Social Distancing: Cleveland Museum of Art Reopening - #WelcomeBackCMA

Blog Date
Julie Smith
Stuart O. Smith, Jr.

Cleveland Museum of Art Reopening - #WelcomeBackCMA
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O - p - e - n - i - n - g - !

Yes, Ohio is slowly opening in the year of the coronavirus crisis, but can only do so with social distancing and other safety measures. As we approached the end of June, we heard that the Cleveland Museum of Art was reopening following "rigorous safety procedures that adhere to the guidance set forth by state and local officials, as well as the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)."

We decided to make this our first adventure out to a public space by getting tickets, but the day before we were going to order our online tickets, we received an invitation from Communications and Media Relations Manager Kelley Notaro Schreiber (@KelleyNotaro) to the Cleveland Museum of Art's Reopening Media and Influencer Welcome Back! We accepted her invitation and decided to be one of the first to go to the public reopening of the Cleveland Museum of Art on Tuesday, June 30, 2020.

Here are the tweets we shared as @sos_jr, leading up to the day of the reopening of the Cleveland Museum of Art:



Tuesday Morning, June 30, 2020 - Reopening Day Excitement!



Great to be Back at the Cleveland Museum of Art!

News Release
The Cleveland Museum of Art Will Reopen June 30

“I am beyond thrilled to be able to welcome our community back to the Cleveland Museum of Art,” said William M. Griswold, director of the CMA. “Our staff have been fastidious in planning, and we feel confident we will provide a safe, comfortable and welcoming environment for all on-site visitors. For those who wish to remain at home and visit the museum virtually, I am pleased to say that we will continue to develop and share with our members and others the high-level, digital-engagement offerings for which the Cleveland Museum of Art is known worldwide.”

On View Beginning June 30

As you can see by the excerpt above of the reopening news release by Kelley Notaro Schreiber (read the full news release online or download PDF file), there is much happening both onsite in the museum galleries and online at the Cleveland Museum of Art. Read our blog post to learn how the online resources were greatly extended last year as everyone was given full open access to the Cleveland Museum of Arts digital collection:

While the online resources are extensive, we do have to say that the absolute best way to truly enjoy the museum's art is in person, visiting its galleries! Thus, we were very excited to attend the Cleveland Museum of Art's #WelcomeBackCMA reopening!

As we entered the Cleveland Museum of Art, we were greeted by the Director Of Communications and External Relations Caroline Guscott Shaw (@CarolineHerself). She told us about some interesting updates since we last visited the museum:

She also let us know that some of the special exhibits we saw in February have been extended to give people more time to view them. One of the exhibitions that has been extended that we high recommend viewing is "Proof" -- learn more in our blog post:

Caroline Guscott Shaw also told us that the date for the Picasso and Paper spring 2020 exhibition that had to be rescheduled has been confirmed for September 22 to December 13, 2020 -- read the June 18, 2020, news release for details: The Cleveland Museum of Art Announces New Dates for Picasso and Paper

AUGUST 1, 2020, BLOG POST UPDATE: Please read these two announcements concerning Picasso and Paper:


We also learned from Kelley Notaro Schreiber and Caroline Guscott Shaw that the artwork that was donated by Joseph P. and Nancy F. Keithley will be displayed in a special exhibition in 2022. Learn more about this large donation of artwork by Joseph P. and Nancy F. Keithley in three articles by Steven Litt to which there are links in the tweets that follow:



Safety is the Top Priority. The Cleveland Museum of Art has Instituted Infection-Control Procedures

Welcome Back to Cleveland Museum of Art -- Safely!
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What to Expect

The Cleveland Museum of Art's (CMA) top priority is the safety of its visitors, volunteers, and staff. Adhering to all policies set forth by Governor Mike DeWine's office, local officials, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the CMA will reopen in its first phase on Tuesday, June 30, at 10:00 a.m.

Before attending the reopening, we knew what to expect regarding visitor safety procedures, since we looked at the Cleveland Museum of Art's web page, and watched the following Fox 8 News Cleveland video that shows the check-in process:



Even the restrooms are set up for social distancing by having every other sink and stall closed.


We made a point to thank the Cleveland Museum of Art's maintenance staff that we saw cleaning during the day. It was very apparent that there was extra effort to regularly clean surfaces like railings that were high-touch areas. While the museum is making an extra effort to clean, we want to stress that we believe that it is each individual's responsibility to follow safe practices, such as:

  • Bring your own hand sanitizer, and use it.

  • Practice social distancing

  • Wear your mask so it covers both mouth and nose.

We told cleaning staff that we really appreciated their work making it possible for the museum be open again. We were glad to be back!!



The Galleries



ArtLens App

Turn your smartphone into a pocket guide to the CMA with the ArtLens App. Use it as a companion within the museum, or as a way to explore and create from home. The app is a resource before, during, and after a visit to the museum, or for anywhere you are. Download before arriving, plan your visit, and create or browse tours. While visiting, use the interactive map as a guide to navigate the museum, and keep track of your favorite artworks. After your visit, explore even more of the CMA, including the Open Access collection.

Be sure to download the ArtLens App, or update your current installation, before heading to the Cleveland Museum of Art. We make a lot of use of the app to learn more about artwork we enjoy.

We have nine past blog posts about our use of the ArtLens App and touring the ArtLens Gallery, which you can read if you want to learn how we use the app and gallery. Note that the Artlens Gallery is currently one of the closed galleries for safety reasons. If you have never been to the Artlens Gallery, we recommend that once the coronavirus crisis is over, you try out this interactive gallery.



ArtLens for Slack

ArtLens for Slack from Cleveland Museum of Art on Vimeo.


ArtLens for Slack is the first rapid-response art exhibition app designed for remote workplaces. It generates artworks from the CMA’s collection based on a prompt, bringing works that span centuries to present-day conversations. Thinking about personal protective equipment? Check out an amazing chain mail shirt from the museum’s European arms and armor collection! Considering clocking into happy hour early? Grab a gilded goblet and pour yourself a glass! Has working from home relaxed your dress code? Find a figure drawing that reflects your current state of dress!

The day we attended the Cleveland Museum of Art's reopening, Stuart saw George Mount's June 30th tweet about the ArtLens Slack App and grabbed it for this blog post. Subsequently, while working on the ArtLens section of this blog post, we discovered Steven Litt's article about the new ArtLens Slack App via his May 15th tweet.

If you use Slack, you should check it out! Learn more at:

If you have never used Slack, know that it is an online collaboration tool which you can learn more about at:



Emanuel Wallace | Writer & Photographer

Part of the tradition of any event at the Cleveland Museum of Art, and other art and music venues in Cleveland, is to watch for Emanuel Wallace's photography on the Cleveland Scene Magazine website. We highly recommend following @MannyWallace on Twitter for the latest happenings in Cleveland.

Unfortunately, Emanuel Wallace could not attend the first day of the reopening, but you can see by the following tweets that his talent for capturing in photography what is happening at the Cleveland Museum of Art was missed. Watch for his work about upcoming Cleveland Museum of Art events on Cleveland Scene Magazine.



The Galleries



Toni Chanakas

We were able to talk to Toni Chanakas during the day, and later learned that a photo of her at the reopening was on the front page of the Cleveland Plain Dealer newspaper.






The Galleries



The Galleries



PROOF: Photography in the Era of the Contact Sheet - Open Through August 2 November 29, 2020!

As photography proliferated in galleries and museums in the 1970s, photographers occasionally printed all the images from one roll of film together and presented the result as a finished work of art. Typically, however, the contact sheet remained within the working process, out of public view. That is why it is remarkable that the late Cleveland collector Mark Schwartz was able to build a comprehensive collection of contact sheets. The collection opens a fascinating window on the aims and methods of a broad range of photographers at work during the second half of the 20th century. PROOF features approximately 180 works from the collection, notably by Diane Arbus, Richard Avedon, Harry Benson, Harry Callahan, Robert Frank, Philippe Halsman, Irving Penn, and Albert Watson, as well as by Schwartz’s friends Arnold Newman, Larry Fink, and Emmet Gowin.

AUGUST 1, 2020, BLOG POST UPDATE: Thursday, July 30, 2020, announcement: The Cleveland Museum of Art Extends PROOF: Photography in the Era of the Contact Sheet  -- Free special exhibition now on view through November 29

Read our blog post to see our photos from attending the opening and, since we enjoyed it so much, returning a week later:



Post-Visit Tweets



Socially Distant While Enjoying CMA by Black Girl in CLE

I had not realized how much I miss hanging out on Wade Oval until recently. While researching for a story I realized I wanted to do a deeper dive and my first thought was to head over to the Cleveland History Center. “Oh, I forgot, . . .

. . . June 20th my calendar alert went off reminding me that it was Summer Solstice.  . . . it was the reminder that I was supposed to be heading out to the art museum for their annual party. 

Ouch. That one hurt. In dealing with my feelings somehow my mind tried to compromise. Yes, Solstice was canceled, so I just make sure to clear my schedule on the first Friday if July and go to this month’s…no Mix event either.  It was in that moment I realized the art museum, a staple in my life was truly closed.

Fast forward to a few days ago, when I received an email and an invitation to the reopen event taking place this past Tuesday.  . . .

The age of social distancing
I hadn’t realized it until I walked in the atrium, but the Cleveland Museum of Art is the perfect place to be inside and yet away from others.

"Thinking about heading to the museum?" -- read Black Girl in CLE's blog post, Socially Distant While Enjoying CMA, to gain her insights from her visit on reopening day.

We highly recommend following @BlackGirlInCLE on Twitter to learn about all her current blog posts. We often hear about interesting events through her tweets! Click here to do a search of our blog posts, and you will see that @BlackGirlInCLE is mentioned in many of our blog posts.



Cleveland Museum of Art's #WelcomeBackCMA Reopening Photos

Thoughts on Reopening the Museum #WelcomeBackCMA
Cleveland Museum of Art
Jul 2 · 4 min read

After being closed for more than three months beginning March 14 to meet COVID-19 public health guidelines, the Cleveland Museum of Art reopened June 30, 2020. The museum is limiting daily visitation initially, and on the first day of a new era, 500 people from across the Cleveland area came to enjoy a safe and inspiring public space.

They reserved free, timed tickets and arrived in a colorful variety of masks so that they could be among the first visitors to see collection favorites, 20 works from the recent Keithley collection gift now on display, and the completely reimagined British galleries. Also, all special exhibitions that were on view when the CMA locked its doors reopened with extended end dates, to ensure additional time for people to see these once-in-a-lifetime installations.

What follows is a photo essay and some observations chronicling a historic day for the CMA.

All images courtesy Scott Shaw Photography for the Cleveland Museum of Art.

See Scott Shaw's (@ScottShawPhoto) photo essay from the reopening day, and interesting quotes from Cleveland Museum of Art staff.



Picasso and Paper - Opening September 22, 2020

AUGUST 1, 2020, BLOG POST UPDATE: Please read these two announcements concerning Picasso and Paper:

The Cleveland Museum of Art Announces New Dates for Picasso and Paper

Exhibition featuring nearly 300 works that offer new insight into the artist’s diverse use of paper will be on view September 22 through December 13, 2020.

Cleveland is the ONLY North American venue

Pablo Picasso’s prolonged engagement with paper is the subject of the groundbreaking exhibition Picasso and Paper, organized by the Cleveland Museum of Art (CMA) and the Royal Academy of Arts, London, in collaboration with the Musée national Picasso-Paris. Featuring masterworks in a variety of media, including drawings, prints, photographs, sketchbooks, collages, cut-outs, paper sculpture, and book illustrations, as well as works in oil on canvas and cast bronze, Picasso and Paper will be on view at the CMA from September 22 to December 13, 2020, in the Kelvin and Eleanor Smith Foundation Exhibition Hall and Gallery.

“We are excited to welcome our visitors back to the Cleveland Museum of Art for the highly anticipated, blockbuster exhibition Picasso and Paper,” said William Griswold, director of the CMA. “The centerpiece of our fall arts season, Picasso and Paper presents a rare opportunity for visitors to experience the artist’s creative process and artistic achievement with paper as a medium. The CMA is the only North American venue for this remarkable exhibition.”

Before the coronavirus crisis hit, we were looking forward to attending the special Picasso exhibition that we had heard was coming to the Cleveland Museum of Art in spring 2020. It will now take place September 22 through December 13, 2020 -- we are looking forward to touring this exhibition!

Here is a video about the Picasso and Paper "Exhibition organised by the Royal Academy of Arts, London and the Cleveland Museum of Art in partnership with the Musée national Picasso-Paris."




Related Blog Posts

We had a great time attending the Cleveland Museum of Art's #WelcomeBackCMA reopening as our first public event since the coronavirus crisis began in mid-March 2020. If you are interested in related blog posts from times when life was more normal, please take a look at our past blog posts about fun we have had at:

Until the reopening of the Cleveland Museum of Art, most of the venues that we write about in our have been currently closed. Our "Social Distancing Series" blog posts capture some of our current activities. Once the coronavirus crisis is over, it will be interesting to read these to see the contrast between these times and "normal life."

We expect to continue to practice social distancing for at least the rest of 2020, so please come back to read more and...

Stay well!


Submitted by Stuart Smith on Sat, 08/01/2020 - 17:29


Unfortunately, the Cleveland Musum of Art announced that the Picasso and Paper exhibtion is postponed.

Please see the details in these two media announcements:

Please share this announcement with others by retweeting the following tweets:

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