United States

10 of the Best Exhibitions in Ohio this Spring

by Paul Joseph  |  Published March 8, 2021

At the heart of Ohio’s rich cultural scene are a large number of distinguished museums and galleries, many of which play host to a diverse programme of exhibitions throughout the spring months.

An interior shot of the Cleveland Museum of Art (Photo: Tim Evanson via Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0)

Known as the Buckeye State thanks to the abundance of buckeye trees commonly found throughout the Ohio River Valley, Ohio offers a captivating blend of natural beauty and cultural attractions. If you’re coming to Ohio during the coming months, here are 10 exhibitions you might want to visit that are taking place through March to June 2021.

Hardie Gramatky: A Glimpse into Greatness

Prolific American painter, author and children’s book illustrator Hardie Gramatky gained widespread acclaim during his illustrious career, which started with a long stint working for none other than Walt Disney. This exhibition turns the spotlight on his works and the myriad artistic tools used to create them, featuring a vast assortment of original drawing boards, preliminary sketches, manuscripts, notes, and even personal letters from Walt Disney himself.

LOCATION University of Findlay’s Mazza Museum, 201 College Street, Findlay DATES Through 2023

University of Findlay's Mazza Museum

(Photo: Mazza Museum)

American Painting: The Eighties Revisited

Reconstituting the landmark exhibition American Painting: The Eighties from New York University’s Grey Art Gallery exhibition in 1979, American Painting: The Eighties Revisited captures a pivotal moment in twentieth century art. It features abstract paintings by artists, including Sam Gilliam, Nancy Graves, and Elizabeth Murray, all of whom were new to the New York art scene at the time. All 41 artists featured in the original exhibition are shown here, including 35 paintings shown at the Grey Art Gallery. This collection has been acquired by the Cincinnati Art Museum through the generosity of Ronnie and John Shore. Organised by the Cincinnati Art Museum.

LOCATION Cincinnati Art Museum, 953 Eden Park Drive, Cincinnati DATES Through 11 July 2021

(Photo: Cincinnati Art Museum)

Walk This Way: Footwear from the Stuart Weitzman Collection of Historic Shoes

Shoes have always carried an incomparable allure in the realm of fashion, and this exhibition – organised by the New-York Historical Society – celebrates how they have evolved down the years by featuring more than 100 examples dating back nearly two centuries. Gleaned from renowned American shoe designer Stuart Weitzman’s collection of historic shoes (collated by his wife), highlights include boudoir shoes created for the 1867 Paris Exposition and leather spectator pumps signed by the 1941 New York Yankees.

LOCATION Taft Museum of Art, 316 Pike Street, Cincinnati DATES Through 6 June 2021

Taft Museum of Art

(Photo: Taft Museum of Art)

Tune In

With technology increasingly reshaping the way we consume media content, there has never been greater urgency to stop and reflect on the implications of this on our present and future. Comprising of a multidimensional diorama, this exhibition encourages visitors to question how we understand and experience our history, reality, social equality, and personal relationships with each other and media technology. Six vintage TV screens make up the exhibition within which a collage of video content is displayed that has been mined from hundreds of hours of TV programs from the 1950s and 60s, all designed to spark discussion and catalyse thought.

LOCATION Akron Art Museum, 1 South High Street, Akron DATES 6 May-31 June 2021

Akron Art Museum

(Photo: Tune In on view at the Martha’s Vineyard Museum in 2020.)

Fortuna: Designs by Vincent Quevedo

An award winning designer/artist in the areas of fashion design, wearable arts and creative teaching, Vincent Quevedo is widely considered one of his industry’s most visionary figures. This exhibition, hosted at the Kent State University Museum where Quevedo serves as Associate Professor, explores his inventive experiments and manipulation of materials. Several of his recent designs and garments are displayed, each featuring such innovative materials and techniques as discharged fabrics, real leather against faux leather, and cut, patched, quilted and crocheted industrial cords.

LOCATION Kent State University Museum, 515 Hilltop Drive, Kent DATES Through 16 May 2021

Kent State University College of the Arts

(Photo: Kent State University College of the Arts)

Stories from Storage

A thoughtful examination of multiple important themes, this exhibition features seldom-seen works of art selected by the museum’s nearly two dozen curators. It conveys not a single, linear narrative but multiple stories that complement one another, each revealing a unique element within the museum’s encyclopedic collection. Through a dedicated app, visitors can also listen to  a special introduction from Director William Griswold, get access to  in-depth information with high-resolution images of every artwork on view, and gain special insights into each story.

LOCATION Cleveland Museum of Art, 11150 East Boulevard, Cleveland DATES Through 16 May 2021

Bamazi Talle: Kiguilou Pinah (Year of Sorrow)

This timely exhibition showcases a large-scale oil painting series by Columbus-based artist Bamazi Talle that visually chronicles the arc of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) as it unfolded in 2020. The artist’s storytelling expresses itself through a blending of West African nature-based spirituality, iconography, colour symbolism, and scientific visualisation. The show’s title comes from the Kabiye language of northern Togo, West Africa, Talle’s country of birth.

LOCATION Otterbein University, 1 South Grove Street, Westerville DATES Through 23 April 2021

Otterbein University

(Photo: Otterbein University)

The Best of 2020

Now in its 37th year, Ohio Designer Craftsmen’s annual members’ juried exhibition for 2020 is a delayed version of what should have taken place last year, but was postponed due to Covid-19. Widely regarded as one of Ohio’s most prestigious arts shows, it present a significant exhibition of fine craft, showcasing functional, sculptural or decorative approaches to contemporary works in clay, fibre, wood, glass, enamel, leather, metal, jewellery or other media.

LOCATION Ohio Craft Museum, 1665 West 5th Avenue, Columbus DATES Through May-June 2021

Wayne Thiebaud 100: Paintings, Prints and Drawings

Renowned for his colourful artistic style in depicting commonplace everyday objects such as pies, lipsticks, paint cans and ice cream cones, as well as for his landscapes and figure paintings, this year marks the 100th birthday of acclaimed American painter Wayne Thiebaud. This commemorative exhibition shines a light on the incredible breadth of his accomplishments and career, featuring a wide range of his works and their distinctive artistic hallmarks. In addition to the paintings on display, the exhibition also includes numerous drawings, watercolours and prints.

LOCATION Toledo Museum of Art, 2445 Monroe Street, Toledo DATES Through 2 May 2021

Toledo Museum of Art

(Photo: Wayne Thiebaud, Boston Cremes, 1962. Oil on canvas, 14 x 18 in. Crocker Art Museum Purchase, 1964.22. © 2020 Wayne Thiebaud / Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY.)

Wildlife Rescue: Miracles in Conservation

Delivering an eye-opening, inspiring, and interactive experience for all ages, this travelling exhibition allows visitors to gain a new appreciation for the interconnectedness of life on Earth. Explore he innovative ways wildlife rescuers capture, raise, and release endangered species back to the wild, and care for animals after natural disasters. Interactive displays and simulations include a simulated flight on an ultra-light to guide young whooping cranes along their first migratory route, and learning the methods used to milk lake sturgeon in order to breed and reintroduce the fish into the Great Lakes.

LOCATION Cleveland Museum of Natural History, 1 Wade Oval Drive, Cleveland DATES Through 6 July 2021