A collaborative project between the Cleveland Museum of Art and the Cleveland Institute of Art, originally conceived by Sylvain Bellenger, this virtual exhibition allowed CIA students in Professor John Garton's class to become curators of an exhibition exploring the themes of dream, fantasy, escape, and reverie in the Cleveland Museum of Art's European paintings and sculpture collection.
Student curators selected 16 artworks from the collection, researched the artists, works, genres, epochs, sociopolitical climates, and then produced a body of texts. The students were fortunate to learn firsthand various curatorial practices from such museum professionals as Kenneth Bé, paintings conservator, Cleveland Museum of Art; Mitchell Kahan, director, Akron Art Museum; Heather Lemonedes, assistant curator of Prints & Drawings, Cleveland Museum of Art; and Jane Takac Panza, exhibitions editor, Cleveland Museum of Art. After the texts were produced, the students worked collaboratively to invent conceptual ideas for the framework of the exhibition. In keeping with the collaborative process, CMA's Leonard Steinbach, chief information officer, and Holly R. Witchey, manager of new media initiatives, worked with CIA graduates to produce the final web version of the exhibition From Real to Surreal: Escape and Reverie in the Collection of the Cleveland Museum of Art.