moCa Cleveland is an OPEN HOUSE! First Free Day!

Blog Date
Stuart O. Smith, Jr.

moCa Cleveland is an OPEN HOUSE! FREE & Open to All!
Enlarge Image

On March 3, 2019, I heard the exciting news:

OPEN HOUSE Includes Free Admission for All, Beginning March 16

On the occasion of its 50th Anniversary, the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland (moCa) is launching OPEN HOUSE, a set of initiatives that embodies the values of diversity, inclusion, and accessibility—core elements to the Museum’s philosophy and practice—and makes the Museum more welcoming and collaborative for all audiences. . . .

OPEN HOUSE initiatives include free admission for all, the creation of a diversity curatorial fellowship, an engagement guide apprenticeship program, enhanced onsite programming for families and teens, and the addition of an education specialist.

  • The Carl & Marilynn Thoma Art Foundation . . . will support a moCa-wide shift to a frontline engagement team trained to support visitor experiences throughout the museum and a new Education Fellowship position dedicated to on-site engagement strategies.

  • . . . A multi-year gift from the Cleveland Foundation allows moCa Cleveland to offer innovative, inclusive experiences that are accessible to everyone in our community.
  • Beginning on March 16, 2019, moCa Cleveland will offer free admission for all. moCa is able to make a lasting commitment to lower this economic barrier to entry through generous gifts from The Kelvin & Eleanor Smith Foundation, The Connor Foundation, and The Char and Chuck Fowler Family Foundation. . . .

  • A gift from the George Gund Foundation will support the creation of a diversity-focused Curatorial Fellowship that enables moCa to broaden its curatorial team to mirror the diversity of the Cleveland community. . . .

  • A gift from PNC will enhance Saturday programming geared toward intergenerational families that creates connections, supports learning, and sustains engagement. Family Fun on Saturdays provided by PNC will include guided tours, hands-on workshops, and pop up activities for audiences of all ages on what is historically the museum’s highest-attended day.

“Removing the economic barrier to visitation is just one phase of our OPEN HOUSE initiative. Inclusion is a central focus, and to effectively serve all audiences we will integrate welcoming, collaborative practices into every aspect of our business. Comprehensive in scope, our OPEN HOUSE initiatives assert the museum as a safe gathering place, a public forum, and a contemplative haven to process our multi-cultural world,” explains Jill Snyder, moCa’s Kohl Executive Director. . . .

I immediately made plans to attend the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland - moCa Cleveland (@moCaCleveland) Open House on March 16th!

It is great that we now have another art museum in Cleveland that opens its doors for all to enjoy without charging an admission fee!

Read about the ways that moCa Cleveland is reaching out to more people in our Cleveland community in the full press release, OPEN HOUSE Includes Free Admission for All, Beginning March 16, and watch for more details by following @moCaCleveland on Twitter.

Here are my @sos_jr tweets and retweets that shared details about the big announcement and related moCa Cleveland events.


My Visit on moCa's First Free Day

I go to moCa Cleveland often on their first free Saturday of the month and for other events, but when I attended on Saturday, March 16, 2019, it was different. The celebration that day was for the new exhibitions that had just opened, as well recognizing moCa Cleveland's groundbreaking acomplishment of opening its doors at no charge, and putting in place their plans to reach a more diverse public.

In this blog post, I am using my @sos_jr tweets and retweets to share both my photos and my experience, and those of others, at moCa Cleveland on this first free day!


Curated by Megan Lykins Reich
March 15, 2019 — August 11, 2019

The Museum of Contemporary Art (moCa) Cleveland was founded in 1968 by three intrepid women—Marjorie Talalay, Nina Sundell, and Agnes Gund—and was originally called The New Gallery, which was then Cleveland’s first art gallery dedicated to global contemporary art. Over the last 50 years moCa has built upon the significant legacy left by the founders to become a leading force in Northeast Ohio’s cultural scene, recognized nationally and internationally for its presentation of contemporary art, and championing vanguard artists whose work represents the progressive ideas of our time.

This presentation, Sunrise is the heart of the Museum’s 50th anniversary programming. Sunrise is a legacy exhibition designed to honor moCa’s founders in a highly personal way. For the exhibition, their daughters—Catherine Gund, Margaret Sundell, and Kathy, Nina, and Lauren Talalay—have selected contemporary artworks that represent their mothers both personally and professionally, while speaking also to their vision, passion, and life-long interests.

I really liked how the first exhibiton I toured featured a tribute to the moCa Cleveland founders. I also liked that just before you entered the room, the museum listed all of the artists whose work has been presented at moCa Cleveland since December 7, 1968.


Lee Mingwei: You Are Not a Stranger
Jill Snyder, Executive Director Mueller Family Gallery
March 15, 2019 — August 11, 2019

As the centerpiece of moCa’s 50th anniversary celebration suite of exhibitions, we present a group of seminal works by famed Taiwanese artist Lee Mingwei. You Are Not a Stranger ... offers a series of unique and powerful interactive experiences with art.  ... Each is designed to enchant and inspire audiences, and cultivate giving, reciprocity, and connection among strangers.

The Moving Garden (2009) ... Visitors are invited to take a flower, which they must give to a stranger upon leaving the Museum.

The Mending Project (2009), the third interactive and participatory installation in this presentation aims to create meaningful, tangible connections between strangers.  ... The Mending Project encourages strangers to share in the gift of conversation.

It was fitting that the interactive exhibition Lee Mingwei: You Are Not a Stranger was a big part of the day, since it strongly supported moCa Cleveland's theme of being more open and engaging. The activities encouraged interaction between visitors. I was given a flower by a young child (with the encouragement of his mother), with whom I then had a conversation, and learned his favorite color was the same as mine.

I really liked that moCa Cleveland set aside space to explain the meaning behind their new logo, and invited visitors to add to the display what the big "C" meant to them.




Julia Christensen's (@juliacjuliac) Artists on Art talk added great value to the Aleksandra Domanović: Untitled (In My Feelings) exhibition by explaining what parts of the figures represented, and some of the more subtle symbolism in the film. I highly recommend you talk to a member of the museum while visiting to learn the meanings behind this exhibition. (Julia Christensen is an Associate Professor of Integrated Media in the Studio Art Department at Oberlin College.)


After moCa Visit

Learn more about OPEN HOUSE and moCa Cleveland in these tweets which I shared after my visit:


moCa Cleveland Joins Other NEO Free Art Museums & Galleries

It is great that the Board of Directors and staff leadership of moCa Cleveland (@moCaCleveland) have accomplished their goal of making the museum free and more accessible to the public. I wanted to include here the other Cleveland and Akron area museums and galleries I have visited that offer free admission. They include:

I also want to list the following:


To read my past blog posts about these art venues, please click here, and to read my blog posts about moCa Cleveland, please click here.


Looking to the Future

While I was exploring the Lee Mingwei: You Are Not a Stranger exhibition, I met moCa Cleveland Development Manager Monica Butscha (@MonicaButscha). She explained to me how the increased interaction represented by this exhibition, and the free admission, were a direct result of the museum's long-term strategic goal of increasing the engagement of the wider public. I look forward to attending moCa Cleveland more in the future due to the open admission. It will be interesting to watch how the museum's OPEN HOUSE initiatives will increase audiences from our Northeast Ohio community.