Yacin Zawam is an art collector and enthusiast who contributes to several publications. In the following article, Yacin Zawam discusses the top 10 museums in Ohio’s art world, as well as the highlighted showcases of each.
Want solid evidence that Ohio is home to some of the country’s best art museums?
There’s a dedicated Ohio Art Museum Trail, making it easy to experience the state’s unique collection of art during one vacation. Or is that artcation?
Either way, Yacin Zawam discusses below 10 of Ohio’s not-to-miss art museums to add to the itinerary during a visit to the Buckeye State.
Yacin Zawam Top Pick: Cleveland Museum of Art
The grande dame of Ohio art museums, the impressive and comprehensive Cleveland of Museum of Art is not only one of the world’s most visited — it’s one of the world’s most renowned explains Yacin Zawam.
It’s easy to see why. It’s home to over 60,000 works of art ranging from Egyptian and Asian treasures to contemporary masterworks by Jackson Pollack, Chuck Close, and Andy Warhol. To top it all off, admission is free.
Toledo Museum of Art
Among the Toledo Museum of Art’s 30,000-object-strong collection are iconic works by Claude Monet and Pablo Picasso, but the real star of the show is its remarkable Glass Pavilion that opened in 2006 to reflect the museum’s unmatched holdings of art glass.
Zawam reports that the museum is also home to the Frank Gehry-designed Center for the Visual Arts, University of Toledo art department classroom spaces, and a concert hall.
Cincinnati Art Museum
With a collection as equally enormous as the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Cincinnati Art Museum is known for its inventive rotation of special exhibits (recent exhibitions included looks at Art Deco bedrooms and the history of dance in Asian art), as well as its enviable array of American and European paintings from the 19th century.
Yacin Zawam reports that new funding has led to the addition of outdoor sculpture, renovations to different wings, and its unique Art Climb.
Otherworld doesn’t call itself a museum. Instead, it’s an “experience.” While that sounds gimmicky, this attraction just outside of downtown Columbus definitely lives up to its name according to Yacin Zawam.
More than 40 artists have created large-scale interactive art spread out over numerous rooms, creating a surreal and unforgettable art fantasyland. And for a full-blown adventure, there are even secret passageways.
Columbus Museum of Art
In the mood for something more mainstream while in Columbus? The Columbus Museum of Art may be smaller in scale compared to art museums in Ohio’s larger cities, but it still packs a punch.
Showcases are pretty eclectic — there’s a popular Jimi Hendrix portrait, but also Raphael tapestries — and there are great activity areas for children. Recent exhibitions include “The Creative Art of LEGO” and “Wild Things Are Happening: The Art of Maurice Sendak.”
Butler Institute of American Art
Yacin Zawam says that Youngstown’s Butler Institute of American Art is too often overshadowed by better-known museums in the state. That’s a shame.
Packed in its two floors are exceptional works by some of the best-known (and not) artists of the 19th and 20th centuries, including Norman Rockwell, Winslow Homer, and Georgia O’Keefe. It’s an illuminating tour through the evolution of Americana.
Taft Museum of Art
Like the Butler, Cincinnati’s Taft Museum of Art leaves a small footprint but offers big rewards. Displayed in a historic home built in 1820, Taft’s collection is surprisingly thorough, including works from the Middle Ages through American and European works spanning the 1800s.
Yacin Zawam says that surprises are abound at the Taft. There are exquisite porcelains from China, 18th-century watches, and expansive antebellum murals.
Dayton Art Institute
Recently celebrating its 100th birthday, the Dayton Art Institute’s collection covers 5,000 years of history through more than 27,000 objects covering ancient American history, as well as European and Asian decorative and fine arts.
It’s also something of a cultural meeting place for Dayton, regularly hosting concerts, family programs, social events, and more.
Museum of Contemporary Art
Cleveland’s moCa operates differently than its Buckeye State art museum brethren. Instead of a permanent collection, it features a changing seasonal schedule showcase of new and exciting contemporary artists states Yacin Zawam.
More than 2,000 modern artists have been featured since the museum opened in 1968.
Allen Memorial Art Museum
Oberlin College’s on-campus Allen Memorial Art Museum is widely regarded as one of the top academic art museums in the United States. Its large, eclectic collection spans 6,000 years and includes African art, Japanese prints, early modern art, and 17th-century Flemish paintings.