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News Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

The Cleveland Museum of Art Announces Record Attendance in 2018

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Kelley Notaro Schreiber

The Cleveland Museum of Art
knotaro [at] clevelandart.org
216-707-6898
More than three-quarters of a million guests visited during a milestone year

Cleveland, OH (January 15, 2019) – The Cleveland Museum of Art (CMA) today announced record-breaking annual attendance figures, having welcomed 769,435 visitors in 2018, a 31% increase compared to 586,672 visitors in 2017. The total eclipses the previous record set more than 30 years ago in 1987, when the museum welcomed 719,620 guests. Since its founding in 1916, more than 44 million people have walked through CMA’s doors.

 “We are thrilled to have achieved this milestone and to have received so many visitors – both locally and from around the world – this past year,” said William Griswold, director of the Cleveland Museum of Art. “It is evidence of the immense potential of our second century. We are excited about the opportunities that lie ahead. Our strategic plan, Making Art Matter, stipulates that we will increase attendance to one million visitors every year within a 10-year period, and we are now well on our way. None of this would have been possible without the hard work of museum staff, trustees, volunteers and our more than 31,000 member households – another number the magnitude of which I am pleased to announce is a record.”

This year’s featured exhibitions included the landmark Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors, which attracted more than 120,000 visitors from all 50 states and 23 countries in Europe, Asia, South America and Australia. In addition, the museum hosted six installations connected with the inaugural edition of Front International: Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art, as well as such other popular exhibitions as Renaissance Splendor: Catherine de’ Medici’s Valois Tapestries, featuring a unique set of 16th century hangings on view in North American for the very first time, and Georgia O’Keeffe: Living Modern, which explores the iconic artist’s life and work through her paintings and articles of her clothing, as well as photographs (on view through March 3, 2019).

The year also was marked by notable acquisitions and the refurbishment of several CMA galleries. These included:

  • Sleeping Christ Child, an outstanding example of monumental narrative sculpture by Filippo Parodi, assistant to Bernini and leading sculptor of the Genoese Baroque. 
  • The refurbished galleries of Louis Comfort Tiffany and Peter Carl Fabergé, featuring breathtaking examples of the designers’ signature stained glass and jeweled objects. 
  • The acquisition of more than 100 Rajput and Pahari Indian paintings from the Catherine Glynn Benkaim and Ralph Benkaim Collection.
  • The debut of three reimagined Northern European galleries, featuring art of the Netherlands, Germany, Central Europe and France.

In 2018, CMA also unveiled its first Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Plan to help further serve and connect with audiences. 

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About the Cleveland Museum of Art

The Cleveland Museum of Art is renowned for the quality and breadth of its collection, which includes more than 61,000 objects and spans 6,000 years of achievement in the arts. The museum is a significant international forum for exhibitions, scholarship, and performing arts. One of the top comprehensive art museums in the nation and free of charge to all, the Cleveland Museum of Art is located in the dynamic University Circle neighborhood.

The Cleveland Museum of Art is supported by a broad range of individuals, foundations and businesses in Cleveland and Northeast Ohio. The museum is generously funded by Cuyahoga County residents through Cuyahoga Arts and Culture. Additional support comes from the Ohio Arts Council, which helps fund the museum with state tax dollars to encourage economic growth, educational excellence and cultural enrichment for all Ohioans. For more information about the museum, its holdings, programs and events, call 888-CMA-0033 or visit ClevelandArt.org.