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Cleveland Institute of Art (CIA)

Updated on June 10, 2010
Cleveland Institute of Art (CIA)
Cleveland Institute of Art (CIA)

Originally founded as the Western Reserve School of Design for Women, The Cleveland Institute of Art has been an established arts institution at the heart of University Circle for the past 125 years.

This private college of art and design had also undergone a half-century sojourn as the Cleveland School of Art from the 1890s until just after World War II. In its early history, the school centered its efforts on the teaching of practical art skills and craftsmanship, rather than purely academic, theoretical or ‘fine’ arts. Offering coursework in sculpture, painting and drawing — but also medical illustration and mapmaking — its aim was initially to produce arts workers and designers of practical experience and worth.

The school’s focus shifted with its 1948 name change to an Institute. A greater number of lecture courses expanded its curriculum, a Fine Arts degree was newly made available, and a more rigorous theoretical thread ran through the Institute’s teaching. Today, with its total of sixteen studio concentrations, the Institute is widely respected as a producer of hallmark art talent. CIA graduates of note include Victor Schreckengost, Robert Mangold, and Marshall Fredericks, sculptor of “The Fountain of Eternal Life” monument to war dead on Cleveland’s Mall A. Other CIA alumni have gone on to distinguished careers as designers at Ford, Chrysler, and Fisher Price.

In addition to offices, classroom spaces, and student work areas, the Cleveland Institute of Art also houses the Reinberger Galleries, which offer a variety of changing lectures, exhibits and events, many of which have free admission to the public. A number of visiting artist presentations are offered each year, and the CIA is a primary sponsor of the annual Scholastic Art competitions. A student coffee house and gallery are also available.

Though the CIA’s student enrollment totals only about 500, the Institute is often ranked among the top ten best art and design schools in the nation.


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