The Cleveland Museum of Art was one of my favorite places
growing up. It has always been a place
of quiet escape and beauty. It’s been years since I’ve visited as an adult and
I’ve been anxious to see the new renovations that debuted last fall. I was not disappointed.
At a total cost of $350 million, it is the largest cultural
project in the history of the state of Ohio and one of the most comprehensive
renovation and expansion projects in the museum field in the nation.
The new architecture of the re-designed 39,000-square-foot atrium and ceilings is stunning. Equally impressive is the fact that it is the largest free indoor space in the city. In fact, the entire museum is free to the public with the exception of a few special exhibits. With extremely comprehensive, well-edited and beautiful collections from all areas of art history the CMA is truly a gem worth visiting.
My friends and I visited on a Saturday afternoon and while it was busy, it certainly did not seem crowded. Our first stop was for lunch at the new Provenance Café in the renovated atrium. The café boasts an open kitchen so you can watch the chef’s create your dish. They offer an incredible variety of seasonal soups and salads, hot and cold sandwiches, desserts and more. The café’s Global Oven and Grill features selections of locally sourced, globally inspired dishes. The food is a work of art itself and matches the tradition of the museum. There is also a 76-seat restaurant managed by local Chef Douglas Katz whose vision is to create a multi-sensory experience while dining and visiting the CMA.
After lunch we started with the European art section. Upon entering you are face-to-face with a jaw-dropping wall sized Monet. The collections are laid out perfectly and there are so many wonderful and recognizable pieces as well as new discoveries with the perfect amount of information on laminated plaques.
There are audio walking tours and docents as well as iPad rentals that help you navigate and learn. Even the security guards were extremely informative and helpful. We spent most of our time in the Impressionism and Modern Art galleries. They had Monet, Van Gogh, Picasso, Warhol, and Matisse. Another impressive stop within the museum which I have vivid memories as a child was the museum’s armor court, a light-filled enclosed courtyard, filled with a dozen suits of medieval armor.
The Cleveland Museum of Art is located about 15 minutes east of downtown Cleveland in the University Circle area, and steps from a beautiful reflecting pool centered in Wade Oval, a seven acre park. There is also so much to do nearby with several other Cleveland museums and attractions, like the Western Reserve Historical Society, the Cleveland Botanical Gardens, the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Natural History Museum to name a few, it's worth making the most of Cleveland's arts and cultural scene.