About Merilee Mostov

Merilee Mostov is the Chief Engagement Officer for CMA

Like the Coffee Shop


What brings you to the art museum?

Jordan, a communications major at OSU, comes here to do her homework.

I happened upon Jordan one recent weekday afternoon. Spread out on a table near the Palette Express Café, Jordan was working quietly while enjoying the view of Derby Court. Her sketchbooks bulged with giant shapes – cones and cylinders – as she tackled assignments for her beginning drawing class.

Jordan searched for the right place to work this day, “someplace other than a coffee shop.”   She settled on CMA – a perfect spot to think, relax, and draw.

We’re happy she came.

We like to know that our beautiful building and art-filled galleries are not merely visited, but used. That is why, in addition to great works of art, we’ve loaded our galleries with comfortable seating – tables, sofas, and chairs.  Like the local coffee shop, we have free WI-FI, dark roast, and a slightly exotic Jungle Love on most days.  Like the coffee shop we are a community space where you can gather to socialize with friends and co-workers.  Like the coffee shop we’re just the right spot to temporarily escape from chores, routine, and traffic. Like the coffee shop, we’ve got quieter times that are perfect for writing and reflection, as well as busy periods that are great for people-watching.

A trip to CMA doesn’t have to be a once-a-year pilgrimage.  Yes, we encourage you to take time to ponder some of the great works of art we have on view.  But we welcome you to realize other ways to use our spaces too.   Looking for an inspiring place to brainstorm with your co-workers? Think CMA.  In the mood to jumpstart your creativity, play a game, do a puzzle?  Check out CMA.  Need a place to unwind on your lunch break? Stop by CMA.

More and more I encounter people like Jordan who have discovered that CMA is a local treasure, not just because we have great art, but because we’re just the right place to spend an afternoon.  We’re kind of like your local coffee shop, but well, with a better view… and more.

Visitors Stories and Conversations is a biweekly blog series highlighting the stories behind many of our delightful visitors.

Creativity Coach

Creativity Coach

In the Center for Creativity at the Columbus Museum of Art we believe that creativity is for everyone. By everyone, we mean people of all ages.  If only I had a dollar for every time an adult quipped, “me? I’m not creative.  But, (pointing to an adorable 7-year old nearby) my son, or granddaughter, or niece is very talented.”

Which makes me think that in addition to personal trainers, stylists, and doulas, many adults need a Creativity Coach.  A creativity coach would follow you around for one week to highlight and record the myriad ways that you already employ creativity in your life.  A creativity coach will motivate you to try new things – to take risks.  She will champion your imagination, curiosity, and sense of wonder.  She will provoke you to explore things that are absurd and ambiguous.

I got the idea for a creativity coach after meeting Michelle Persichetti last week at a reception for the finalists in the 3rd CMA Community Photo Hunt Challenge.  Michelle would be a terrific creativity coach.

Michelle’s story is similar to other adults I meet.  A busy mother and elementary teacher at Tremont School in Upper Arlington, she doesn’t consider herself to be particularly creative.   But she notices that something special is happening since she started snapping photos for the Community Photo Challenge.   “This challenge has made me more observant of the world and moments to capture. It has inspired me to have a new creative outlet.”

What I love about Michelle’s story is her attitude.  She may not consider herself creative and she may question what that word means, but she has not shut the door on it either.  She is not afraid to try something new, to experiment, to look at the world from a new point of view, to be curious.  Michelle’s story is an example of how quietly creativity can slip into our lives, and energize us. Her enthusiasm, her sense of wonder, her passion – this is how I know she would be a terrific creativity coach.

There are many exciting photos in this exhibition of all Instagram images, but Michelle’s submission for the prompt GOLDEN is particularly compelling. At the reception, I waited patiently to discover the person, and the story, behind this photo. On the surface, it’s such a simple image – a letter on simple ruled paper.  But it is the story behind the photograph that jostled my imagination.

I was thrilled to meet Michelle this night – to soak up her positive energy, to be inspired by her passion, to bear witness to adult creativity.  And I was honored that she shared even more details about the golden letter with me later that evening via e-mail,

“As I drove home I thought more about the photo, after my dad passed away suddenly, I took out a box of letters he had written me. Letters that I didn’t appreciate as much when he was alive. That line inspired me, and assured me again of his unconditional love, so I snapped a picture to always keep it in my pocket. It just happened to be on golden paper and be a golden line.”


As any good coach knows, getting started is the hardest part.  Trying something new is scary.  Congratulations to Michelle for taking the risk.

Want to join the next Photo Hunt starting in September? Here’s how…

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Visitors Stories and Conversations is a biweekly blog series highlighting the stories behind many of our delightful visitors.