Friday June 16, 2023
Tags for: The Cleveland Museum of Art Extends Agreement with Director William Griswold through January 2027
  • Press Release

The Cleveland Museum of Art Extends Agreement with Director William Griswold through January 2027

exterior of the CMA building

Trustees cite historic accomplishments and innovation as the museum builds momentum for future

Cleveland (June 16, 2023)—The Board of Trustees of the Cleveland Museum of Art is pleased to announce an extension of William M. Griswold’s agreement to serve as the museum’s director through January 31, 2027. The extension is an endorsement of Griswold’s leadership and ensures that he will continue to lead the CMA in expanding and diversifying its collection, providing welcoming and innovative experiences for its visitors, engaging new audiences, and growing partnerships and support for the museum.

Griswold joined the CMA as its ninth director in May 2014. In 2017, the CMA Board of Trustees extended his term through 2024. With this new extension, Griswold will be the longest-serving director of the CMA since Sherman Lee, who led the museum from 1958 to 1983.

“Bill is a driving force both in thoughtfully expanding the CMA’s world-renowned collection and in making it accessible to all audiences,” said Ellen Stirn Mavec, chair of the board of trustees. “His scholarly acumen, coupled with his vision for advancing the museum’s strategic priorities and fervent stewardship of resources, is resulting in historic accomplishments, and we are all eager to see his continued success in delivering on the CMA’s promise to create transformative experiences through art.”

During his tenure, Griswold has overseen the adoption and implementation of a strategic plan, Making Art Matter, in 2017, and a new iteration of the plan, titled For the Benefit of All the People, in 2022. The CMA’s 2018 Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Plan was the first such plan published by a major art museum in the United States and has served as the model for other institutions. Other historical accomplishments under Griswold’s leadership include securing the most significant gift of art to the CMA in more than 60 years (the Keithley collection) and achieving record-setting attendance in 2018. In 2021, the museum opened the new Community Arts Center, its first, on Cleveland’s west side.

Numerous major works of art have entered the museum’s collection since his arrival. While these comprise outstanding works of European and American art, he also has overseen the acquisition of a very large number of works by Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and female artists. He has also shepherded groundbreaking exhibitions at the CMA, including Painting the Modern Garden: Monet to Matisse (2015), Pharoah: King of Ancient Egypt (2016), The Ecstasy of St. Kara (on Kara Walker, 2016), The Jazz Age: American Style in the 1920s (2017), Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors (2018), Renaissance Splendor: Catherine de’ Medici’s Valois Tapestries (2018), Michelangelo: Mind of the Master (2019), Stories from Storage (2021), Picturing Motherhood Now (2021), Revealing Krishna: Journey to Cambodia's Sacred Mountain (2021), Alberto Giacometti: Toward the Ultimate Figure (2022), and Impressionism to Modernism: The Keithley Collection (2022).

Griswold has been a national leader among museum directors in the area of cultural property, successfully negotiating the transfer from the CMA to Cambodia of an ancient Khmer statue of monkey-god Hanuman, in 2015, and from the CMA to Italy of a marble bust of Drusus Minor, in 2017. 

“I am thrilled to have been asked to remain for another few years, as we rebound from the pandemic and vigorously pursue the goals of our new strategic plan,” Griswold said. “It is an honor to lead such a wonderful institution and dedicated staff. I am both proud and grateful for the opportunity to continue to build on the legacy of the directors who preceded me, and to partner with our community as we seek to realize the museum’s mission, ‘for the benefit of all the people forever.’”

Griswold serves on the boards of the American Friends of the Shanghai Museum, Destination Cleveland, and University Circle Inc. In addition, he is chair of the cultural property task force of the Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD). He was formerly president of Master Drawings Association, which publishes the scholarly journal Master Drawings. 

Prior to joining the Cleveland Museum of Art, Griswold served for seven years as director of the Morgan Library & Museum in New York City. He also previously served as director and president of the Minneapolis Institute of Art (from 2005 to 2007), acting director and chief curator of the J. Paul Getty Museum (2004 to 2005), and associate director for collections at the Getty, beginning in 2001. He coauthored Eighteenth-Century Italian Drawings in the Metropolitan Museum of Art with Jacob Bean and has written extensively on Florentine drawings of the early Renaissance. In 2008, he was awarded the insignia of Chevalier of the French Order of Arts and Letters, and in 2015, he received from Cambodia the Royal Order of Grand-Officer of Sahametrei. In 2018, Griswold was honored as the first recipient of the new Barbara S. Robinson Prize for the Advancement of the Arts by the Cleveland Arts Prize.

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