CMA Partners with GCAC to Celebrate Columbus Artists with 4th Annual Exhibition


We support local Columbus artists in many ways. One of the most exciting is our partnership for the Greater Columbus Arts Council exhibition, now in its fourth year. The 2014 Greater Columbus Arts Council (GCAC) Visual Arts Exhibition highlights the outstanding talent and ability of Columbus artists. The exhibition includes work by the recipients of the 2013 GCAC Individual Artist Fellowship Awards : Shannon Benine, Clara Crockett, Evan Dawson and Shane Mecklenburger. Two others, Kaveri Raina and Laura Alexander, were awarded GCAC residencies in Dresden, Germany this year.

These artists represent a diverse range of practices fostered within Columbus’s artistic community. Clara Crockett’s pencil drawings of human and canine figures are both sensitive and surreal, while Shannon Benine will show her compelling, somewhat mysterious photographs of Molokai, Hawaii. In his video works, Shane Mecklenburger creates weightless fields of computer-generated diamonds, while Evan Dawson’s sculptural gestures begin with the material circumstances of daily life. Laura Alexander cuts intricate patterns into layered sheets of paper, and Kaveri Raina’s vivid abstractions are painted with materials like turmeric, chili powder and cinnamon. Each with their own niche, together these artists demonstrate the region’s vibrant artistic ecology.

The 2014 Greater Columbus artists selected for this year's Visual Arts Exhibition.

GCAC’s Tom Katzenmeyer and CMA’s Nannette Maciejunes welcome the 2014 Greater Columbus artists selected for this year’s Visual Arts Exhibition: Clara Crockett, Shane Mecklenburger, Laura Alexander, Shannon Benine, and Evan Dawson (not pictured: Kaveri Raina).

The 2014 Greater Columbus Arts Council (GCAC) Visual Arts Exhibition will be on view June 27, 2014 through September 28, 2014.

New Wing Ground Breaking

New Wing Ground Breaking

Breaking Tradition. Breaking Ground.
On August 22 we break ground on the new wing and open the new exhibition George Bellows and the American Experience. Columbus Museum of Art was built by the community for the community. This is a major milestone for us and Columbus. The Official Ground Breaking Ceremony will take place at 5:30 PM on the Broad Street Lawn. We’ll also have a few surprises not to be missed.

Thursday August 22, 5:30 PM – Official Ground Breaking Ceremony
Member RSVP here.

Find out more on our Expansion.



Last night, the Board of Trustees of the Columbus Museum of Art approved the beginning of construction for the final phase of the renovation and expansion. We will celebrate with a Ground Breaking ceremony on August 22, the same evening as the opening of the George Bellows and the American Experience exhibition.  Look for details coming soon.

This is a significant moment in the 135 year history of the Museum and reflects the tremendous dedication and commitment of a broad cross section of this community. To those of you who have contributed your time and financial support to make this happen, you share in our pride and excitement.  To those of you who are preparing to declare art matters, we look forward to you joining our donor ranks.

Columbus Museum of Art, your National Medal museum, will be bringing new resources and experiences to our great community.  This is only the beginning.

Come celebrate with us August 22.



What Do These Paintings Have in Common?


Here’s a hint: This weekend is the 100th anniversary of the first Armory Show. You may have heard the Armory story on NPR recently. Still need more help?

You know I’m always saying that art transforms lives. The 1913 Armory Show was one of those transformational moments for art in the United States, but also for the Columbus Museum of Art. This is the art event that changed Ferdinand Howald’s life—turning him into a collector and an art patron. Howald’s collection went on to form the heart of our internationally renowned Modernist Collection. It literally transformed our destiny.

Now about those two paintings above. Both were in the 1913 Armory Show! The one on the right is Middleton Manigault’s Clown which we acquired in 1999. Manigault was the first artist that Howald purchased. The painting on the left is George Bellows’s Mrs. Albert M. Miller—for long-time Columbusites, she was Dixie Miller’s mother-in-law. Bellows entered the portrait in the Armory Show only two months after painting it. We acquired it in 1974 from the Arnold family.

And that’s the rest of the story.

- Nannette

CMA Finalist for 2013 National Medal for Museum and Library Service

IMLS Finalist Logo

The Institute of Museum and Library Services today announced Columbus Museum of Art, Cuyahoga County Public Library of Cuyahoga County, and The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County of Cincinnati as National Medal for Museum and Library Service finalists. The National Medal is the nation’s highest honor conferred on museums and libraries for service to the community and celebrates institutions that make a difference for individuals, families, and communities.

Medal finalists are selected from nationwide nominations of institutions that demonstrate innovative approaches to public service, exceeding the expected levels of community outreach. This year’s finalists exemplify the nation’s great diversity of libraries and museums and include an aquarium and marine science center foundation, conservatory and botanical gardens, county library systems, individual libraries, children’s museums, an art museum, science centers, and more, hailing from across the country.

“Museums and libraries serve as community gathering places and centers for lifelong learning, and we are very proud to announce Columbus Museum of Art, Cuyahoga County Public Library of Cuyahoga County, and The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County of Cincinnati as finalists for the 2013 National Medal,” said Susan Hildreth, director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services. “This year’s finalists exemplify the many wonderful ways museums and libraries can respond to the needs and wants of the communities they serve.”

“Several years ago, we decided we wanted CMA to be a resource for our community and embraced the idea of becoming a visitor-centered Museum that fostered creativity and promised great experiences with great art for everyone,” said CMA Executive Director Nannette V. Maciejunes. “We’re incredibly honored to be recognized as finalist for this prestigious award and excited that the work we’ve done is resonating with our community.”

Finalists are chosen because of their significant and exceptional contributions to their communities. IMLS is encouraging community members who have visited Columbus Museum of Art to share their story on the IMLS Facebook page,  National Medal for Museum and Library Service winners will be announced this spring.

To learn more about the 2013 National Medal finalists, visit

12 Things CMA Gave in 2012

The holidays are a time for giving. Here at the Museum, we are committed to giving back to our community. Here’s a year-end wrap-up of 12 gifts the Columbus Museum of Art gave to Central Ohio this year:

12. Memories. CMA gave every single Columbus City Schools 5th grader an art experience to remember — free of charge.

11. Great art. Our Radical Camera exhibition was hailed as “stirring” and “one of the top ten photography shows” of the year.

10. Community treasures. Most of us will never own a Monet but as a community, we own seven.

9. Civic pride. Our Marvelous Menagerie exhibition showcased an ancient mosaic that toured The Met in New York City, The Field in Chicago, The Louvre in Paris and the Columbus Museum of Art in Ohio.

8. Joy. Our Sparking Imaginations tour lets people with dementia and their caregivers relax, refresh, and enjoy time together.

7. A moment of beauty.  Our new acquisition Endeavor, by glass master Lino Tagliapietra, is quickly becoming a community favorite.

6. The Wonder Room. Columbus Parent called it one of the 200 Reasons Columbus is a great place to raise a family.

5. Better doctors. Our Art of Analysis program is teaching tomorrow’s pediatricians and cardiologists how to listen and look closer.

4. An artistic outlet. Programs and events at the Museum tap into the creativity that lives in all of us.

3. Unique experiences. Our Summer Art Workshops connected kids in Ohio with kids China via Skype.

2. Free Sundays. Enough said.

1. A promise of more to come. In 2013, we bring you our hotly anticipated Rothko show.

If you enjoyed any of these gifts, give a year-end gift of $1.20, $12, $120, or whatever you can to CMA to help us continue to make a difference.

Wishing everyone a happy, healthy, and inspiring new year.

Nannette Maciejunes
Columbus Museum of Art Executive Director

In honor of the Royal Wedding

First, I need to confess that I am a royal watcher. I remember being in college in 1973 and getting up early with my friends to watch Princess Anne’s wedding and several years later watching as Prince Charles married Lady Diana Spencer. Sadly, I also remember Diana’s funeral as I was in London for a courier trip immediately following her death. I stood on the street and watched the procession and then went to Hyde Park where thousands of people gathered to watch the funeral televised on these huge soccer screens.

Today, I woke up early to enjoy a much happier occasion, the wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton. Her gown was stunning, the ceremony was gorgeous, however, I was horrified to hear an American commentator repeatedly refer to Westminster Abbey as having been built in the “11th century.” So, in honor of Catherine Middleton,  Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge, (who I recently discovered is a fellow art historian), I would like to clarify that,according to Westminster’s own website, “The present church, begun by Henry III in 1245, is one of the most important Gothic buildings in the country, with the medieval shrine of an Anglo-Saxon saint still at its heart.”

While Gothic architecture originated in France (think Notre Dame), those beautiful, high, pointed,  arches throughout Westminster clearly mark it as one of the great Gothic buildings of England.  Had it been constructed in the 11th century, the arches would have been rounded, characteristic of the  Romanesque (or Norman) architecture of the time.

History lesson aside, the wedding was beautiful and I join with the rest of the world in wishing the couple much happiness.

Nannette Maciejunes
CMA Executive Director

Detention of Artist Ai Weiwei

The Columbus Museum of Art joins our museum colleagues in expressing concern over the detention of acclaimed Chinese artist Ai Weiwei. We believe wholly in the freedom of expression and the nurturing of creativity and independent thought. We support the museum community’s efforts to hasten Ai Weiwei’s release. Utilizing Ai Weiwei’s favored medium of social sculpture, we encourage you to sign this online petition calling in support of those efforts.

On April 3, 2011, Ai Weiwei was detained at the Beijing airport while en route to Hong Kong and his papers and computers were seized from his studio compound. According to news reports, several of his associates have also been reported missing and his family has yet to be informed of his arrest, although officials have said he is being held for “economic crimes.”

Thank you

A special thank you to our volunteers as we celebrate National Volunteer Week! The Museum would not be succeeding today without the passion of our dedicated volunteers who so generously share their talents, time and resources. We are proud to have the fifth largest Museum-based volunteer group in the country. We have more than 1400 volunteers serving in nine Auxiliary groups plus a volunteer Board of Trustees.

Every group makes a unique and significant contribution to the Museum’s mission of “creating great experiences with great art for everyone”. The Docents connect people and art and are the link between what is displayed in the Museum and how the visitor experiences a personal sense of discovery.

Each year Auxiliary groups make a substantial financial contribution that now totals in the millions. Signature fundraising events like Decorators’ Show House, Art in Bloom, and ArtFusion, sponsored by Women’s Board, Beaux Arts and the young professionals’ group Art netWork, are Columbus favorites.

Sessions Society and Art Escapes are special interest Auxiliaries that encourage an in-depth art experience by sponsoring visits to collectors’ homes, artists’ studios, galleries, and world-wide travel to art destinations. The Garden Club is the care-taker of our Sculpture Garden and host of the summer concerts. Volunteers not affiliated with a group are valuable assistants to the Museum staff and help with Museum events.

We thank each and every volunteer for making the Museum and our community a better place.

The entire staff of the Columbus Museum of Art

Remembering George Tooker

It has been a sad week for me personally, for CMA, and for the American art community.  The painter George Tooker died at his home in Vermont this past Sunday.  He was 90.  The Museum owns two of George’s paintings, Cornice and Lunch, and in 2008 we co-organized a retrospective of his work with the National Academy Museum and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.  We are also incredibly proud of the fact that we joined with the Smithsonian American Art Museum to nominate him for a National Medal of Arts, one of the country’s most prestigious awards for the arts, which he received in 2007 (along with artist Andrew Wyeth).

When a museum has such a close connection to an artist, their passing is felt deeply.  However, George’s work, like his life and his presence, gave voice to such eloquent and genuine advocacy against the effects of indifference and inequality that for me his loss is especially poignant.  Though an incredibly quiet and private man, his actions and his art were nonetheless fiercely engaged in social change.  In an interview with me, he described his Windows series, begun in the early 1950s, as “a challenge.  I believed in racial intermarriage.  And I wanted to paint about that.”  Indeed, the works constitute an explicit challenge, though one characteristic of Tooker in its humanist approach.  The paintings reveal through open windows interracial couples whose sensual, suffused beauty compel us to admire, and even desire, rather than reject the lovers’ intimacy.  In explaining his and his partner William Christopher’s decision to travel to Selma, Alabama, in 1965 to participate in the memorial service for slain activist James Reeb, Tooker simply and plaintively stated that “Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., called for people to come to Selma, and we went.  To march in Selma.”

Maybe to me the message in Tooker’s work that never fails to stop the mundane train of my own thoughts upon every viewing is the profound effect on each other we humans are capable of.  The pain caused by benign neglect, the unsympathetic dismissal adults have for the feelings of children, the acute physical and emotional pain of grief.  Or, on the other hand, the tender absorption of the way a man caresses his lover’s hair or the innocent curiosity of a boy peeking over the edge of a table.  In these I am brought to pause at the beauty, the wonder and mystery, in the simple connection of one human to another and at the shame when it is denied.  Tooker not only reminds me that compassion and regard reside at the basis of true community, whether of two or two million souls, but he also reminds me that painting can give profound and affective voice to this consequential truth.

M. Melissa Wolfe
Curator of American Art
Columbus Museum of Art

George Tooker, Cornice

George Tooker, Lunch