Friday August 9, 2019
Tags for: The Cleveland Museum of Art Ends Fiscal Year with Record Attendance
  • Press Release

The Cleveland Museum of Art Ends Fiscal Year with Record Attendance

exterior of the CMA building

Efforts to expand presence, impact and community support yield historic results

Cleveland, OH (August 9, 2019) – Fueled by landmark exhibitions and new levels of community engagement, the Cleveland Museum of Art (CMA) ended its 2019 fiscal year in historic fashion. A total of 864,754 people visited the museum, the highest number ever. The museum also increased the number of schoolchildren who visit by 25% since launching its strategic plan in 2017, hosting over 37,000 students from across the region in the last fiscal year. In addition, more than 142,000 people participated in off-site programming, further expanding the museum’s impact throughout the community. Altogether, the CMA served more than 1 million people from July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2019.

“I am thrilled and proud of our performance and the incredible impact that the CMA, its staff, donors and members have had on our community and around the world,” said Director William M. Griswold. “We are committed to continually strengthening and expanding our presence and to bringing transformative art experiences to an ever larger audience.”

The significant levels of attendance in FY 2019 were particularly notable for the breadth of the audience the museum served and the frequency of visits. 60% of museum attendees visited at least twice during the fiscal year and approximately one-third of visitors traveled from outside the Greater Cleveland area. 

The museum’s historic attendance was driven in part by the year’s featured exhibitions, which covered a wide range of topics and appealed to many audiences, mirroring the CMA’s encyclopedic collection. They included the landmark Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors exhibition, which attracted more than 120,000 visitors from all 50 states and 23 countries in Europe, Asia, South America, along with Australia. The museum presented Renaissance Splendor: Catherine de’ Medici’s Valois Tapestries, featuring a unique set of 16th-century tapestries on view in North America for the first time, as well as Georgia O’Keeffe: Living Modern, which explored the iconic artist’s life and work through her paintings, articles of her clothing and photographs. Shinto: Discovery of the Divine in Japanese Art was a major international loan exhibition of great importance, presenting artworks associated with Shinto, Japan’s unique belief system focused on the veneration of divine phenomena called kami, while Gordon Parks: The New Tide, Early Work 1940–1950 explored the pioneering work of a highly important African American photographer whose work provided a meaningful and coherent understanding of critical social and cultural issues.

The 2019 fiscal year also saw the acquisition of numerous significant works of art and the comprehensive reinstallation of the museum’s Northern European Galleries, as well as the first iteration of FRONT International: Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art, for which the CMA was a major venue. Events such a MIX, held on the first Friday of every month, attracted large and diverse audiences, introducing the museum to a new generation of visitors.


In FY 2019, the CMA received more than $29 million in community support from more than 30,000 members and friends, including $11.6 million for the CMA Annual Campaign and more than $17.4 million in gifts for capital and strategic projects, as well as endowments for curatorial positions and departments.

“We are gratified by the outpouring of community support for our mission and plans” said Director Griswold. “Investment in the museum and its programming will make it possible for us to move forward confidently toward our strategic goals, shaping and enhancing the CMA experience for years to come.”


The CMA continued to increase its reach and open its doors, both physically and metaphorically, to an ever larger number of people across multiple platforms. The museum announced its use of Open Access by placing 30,000 high-resolution images of art from its collection in the public domain, allowing anyone to view, share and remix them for scholarly or commercial purposes.

The CMA released its first Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Plan, which offered a comprehensive and concrete roadmap to ensure that in the years ahead, the institution will more fully reflect the demographics of the region it serves and is better positioned to connect with larger, more diverse local, national and international audiences. The plan builds on existing relationships with the Ford and Walton Family Foundations’ Diversifying Art Museum Leadership Initiative (DAMLI), as it does with programs at the museum underwritten by the Cleveland Foundation.

The museum also created a new Landscape Master Plan focusing on three objectives: accessibility upgrades, which will expand free public access to art and landscape through new pathway connections, wayfinding materials, and ADA upgrades; landscape rehabilitation to revitalize the 90-year-old space with new lighting, irrigation, emergency access and more; and designs to repurpose and redevelop the museum’s surrounding grounds toward a more audience-centered approach and experience.

Contact the Museum's Media Relations Team:
(216) 707-2261