The Columbus Museum of Art has everything you’d expect from a major city’s art museum, including work by famous artists from around the world, but also a few surprises. Its recently-expanded space is also home to experimental galleries, kid-friendly activities, work by local artists, and innovative exhibitions.
The Museum’s permanent collection is focused on American and European Impressionist and Modernist paintings, with works by big names like Picasso, Renoir, Monet, Henri Rousseau, Mary Cassat, Marsden Hartley, and Charles Demuth. It also includes photography, folk art, and glass art. A recent exhibit featured pieces from the collection by visual artist Aminah Brenda Lynn Robinson, who trained at the Columbus College of Art and Design, and her mentor Elijah Pierce, a self-trained wood-carver, born to former slaves, who once owned a barber shop and gallery in Columbus.
The museum was founded in 1868 and has been on this site since 1931, but recently completed major expansions in 2011 and 2013. These included the “Center for Creativity,” made up of five non-traditional gallery spaces. The “Wonder Room,” for example, currently contains an immersive display of contemporary fiber arts as well as a table where kids make their own crafts. The “Big Ideas” gallery features work on the theme of motion, including a Monet painting, an Alexander Calder mural, and a high-speed photo by MIT professor Harold Edgerton.
Recent exhibitions have featured watercolors by influential 20th century American painter Alice Schille, a collection of black-light posters from the counterculture of the 1960s and 70s, and the annual “Greater Columbus” exhibition of work by local artists. Events include a film festival, musical performances, and “Think Like an Artist Thursdays,” a night of arts and crafts activities for grown-ups, inspired by current exhibitions.
Cover photo: PunkToad, CC BY 2.0 via Flickr.