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Arts and Entertainment

Cleveland art museum uses part of $10 million to endow outreach
Acting director says the museum needs to be a community hub, not a treasure chest

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M.L. Schultze
The museum has come through a major expansion. Admission to its regular galleries remains free.
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In The Region:

The Cleveland Museum of Art is using a large share of a $10 million anonymous gift to try to broaden and deepen the audience for art. WKSU’s M.L. Schultze has more on the attempt by one of Cleveland’s oldest institutions to diversify.

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The museum’s interim director, Fred Bidwell, says the money has gone into a special endowment specifically designated for community engagement, outreach and education.   

He says the effort recognizes reality.

“Museums really owe it to the public to demonstrate why art is relevant. Why should you care about a medieval altar piece.” 

Bidwell says the answer is a story – unfolding over thousands of years – of  understanding, creativity and innovation. 

“We owe it to the public to tell that story and to read out into the community and to let people know they’re welcome here. This is not an elite treasure chest. This is a community hub.” 

Bidwell says that means more than getting people into the museum doors. The gift  money also has been used as a conversation-starter about public art in three core neighborhoods of Cleveland: Hough, Glenville and Collinwood. 

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