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Artistic Excellence

The Cleveland Museum of Art’s permanent collection is revered internationally for its combination of breadth and quality, housing superb works from a broad array of cultures, which includes more than 45,000 objects and spans 6,000 years of achievement in the arts. Our curators must continue to focus on acquiring objects that supersede what is already on display and thereby refine the collection for the sake of excellence. At the same time, our curators must also strive to constantly reassess the collection, seeking the best and most innovative ways to activate these world-class objects in the galleries. As part of that development, it is imperative that our curatorial staff persistently examine ways to reshape and redefine the collection, most notably by highlighting the unique resources we possess.

Collections Since its inception, almost a century ago, the Cleveland Museum of Art has sought to form a collection that encompasses an extremely selective survey of the history of art, with works of the highest aesthetic quality and historical significance.

The Asian and textile collections are recognized among the best in the world. The collections of ancient art, European decorative art, medieval art, modern art, and prints and drawings rank among the top 10 in the country, while masterworks from the collections of African art, American art, photography and pre-Columbian art are among the finest in any museum worldwide. Central to the mission of the museum is the continued development of its magnificent permanent collection, which stands as a tremendous source of pride for the Cleveland community and the world of art at large, each year drawing hundreds of thousands of museum visitors from the region and beyond.

Exhibitions and Installations Architects, graphic designers, painters, interior designers, carpenters, electricians, art handlers: it takes a small army of people to create the presentation of the museum’s special exhibitions and permanent collections in the galleries. The result is always a highly detailed, skilled, and creative process that brings a curator’s idea to life for a dramatic, exciting, and enjoyable experience for our visitors.

The museum’s special exhibitions range in scope from the grandiose to the more concise, and attract thousands of visitors to Cleveland each year. A significant economic engine for the museum and the area, pumping approximately $140 million into the local economy, these exhibitions treat audiences to masterpieces from around the world, while drawing attention to our own extraordinary collection in the process.

Performing Arts, Music, and Film The Cleveland Museum of Art has always been a place where people can experience visual art of the highest quality from cultures throughout the world, and the museum’s commitment to excellence in the performing arts echoes this philosophy. Museum performances illuminate a vital link between the performing arts and the visual arts, thereby creating a comprehensive, integrated, and visceral experience for museum visitors.

The film program, one of the oldest museum film programs in the country, deliberately presents films that commercial movie theatres do not, and the films screened often come from traveling exhibitions on tour in the United States for a limited time. As a result, the Cleveland Museum of Art provides the only theatre access in the greater Cleveland area to view these films.

The Department of Performing Arts, Music, and Film has received numerous distinctions and praise, including the ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming, Awards of Achievement from Northern Ohio Live, the Cleveland Arts Prize, and the Chevalier in the Order of Arts and Letters of the Republic of France.