’t miss this opportunity to celebrate and support the arts in Central Ohio. Find more information and get your tickets now for Wonderball.
Public Ticket Early Bird Sale: $100
End of Early Bird Pricing (1/14): $125
At the Door (1/26): $135
– Dinah Adams is a data analyst at Futurety, and member of the Wonderball Committee. Adams holds a Master’s degree in communication from The Ohio State University.
[Wonderball photo by Nikole B. Prete; Sparking Imaginations photo by Scott Cunningham; Think Like an Artist Thursdays photo by Megan Ralston]
All month-long Columbus Museum of Art will be celebrating Day of the Dead. We asked Leticia Vazquez-Smith of Latino Arts for Humanity to tell us more about the holiday and how she celebrates.
What is Day of Dead?
The celebration of Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is one of the most sacred and revered days in the Mexican and Central American cycle of feasts. It stems from the ancient pre-Columbian belief that as long as one was remembered by family and friends, one continued to live. In celebrating the dead, they were kept alive.
Why is Day of the Dead important?
It is very important to preserve the festivity that holds a great significant in the life of Mexico’s indigenous communities and that provides the opportunity to celebrate life and death as a duality allowing people to commemorate in a very special way the life of those who have departed.
How do you celebrate El dia de los muertos? In my family we start the celebration days before by gathering Cempasuchitl flowers and arranging for the “ofrenda.” Preparing the portraits and deciding the menu to present to our friends and family. My mom and me will cook together and try the family recipes. will set the offering with incense, water, candles, salt, flowers, will spread the petals on the floor and set the “papel picado.” Once everything is in place, we will seat and eat. Then the next day the visit to the “panteon” Cemetery. Once in the cemetery everybody will start cleaning and sometimes re-painting the graves, then the flowers and decorations are set. While everybody is getting ready there is an opportunity to talk to the once have passed away. We start the “copal” incense and play music. Family and friends bring food and drinks. It is a great time to enjoy family and memories, some will cry some will laugh. Everybody will eat or drink. I love to visit the cemeteries that are far from the city in small villages with my friends and enjoy the big party with traditional food and music!
For more on Columbus Museum of Art’s Day of the Dead programs visit the Events and Programs page.
Leticia Vazquez-Smith a cultural worker, researcher, craftswoman, and an avid promoter of Mexican traditions and culture in Columbus. She is also president of the Latino Arts for Humanity. Two of her specialties are “foodways” and “Day of the Dead celebration.” Since 1999 Leticia has presented bilingual community workshops about Day of the Dead. In 2005 she established an annual Day of the Day Community Event in Columbus, which this year takes place on October 20 at Greenlawn Cemetery.
Since the launch of the biennial Art for Life in 1989, Columbus Museum of Art has been an early host and supporter.
Last week’s Art for Life broke records and raised more than $1 million for Equitas Health, Ohio’s community-based healthcare system specializing in critical LGBTQ and HIV care.
Relationships are one of CMA’s three foundational values. We are radically inclusive in our relationships with our community, and are strongly committed that art is for everyone. We embrace LGBTQ artists from Columbus and beyond.
One of the highlights of the auction included the purchase of a Joan Miro lithograph for $50,000 which was then immediately gifted to Columbus Museum of Art for the permanent collection.
The Miro was purchased by the Havens family in memory of their mother, longtime LGBTQ ally Barbara Havens, who passed away in February.
CMA bid and purchased one of the artworks, a photo of a transgender man by LA photographer Austin Young, known for his elaborate portraits of drag queens and celebrities. Young is also the cofounder of the Fallen Fruit art collective.
It was the first time we’ve ever bid. No one knew it was us. It felt like the perfect way to honor our new Loud & Proud LGBTQ and Allied membership.
The Austin Young photograph, now part of Columbus Museum of Art’s permanent collection, will be on display during the September 30 Loud & Proud Launch Party.
Columbus Museum of Art is thrilled to announce the launch of the Center for Art and Social Engagement, with funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
We are living in times that can feel as divisive as ever. Our lives are full of opportunities to air snap-judgements and form echo chambers, yet we encounter few explicit invitations to slow down and consider the complexity of issues that underpin conflict, inequity, rage, and grief. Artists often tackle issues of their time in ways that dive into these complexities. Increasingly museums are asking: What role do we play in events that shake our communities? and What are the moral implications of “business as usual”?
At Columbus Museum of Art, we believe that art museums can become hubs for constructive dialogue on issues that matter to our lives. We believe this because we have seen it – in galleries, programs, partnerships, in moments simple and profound. Every day at CMA, we experience the power of art and artists to help us to see the world in new ways, to ask “why” and imagine “what if,” to consider points of view different from our own, and to grapple with life’s complexity.
Museums for America supports projects that strengthen the ability of an individual museum to serve its public by providing high-quality, inclusive learning experiences by serving as community anchors and essential partners in addressing community needs, and by preserving and providing access to the collections entrusted to its care.
The Center for Art and Social Engagement is an evolution of CMA’s experimentation, collaboration, and reimagination of what a museum can be. In 2011, with support from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, CMA launched the Center for Creativity – committed gallery space and a new approach to participation with visitors, artists, and partners in order to cultivate and champion creativity. Over the subsequent years, we have grown these approaches throughout the museum, and seen extraordinary impacts on visitors and ourselves.
In one of CMA’s Join the Conversation stations in the Red Horizon exhibition, CMA asked visitors to enhance or manipulate iconic U.S. symbols, and think about how meaning is created through these symbols.
Now, the Center for Art and Social Engagement, or CASE, will explicitly apply these approaches to the CMA’s significant collection of work that addresses social issues. CMA stewards many works that embody ways that artists have explored complex social issues across time, prompting viewers to consider the complex, personal, and social aspects of injustice. CASE will design museum experiences that support visitors to explore issues of relevance to contemporary life through art, to examine assumptions and perceived norms, and consider diverse points of view. We will do so in ways that build on lessons from our past decade of intentional transformation, and through collaboration with thought-partners, including a newly-launching CASE artist Fellowship and Community Advisory Committee.
As an experimental and community-based art museum, we at CMA see an exciting – if humbling – opportunity to reimagine how art museums can lead for the kinds of engagement that matter now and for the future. We are grateful to all the partners – artists, teachers, community leaders, funders, and general “nudgers” – who have supported us in this evolution, and to the IMLS for supporting us in the next phase of this journey.