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Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus, OH

Abbreviated as CMA, The Columbus Museum of Art is an art museum in downtown Columbus, Ohio. Founded in 1878 as the Columbus Gallery of Fine Arts, it was the first art museum to register its charter with the state of Ohio. The museum collects and exhibits American and European modern and contemporary art, folk art, glass art, and photography. The museum has been led by Executive Director Nannette Maciejunes since 2003.

Beginning in 1919, it was housed in the Francis C. Sessions house. Sessions deeded the mansion and property to the art museum, which operated there until 1923. The house was demolished, with the current museum built on its site. CCAD’s Beaton Hall includes elements from the entranceway of the Sessions house. The current building was built on the same site from 1929 to 1931, opening in January, 1931. In 1974, a visually unobtrusive structure was added to the rear of the building. The museum building was added to the National Register of Historic Places on March 19, 1992, under its original name.

The Columbus Museum of Art began a massive reconstruction and expansion in 2007. The first new space opened in January, 2011, after 13 months of construction. The space, called the Center for Creativity, is an 18,000 sq. ft.space that includes galleries, gathering areas, and places for workshops that allow visitors to engage in hands-on activities. In October, 2015, the new Margaret M. Walter wing opened to the public, adding 50,000 square feet of addition and 40,000 square feet of major renovation to the Museum. The Margaret M. Walter Wing was designed by Michael Bongiorno of the Columbus-based architecture firm Design Group.

In September 2018, the Pizzuti Collection, a museum in the Short North, was donated to the CMA, along with part of its collection. The museum opened as a part of the Columbus Museum of Art that year. The original main entryway consists of three arched portals to the interior. The facade here includes decorative moldings, keystones, bulls-eye medallions, and stone quoins. A frieze hung above the arches, with the name “Columbus Gallery of Fine Arts”. A set of sixteen limestone steps leads to the sidewalk, flanked by two Italian-style lamp posts. The Center for Creativity, on the first floor of the museum, includes a Creativity Lounge, The Studio, The Wonder Room, the Big Idea Gallery, and an Open Gallery.

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