Yacin Zawam discusses the best art museums to visit in Ohio

Yacin Zawam

Yacin Zawam is an art collector and enthusiast who contributes to several publications. In the following article, Yacin Zawam discusses the top 10 art world museums in Ohio, along with the featured showcases of each.

Want solid proof that Ohio is home to some of the best art museums in the country?
There is a dedicated Ohio Museum of Art Trail, making it easy to experience the state’s unique art collection while on vacation. Where is it artcation?

Either way, Yacin Zawam discusses 10 of Ohio’s must-see art museums below to add to the itinerary when visiting Buckeye State.

The grand dame of Ohio’s art museums, the impressive and comprehensive Cleveland of Museum of Art is not only one of the most visited in the world, it’s one of the most renowned in the world, explains Yacin Zawam.

It’s easy to see why. It houses over 60,000 works of art ranging from Egyptian and Asian treasures to contemporary masterpieces by Jackson Pollack, Chuck Close and Andy Warhol. To top it off, admission is free.

Among the Toledo Museum of Art’s collection of 30,000 objects are iconic works by Claude Monet and Pablo Picasso, but the real star of the show is its remarkable glass pavilion which opened in 2006 to reflect the unparalleled collections of museum art glass.
Zawam reports that the museum also houses the Visual Arts Center designed by Frank Gehry, the classrooms of the University of Toledo’s art department and a concert hall.

With a collection as huge as the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Cincinnati Art Museum is known for its inventive rotation of special exhibits (recent exhibits have included looks at Art Deco rooms and the history of dance in Asian art ), as well as his enviable array of 19th-century American and European paintings.

Yacin Zawam reports that new funding has led to the addition of outdoor sculptures, renovations to various wings and his unique Art Climb.

Otherworld is not called a museum. Instead, it’s an “experiment.” Although it sounds fancy, this attraction just outside of downtown Columbus lives up to its name according to Yacin Zawam.

Over 40 artists created large-scale interactive artwork spread across numerous rooms, creating a surreal and unforgettable artistic fantasy world. And for a fully-fledged adventure, there are even secret passages.

Fancy something more traditional in Columbus? The Columbus Museum of Art may be smaller than Ohio’s big-city art museums, but it still packs a punch.

The display cases are quite eclectic – there’s a popular portrait of Jimi Hendrix, but also tapestries by Raphael – 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”.

Yacin Zawam says Youngstown is Butler Institute of American Art is too often overshadowed by better-known state museums. It’s a shame.

Its two floors house exceptional works by some of the most well-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.

Yacin Zawam

Taft Museum of Art

Like the Butler, the Taft Museum of Art in Cincinnati leaves a small footprint but offers big rewards. Displayed in a historic house built in 1820, Taft’s collection is surprisingly comprehensive, comprising works from the Middle Ages through American and European works spanning the 1800s.

Yacin Zawam says surprises abound at Taft. There are exquisite porcelains from China, 18th century watches and extensive pre-war murals.

Recently celebrating its 100th anniversary, the Dayton Art Institute’s collection spans 5,000 years of history through more than 27,000 objects spanning America’s ancient history, as well as European and Asian decorative and fine arts.

It’s also something of a cultural hangout for Dayton, regularly hosting concerts, family programs, social events, and more.

Cleveland’s moCa operates differently from its Buckeye State Museum of Art siblings. Instead of a permanent collection, it features a changing seasonal showcase of exciting new contemporary artists, says Yacin Zawam.

Over 2,000 modern artists have been featured since the museum opened in 1968.

The Allen Memorial Art Museum on the campus of Oberlin College is widely considered one of the best college art museums in the United States. Its large and eclectic collection spans 6,000 years and includes African art, Japanese prints, modern art and 17th-century Flemish paintings.


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