An Insider’s View with CMA’s Sessions Society

Sessions Society

Are you genuinely interested in art in Central Ohio? If so, the Sessions Society of the Columbus Museum of Art is a great group to join. Sessions Society provides members with the opportunity to see a variety of art forms, from glass to textiles to paintings, from a variety of movements and eras, whether it be contemporary, folk art, early Renaissance, to Impressionism. These opportunities are provided through regular gatherings at art galleries and private homes in Central Ohio.

On a recent Friday evening about 30 Sessions members had the opportunity to visit longtime arts supporter Loann Crane in her home at Miranova. Loann’s eclectic art collection includes everything from ancient wood carved doors, pieces by Aminah Robinson and Denny Griffith, folk art, glass, and more. The evening began with Sessions members enjoying some wine and appetizers as they explored Loann’s home. After a welcome by Sessions President Lyn Savidge, Loann Crane provided us with an overview of some of her favorite pieces as well as her collection philosophy. It was inspiring to hear her speak about how she collects pieces that catch her eye and she likes, as opposed to having a deliberate or curated plan for her collection. Several of us noted that hearing her speak gave us the courage to be more playful when it comes to buying art of interest, especially since Loann made it seem so easy to have a piece from hundreds of years ago and halfway around the world installed beside a painting by a contemporary folk artist from right here in Columbus.

With one-of-a-kind opportunities to see collections you might not otherwise have access to see and to learn in detail about artists, the art community, and collectors from throughout Central Ohio, it is understandable to see why Sessions is so much fun for so many of us. Becoming a Sessions member is easy——you can find out more information by visiting the CMA volunteer page.  I hope you will join now, as these next few months have great Sessions gatherings coming up!

-Subha Lembach, CMA Museum Volunteer

Gallery of Echoes at Shadowbox Returns in November


Back by popular demand! In May 2014, Shadowbox  Live and CMA joined forces — the result was twenty-one original songs, inspired by works from CMA’s  collection, paired with vocals, dance, spoken word,  and video. This innovative, multimedia performance  provides “a whole new perspective to the artist’s  vision.”

November 5-16, 2014. Tickets range from $25 to $40. CMA members receive a $5 discount, use code CMA5, for all shows, except opening night. To make your  reservation, contact the box office at 614.416.7625   or

Global Weekend of Play 2014


Join CMA’s Center for Creativity for a Global Weekend of Play, October 4 & 5 at the Columbus Museum of Art. After a huge turnout in 2013, the community cardboard challenge is back! Started by the Imagination Foundation, Global Day of Play engages 1 million children and adults around the world in creative play. Together with the PAST Foundation and Mattress Firm Columbus, CMA invites you to take the Community Cardboard Challenge. CMA will provide cardboard and other recycled materials — all you need is your imagination and a friend to help your cardboard creations come to life.

Saturday October 4

Open Studio
10:00 AM -3:00 PM

Join us for playful cardboard challenges in the Center for Creativity Studio. Fans of Doodles or Surprise Supplies Saturdays will love OPEN STUDIO. Every Saturday visitors of all ages are welcome to drop in to CMA’s Center for Creativity Studio to explore ideas, solve creative challenges, and collaborate with friends or family. This program is free with admission, no registration requested.

Connector Series
1:00-4:00 PM

Build cardboard props for the Available Light Theater Company. CMA’s Center for Creativity partners with some of the most provocative, creative people in our community to present intriguing, memorable experiences for visitors. Come for unexpected encounters with local artists and performers, creative exploration, and fun. The Connector Series experiences are for visitors of every age and are included with admission.

Sunday October 5

Community Cardboard Challenge
11:00 AM-2:00 PM

Help us build something amazing out of cardboard on the front lawn of the Columbus Museum of Art! CMA will provide cardboard and other recycled materials — all you need is your imagination and a friend to help your cardboard creations come to life.Tag your cardboard creation photos with #cardboardchallenge

The Community Cardboard Challenge promotes creating thinking and collaboration at a time when we need it the most. Come play with us!

CMA Celebrates Festival Latino

CMA at Latino Fest 2014

Celebrate our community on Saturday, August 9 & Sunday, August 10 at Festival Latino downtown in Bicentennial Park from 11:00 am – 8:00 pm. Columbus Museum of Art is proud to partner with State Auto Insurance and Festival Latino to be part of a celebration that provides our community with an opportunity to experience traditional and contemporary Latin American culture.

Check out the headliners Brazeros Musical de Durango and Los Hermanos Roserio on the Bicentennial Park stage plus a full line up of Ohio-based Latino bands and dance companies. Indulge in dozens of delicious offerings of authentic cuisine.

Stop by the CMA and State Auto booth to create your own twist tie sculpture. Tag your smart photo of your sculpture with #CMAatFestLatino to be added to our virtual gallery. Don’t forget to pick up your free family admission pass, and free CMA swag while you are there!

Visit Festival Latino for more information, including parking and a complete list of performances.

CMA at Festival Latino Gallery

Wallowing in the MUD: Making Use of Documentation Copy


In the past three years as Visiting Education Scholar at the Columbus Museum of Art, I’ve noticed something astounding happening in the museum’s education department. It’s transformative… and it is going viral, spreading to the children, teens, and adults who come to the museum to experience art as well as affecting those in the schools where museum educators do much of their good work.

And it all starts in the MUD…which stands for Making Use of Documentation.  I asked Caitlin Lynch, a performance artist who is also a museum educator at CMA, what documentation has meant to her practice and teaching. Caitlin replied,  “It’s everything! As an artist who works primarily in installation and performance, and who tries to foster collaborative experiences between strangers, documentation is often times the only way I have to reflect back on my work. Often times I am so in a performance, that I miss small, meaningful moments, especially between visitors.  Reflection lets me see how my audience is responding to my provocations, almost always shaping what comes next, or where I take an idea. 
This is true as an educator as well. I can’t follow a student’s idea if I can’t remember it, and, much like a performance piece, being in the moment of teaching, it is often hard to catch and remember the true gems. It’s one thing to have me, another adult, tell you “Hey! This preschooler had a cool idea.” It’s quite another for me to show you an image of this same child making a giant, spontaneous, room-sized spiderweb, to trap all the adult ‘flies’…”

And just last week, Rachel Trinkley, the Assistant Director of Education for Schools, Teachers and Docents at CMA shared with me that “documentation has transformed the way I think about learning.”

Now when most people think of documentation, words like “transformation” do not usually come to mind.  In fact, when I ask people to tell me what words they think of when they hear the word “documentation” they sometimes say things like “endless paperwork,” “dreary reports,” and even “covering your tracks.”  But at the museum, rather than spending our time defining documentation, we’ve been practicing it and using it in a manner that is inspired by the way that the educators from the Italian pre-schools of Reggio Emilia use it (the Reggio schools were named in a Newsweek cover story as “One of the Best 10 Schools in the World”).

Rather than dreary paper work to cover your tracks, museum educators are using the Reggio educator’s practice of using documentation as a way to observe, record, interpret and share back moments of learning and thinking through a variety of ways including written quotes, photographic images, children’s artifacts as well as audio and video recordings in order to extend and deepen learning.  Documentation is being used by museum educators with children, teens, and adults not only during the process of experiencing art and art making, but also after the experience is over.  We’ve even begun to use it with funders as a unique way to show results and make visible the richness of learning about and through artful experiences.

But as I said earlier, much of this starts in the “MUD” i.e the monthly Making Use of Documentation meetings that museum educators are conducting.  During these two hour meetings, these educators use protocols and rigorous ways of looking deeply at documentation from their programs in order to examine, ponder, and interpret powerful moments of learning.  It is also during these MUD meetings that they learn with and from one another to continuously improve what they do with museum visitor experiences inside and outside the museum.  When examining documentation (children’s words, artifacts, photographs, and teacher reflections) at a recent MUD meeting, two museum educators shared how their thinking and teaching was being transformed (there’s that word again!) as they were changing their teaching from “a reliance on materials to a reliance on listening and following the direction of children in order to spark their play and imagination.”  Sparking children’s play, creativity, and imagination…now that’s something worth getting dirty for!

-Guest blog post by Fred Burton CMA Visiting Education Scholar

Become a Docent at Columbus Museum of Art

CMA Docents

Do you value learning? Do you have a passion for art? Do you enjoy conversing and sharing with others? If you answered “YES,” the Columbus Museum of Art is recruiting for a new docent class for the 2014-2015 year. Docents are volunteer gallery facilitators who guide visitors in thinking, talking, and wondering about art. Docents ensure great experiences for CMA visitors including 15,000 + K-12 students from all over Columbus.

The process in becoming a docent includes a rigorous nine-month training process where candidates research and study art in the Museum’s collection, learn touring strategies to match various age groups, and explore educational philosophies. No previous art knowledge is necessary, but curiosity and commitment is required.

Docent candidates must commit to two years of touring and continuing education after their completion in training. Graduates will join one of the most dedicated and passionate group of volunteers in central Ohio. They must maintain a Museum Membership. Benefits of becoming a docent include curatorial and guest lectures, interactions with contemporary artists, social events and art-focused trips, access to unique museum resources, discounts at the Museum store and cafe, plus more.

Tuesday, July 22nd, 11:00 AM-12:30 PM
Thursday, July 31st, 6:00 PM-7:30 PM

Current docents and museum staff will be on hand to talk more about the program, answer questions, and tour you through the galleries during the open docent Open Houses.

For more information and to apply, download the 2014-2015 CMA Docent Information Sheet, then complete a Docent Program Application.

Applications are DUE on August 8, 2014. Interviews will begin in mid-August. Those accepted into the program will be notified by September 10, 2014.

Please contact Stephanie Samera, Docent Programs Coordinator, at with additional questions about the program.

CMA and 2014 Columbus Arts Fest Challenge


Join CMA and Greater Columbus Arts Council at the Columbus Arts Festival located on the Riverfront on June 6, 7, and 8. The Riverfront will be transformed  into a stunning outdoor art gallery as the nation’s  top artists display their work and attract art  enthusiasts from all over the country. In addition to hosting more than 280 nationally acclaimed artists, GCAC’s Festival will feature fantastic gourmet fare from some of the city’s finest local  restaurants, live music, hands-on art activities and more. Visit us at our booth on Rich Street, and pick up your free art swag.

Plus, pick up materials at the CMA booth and show off your creativity with CMA’s Imagine the Possibilities Creative Challenge:

  • Make a twist tie sculpture.
  • Take a picture, and tag it on Instagram with #CMAatArtsFest to be part of the online gallery.

Imagine the Possibilities area at CMA is part of the Creativity@CMA Gallery where visitors get creative and experiment using simple materials. Here are a few of the creative twist tie sculptures visitors have created so far.

Imagine the Possibilities Creative Challenge Gallery via Instagram

Middle School Redo and Role Models

Critical Works

My name is Alvin White, and I am a Teaching Artist at the Columbus Museum of Art. Imagine walking into a middle school classroom and you’ve become the star of 6th, 7th and 8th grade. Students are high-fiving you, asking you questions about art and interested in learning about you. This is completely different from my middle school experiences, actually the opposite. For me to have the chance to redo middle school has been a huge opportunity to learn how to reshape thinking for the betterment of others by talking about complex social issues that are relevant to the students’ lives.

I was the teaching artist this past year for Pressing Matters and Critical Works, programs the Museum conducts with Central and Southeastern Ohio middle schools that lack arts programs. CMA staff brings authentic, socially charged works of art to the classroom to engage students in an interdisciplinary learning experience. Students explore social issues relevant to their own lives and communicate their concerns through creative expression and experimentation.

Pressing Matters

Although teaching about art and social issues is part of my job, I am also indirectly teaching about something else: the importance of an effective black male artist in the classroom. Every time I start a program, I re-learn that seventh and eighth grade students are much smarter than we give them credit for. Students are able to pick up on the significance that I am an one of the few examples of a black male teacher within the building, maybe the only creative black role model they have encountered.

Art Speaks. Join the Conversation.

-Alvin White, CMA Teaching Artist for School and Teen Initiatives

Inside the Strange and Wonderful World of a Museum Educator

Museum educator

If you’ve ever worked in the field of museum education, you know that people “on the outside” have no idea what that means. “That must be so fun,” we hear a lot. Yes, it is fun! However, no, we don’t teach kids how to paint all day! We do all kinds of strange things in this field.  In order to offer a bit of insight into the day-to-day experience of  a museum educator, I’ve interviewed the Studio and Outreach Coordinator here at CMA, Stephanie Rybicki. Here are some interesting tidbits I unearthed:

On a regular basis, Stephanie…

Comes up with creative challenges for program participants.  For Girl Scout Day, she had scouts recreate portraits by George Bellows:

Bellows interpretation

A not-so-pleasant aspect of Stephanie’s job is…

Unclogging glue bottles! With so much programming going on all the time, Stephanie is constantly cleaning, organizing, and setting up for the next workshop. It’s a good thing she has interns to help her out;)

One of Stephanie’s favorite work days was…

When artist Oliver Herring performed TASK, during which CMA visitors were invited to do all kinds of crazy things. Stephanie helped by building a fort of streamers and sending streamer bombs flying across the room.


Oliver Herring taking a selfie with a TASK participant

Stephanie has to mix the fun and hectic stuff with the boring and mundane stuff, just like any other job. Her most boring day was spent…

Sorting paper. To anyone interested in an internship here at CMA, we love people who can organize!

Stephanie will be leaving us soon, to pursue her career in the great state of Texas.  We are very sad. This experience has changed her by…

Making her more comfortable with silliness and being goofy. She can dress up like a “cat witch” (sorry, no picture), Photoshop glamour shots, or make tiny rats for a Caravaggio exhibit.

The lesson to be learned from Stephanie is that museum education can look like almost anything. So, stay on your toes and go with the flow!

Art Speaks. Join the Conversation.

- Susie Underwood, Manager for Studio Initiatives

In the Arms of the Willow


How does one go about turning a Monet into music? Behind the scenes of Gallery of Echoes with Shadowbox’s Gabriel Guyer.

My name is Gabriel Guyer. I am 35 years old and the Bassist and Co-Composer for the Gallery of Echoes project, a multi-media, multi-disciplinary collaboration between Columbus Museum of Art and Shadowbox Live. I have been a Musician and Visual Artist my entire life. Gallery of Echoes in many ways is this fascinating culmination of my life’s experiences. Though I know this isn’t nearly the climax of my existence or my life as an artist, bringing these 2 art forms together in such a unique way is an event I have somehow always been moving towards.

I grew up in a house filled with Classic Rock from the 60s, 70s and 80s like The Doors, Steely Dan, Rush, Jimi, Zeppelin, etc. As I got older my tastes expanded into other genres of music like Soul, R & B and went deep into Rap and Hip Hop for a very long time while dabbling in Classical, Jazz, Lounge and World music along the way.

As a musician I began my life as a Vocalist. I picked up my first stringed instrument, the Violin, in the 4th grade. Soon after I switched to Trombone and stayed with it for several years. However as I reached High School I picked up the Guitar. Being a teenage male with a guitar taught me a lot about songwriting and how to express myself emotionally through my instrument (laugh). Several years later while working in the early days of Shadowbox Live, we lost our bass player. Out of necessity – though perhaps destiny – I picked it up and haven’t put it down since. It speaks for me and from my heart better than any other musical instrument I’ve ever touched.

As an artist, I grew up in a house that was filled with my mother’s Watercolors and Acrylics. She had a gift for sharing her imagination and feelings through abstract work – using mainly art nouveau and still life. Very expressive and very feminine works. I use pen and pencils in my Visual Art, but I have explored many various mediums throughout my life. I’ve never been a painter; in fact I’m terrible at it, so consequently it’s one of the mediums that fascinates me the most.

Perhaps needless to say, Art and Music have been two of the most import factors in my life.

French Impressionism has influenced me since I was young and Claude Monet has inspired and enlightened me through all of that time. For me, Monet’s work has always felt light and inviting. … the way that he could turn an everyday something or somewhere into a place that you wanted to be. He takes you into that world. As you stand at a distance looking at the whole picture, all you want is to be closer. You want to see more detail. But as you draw near, instead of revealing these details you see brushstrokes and texture. This almost blurred vision seems to help the piece to surround and envelop you.

I have seen many of Monet’s works and have been blessed to see several in person. I certainly do not know his entire catalogue of work. However from my experience, Weeping Willow is a very unique piece that the Columbus Museum of Art is lucky to have.

I had never seen a Monet like this before. It was very dark. As I walked up to this piece, explored its colors, and compared it to what I know of Monet – all I could think about was the intense and deep emotion he was expressing. Though I believe Monet is actually inviting us, the viewers, to this safe place where we may comfortably share the darker parts of ourselves.

As I came into writing the music for this piece, I really wanted to speak to each of these elements. The main time signature for the song accompanying this piece is an alternating 7/8 to 8/8 that feels good but is slightly off kilter. That directly speaks to my comparison this piece to his other works.

I also felt a somber, minor tone coming from the painting, which had something of an unexpected flow to it. It seemed like the perfect opportunity to use my chorus pedal and give it that fat, wavy tone to match the natural behavior of the piece.

The main guitar line was a perfect compliment to my languid bass line with each quick 16th note creating tiny, individual leaves on the limbs that tumbled down.

The keys fleshed out our environment with one laying the foundation of rolling hills that we don’t see in the actual artwork but are merely implied. All while the other keyboard creates a gentle breeze that moves the limbs slightly and invites you to come inside for your self-expression.

As we move into the heavier section of the song, it represents the emotion trapped within the weep of the willow. We have stepped under the canopy and are taking our moment to scream and release all of our anger and pain.

Now that we’ve let it out, we can begin to rebuild our confidence and courage – coming back out from beneath its branches. This leads us into my quiet solo section.  Here I tried to communicate the feeling of regrouping and just beginning to take new chances emerging and looking at the world with new eyes. You feel good. You feel lighter.

As the song flows into its outro, I see it as looking back to where our experience began and feeling the call of the willow as we did when we first stumbled across its path.

Perhaps not every song in Gallery of Echoes has given me the illumination that I feel with Weeping Willow, but every song most certainly has its own, unique experience. I truly believe that we, Light‘s performers and composers, have found a new and provocative way to express these wonderful works of art. I hope you will come share our interpretation. And perhaps you will have your own interpretations that wildly differ from ours, but that is exactly what this performance is meant to celebrate. The most beautiful thing about art is that it can be seen and felt in so many different ways.

I was able to smuggle out a rough copy of the recording to share with you. Please know this isn’t a finished product, but it will definitely help you understand the vision we have.

Weeping Willow by Light

Art inspired by art inspired by art.

Gallery of Echoes has only 7 performances at Shadowbox Live from May 1st – 4th

To get your tickets or more information on Gallery of Echoes, please visit the Shadowbox Live website. For more about Gabriel Guyer, visit the author’s website.

Art Speaks. Join the Conversation.

Guest Blogger, Gabriel Guyer, Bassist and Co-Composer for Gallery of Echoes