Cleveland Institute of Art

Coordinates: 41°30′37.7″N 81°36′8.91″W / 41.510472°N 81.6024750°W / 41.510472; -81.6024750
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Cleveland Institute of Art
PresidentKathryn J. Heidemann
Academic staff
50 Full-time faculty, 60 adjunct faculty (2021-22)
Undergraduates580 (figures from Fall 2021)
Frederick Gottwald taught at the Western Reserve School of Design for Women, and it has been said that he "contributed more than any other person to Cleveland's artistic development".[1]
Cleveland Institute of Art, c. 1900.

The Cleveland Institute of Art, previously Cleveland School of Art, is a private college focused on art and design and located in Cleveland, Ohio.[2]


The college was founded in 1882 as the Western Reserve School of Design for Women, at first attended by one teacher and one pupil in the sitting room of its founder, Sarah Kimball.

The school moved several times, first to the attic of the Old Cleveland City Hall, then to the Old Kelly homestead on Wilson Avenue (now East 55th Street).[3]

Having become a co-educational school, it was renamed the Cleveland School of Art in 1892. After unsuccessful attempts to merge the school with Western Reserve University, the school became independent. In the fall of 1905, the first classes were held in a newly constructed building at the corner of Magnolia Drive and Juniper Road in Cleveland's University Circle. Beginning in 1917, the school offered classes for children and adults on weekends and in the summer.[4]

The school participated in the WPA Federal Art Project during the Great Depression (1930s). Medical drawing and mapmaking were added to the curriculum during World War II (1939-1945).[4]

The school began offering a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1947[citation needed] and it officially became the Cleveland Institute of Art in 1949.[5] The college gradually incorporated more academic courses into the curriculum, while retaining its key objective to offer practical training.[4]

In 1956 the school moved to a new building at 11141 East Boulevard that it would name for George Gund II, who served as the college's board president and generous patron from 1942 to 1966. In 1981, the college acquired the former Albert Kahn-designed[6] Euclid Avenue assembly plant which was built by Ford in 1914-1915 and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1976. Cleveland Institute of Art named the building the Joseph McCullough Center For Visual Arts following remodeling.[4]

In early 2013, CIA announced it would sell its East Boulevard building to the Cleveland Museum of Art and Case Western Reserve University.[7] In 2015, the college unified its operations at the Euclid Avenue site, where it completed construction of an 80,000-square-foot building adjoined to the McCullough Center on the west, and also named for George Gund II.

This new George Gund Building has been designed to look crisp and contemporary without detracting from the historic McCullough building next door. It houses:

  • the Peter B. Lewis Theater, the new home of CIA's year-round, nationally acclaimed Cinematheque film program
  • the Reinberger Gallery for public exhibitions;
  • CIA's programs in Animation, Ceramics, Drawing, Game Design, Glass, Graphic Design, Illustration, Industrial Design, Interior Architecture, Jewelry + Metals, Life Sciences Illustration, Painting, Photography + Video, Printmaking, and Sculpture + Expanded Media
  • the American Greetings Welcome Center
  • the Admissions and Financial Aid offices
  • administrative operations

This campus unification fully connects CIA to the new Uptown development of retail, restaurants, and residential construction anchored by CIA to the east and the new home of the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland to the west. Uptown Phase II, at the corner of Euclid Avenue and Ford Drive, includes CIA's new freshman residence hall that opened in August 2014.[8]


The institute offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts in many majors as well as study abroad programs, mobility programs, and internships. Services for students include Career Services and Center for Writing and Learning Support.[2]

Other academic programs include:[2]

  • Continuing Education
  • Pre-College Programs
  • Summer Workshops
  • Young Artist Programs


The school is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA) and the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD).[2]


In 2020, Cleveland Institute of Art was named a Best Midwestern College by the Princeton Review. In 2015, CIA was the only college of art and design to achieve this designation. Princeton Review is an education services company widely known for its test preparation programs and college and graduate school guides.

In 2018–19, Money magazine named Cleveland Institute of Art to its "Best Colleges for your Money" ranking.[9]


  • Cleveland Cinematheque, a nationally recognized alternative film theater, is part of Cleveland Institute of Art.
  • The recently completed (2015) George Gund Building adjoins the historic Joseph McCullough Center for the Visual Arts at 11610 Euclid Avenue.
  • Reinberger Gallery presents free rotating art exhibits, events and lectures. Visiting artists often present lectures and symposia. The gallery is closed on Sundays.
  • CIA's Uptown Residence Hall houses some 130 first-year students in the Uptown Development on Euclid Avenue.

Notable professors and students[edit]

Brian Michael Bendis (CIA class of 1991), Marvel Comics and DC Comics comic book writer and artist, known for Ultimate Spider-Man and the Ultimate Marvel Universe.


  1. ^ Barrick, James G. Jr. "Student of Frederick Carl Gottwald". Archived from the original on 2011-07-11. Retrieved 2008-12-10.
  2. ^ a b c d "Cleveland Institute of Art" (PDF). Association of Independent Colleges of Art & Design (AICAD). Archived from the original (PDF) on 11 November 2013. Retrieved 2 January 2014.
  3. ^ "History". Cleveland Institute of Art. Retrieved 2019-11-25.
  4. ^ a b c d "Cleveland Institute of Art". Cleveland Historical, CSU Center for Public History + Digital Humanities. Retrieved 1 January 2014.
  5. ^ "History". Retrieved 2023-10-29.
  6. ^ "Ford Cleveland Branch Assembly Plant Background and Description". Ford Motor History. Retrieved 10 October 2017.
  7. ^ "Cleveland Institute of Art will sell its East Boulevard site to Cleveland Museum of Art, CWRU". 14 January 2013. Retrieved 10 October 2017.
  8. ^ Jarboe, Michelle (19 December 2012). "Uptown project in University Circle could see work start on $21 million second phase in January". The Plain Dealer. Retrieved 10 October 2017 – via
  9. ^ "CIA ranked best in Midwest among elite colleges of art and design - Cleveland Institute of Art". Retrieved 10 October 2017.

External links[edit]

41°30′37.7″N 81°36′8.91″W / 41.510472°N 81.6024750°W / 41.510472; -81.6024750