Learn About Art

For Adults

The Columbus Museum of Art offers a wide variety of programs for adult audiences of any experience level. Programs enhance visitors’ appreciation of special exhibitions, particular artists, or art movements as well as the Museum’s permanent collection. Introductory lecture series are excellent starter programs for those new to the art museum experience. Keep checking the Museum Members Magazine and this Website for updated program schedules. Ongoing public programs include:

Art Book Club

Focusing on fiction and non-fiction books that feature art and artists as central story elements, each of these programs includes a presentation by Executive Director Nannette Maciejunes, followed by refreshments and casual group discussion. The Art Book Club is presented on Thursday evenings and Sunday afternoons, four times annually. Admission is free for Museum members, $5 for nonmembers. Register here.

2015 Art Book Club Programs

Michelangelo: A Life in Six Masterpieces by Miles J. Unger
Thursday, January 8, 2015 – 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM
Sunday, January 11, 2015 – 2:00 PM – 3:30 PM

The Woman Who Brought Matisse Back from the Dead by Alison Leslie Gold
Thursday, April 23, 2015 – 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM
Sunday, April 26, 2015 – 2:00 PM – 3:30 PM

I Always Loved You: A Novel by Robin Oliveira
Thursday, July 23, 2015 – 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM
Sunday, July 26, 2015 – 2:00 PM – 3:30 PM

I, Hogarth: A Novel by Michael Dean

Thursday, November 12, 2015 – 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM
Sunday, November 15, 2015 – 2:00 PM – 3:30 PM

The Big Picture

This lecture series is a collaboration between the Columbus Museum of Art and the Institute for Collaborative Research and Public Humanities at The Ohio State University. Presented by faculty from Ohio State and other area colleges and universities in conjunction with the Museum’s temporary exhibitions, the lectures expand the contexts for understanding those exhibitions. The annual series roughly follows the OSU academic schedule. Each lecture is free and is followed by a reception.

Connector Series

The first Saturday of the month CMA’s Center for Creativity partners with provocative, creative people in our community to present intriguing, memorable experiences for all visitors. Come for unexpected encounters with local artists and performers, creative exploration, and fun. Connector Series experiences are included with regular admission, no registration requested.

Artists’ Talks

These programs offer remarkable opportunities to hear from the artists themselves. What are their processes? What inspires them? What do they hope audiences take away from their works? These creative personalities will answer these questions and give us a picture of the innovative work being done at the forefront of each of their fields. Recent presenters have included Aminah Robinson, William Wegman, Kehinde Wiley, Tony Mendoza, Rachel Harrison, and Evan Penny.

The Contemporaries

Membership in The Contemporaries gives you exclusive access to the world of contemporary art through our Chief Curator and Curator of Contemporary Art, including trips to international art fairs, private receptions with artists, and monthly educational programs. This group supports the awareness, appreciation, and acquisition of contemporary art and photography in our community.

As a member of The Contemporaries, you will visit the studios of prominent artists, speak one-on-one with curators and gallery owners and take behind-the-scenes tours of museum and private contemporary art collections. Members also receive personal collecting advice from CMA curators and participate in the selection of works for the Museum’s permanent collection through an annual vote.

The Contemporaries is open to all CMA members at the Reciprocal level or higher. Annual dues to join The Contemporaries are $500 per person. Your donation is tax deductible to the extent allowed. For more information, please call Sarah Rogers at 614.629.0311

Art of Concern Symposium

This annual symposium, inspired by the Museum’s acquisition of the Schiller collection of American social commentary art, attracts top scholars from around the country. Each year the symposium focuses on a particular theme. Previous symposia have addressed:

  • The Art of Concern, those American Scene painters whose works addressed issues of social concern in the first half of the twentieth century
  • Art as Intervention, the power of art to act as an intervention into social, political, and cultural arenas
  • Art on The Dark Side, an exploration of the styles and themes of the gothic
  • Art Under Surveillance, the ways in which the visual arts confront or collude with surveillance
  • Art in the Red Scare, the ways in which the visual arts confront or collude with surveillance


The Columbus Museum of Art presents talks by prominent scholars and creative people throughout the year. Information on upcoming lectures is provided in the CMA Members Magazine and CMA online calendar.

Walk-In Tours

Public tours for visitors are offered Thursdays at 6:30 pm and Sundays at 1 pm. Tours leave from the Museum Drive Lobby and are free with admission. Check the calendar for daily topics.

Franklin County Courthouse Self-Guided Tours

See ten striking, contemporary works of art on display in public spaces at the Franklin County Courthouse and Dorian Commons. Download and print our Franklin County Courthouse Self-Guided Tour sheet for details and Guide-By-Cell information.

Speaker’s Bureau

Can’t get your group to the museum? Let us bring the conversation to you. Columbus Museum of Art’s Speaker’s Bureau brings engaging presentations to your group at community centers, social groups, retirement communities, churches, workplaces or anywhere you gather.

Let a friendly and experienced presenter guide you through a discussion on one of these fascinating topics.

Columbus Artists: Find out more about Columbus’s rich artistic legacy and the contemporary artists living in the city by viewing works housed in the Museum’s permanent collection. (50 Minutes)

CMA: Past, Present and Future: Learn about the origin and history of the Columbus Museum of Art, its major collections, where we are today, and our vision for the future. (50 Minutes)

The Easter Story Though Art: Encounter the biblical story of Easter firsthand through beautiful works housed at the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C.  (50 Minutes)

The Christmas Story Through Art: Join our speaker during the holidays to recount the biblical stories of Christmas using beautiful works housed at the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C.  (50 Minutes)

Women in Art at the CMA: Explore CMA’s extraordinary and varied collection of works by women artists.  (50 Minutes)

Aminah Robinson: Take a fascinating in-depth look at the life and art of Columbus’s very own Aminah Robinson. (35 Minutes)

George Bellows: Learn about the life and times of this Columbus native and nationally renowned American artist. (35 Minutes)

Each Speaker’s Bureau presentation is facilitated by a friendly, experienced host and is accompanied by projected images. Images and projection technology are provided.

Can’t find just the right topic for your group? Our knowledgeable speakers may be able to accommodate special requests. To learn more or book a Speaker’s Bureau presentation please contact 614.221.6801.

Rather than impose a fee, CMA requests a $50 donation for each presentation.