Photo of a faculty member gesturing to a piece of art during a class at the Cleveland Museum of Art

With new $500,000 Mellon Foundation grant, Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland Museum of Art expand joint program in art and art history

With a five-year $500,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Case Western Reserve University/Cleveland Museum of Art (CWRU/CMA) Joint Program in Art History will create new fellowships, courses and distinctions for a program that’s among the most unique of its kind in the country.

Established between the two University Circle institutions in 1967, the joint program re-launched earlier this decade with a five-year $500,000 award from the Mellon Foundation. 

Elizabeth Bolman
Elizabeth Bolman

The highly selective art history PhD curriculum is known for incorporating museum practice and the study of art history. An emphasis on object-oriented research gives students access to the CMA’s permanent collections—pairing them with museum conservators for research—its laboratories and Ingalls Library, the third-largest art research library in the United States.

In addition to bolstering the program’s current offerings, the new Mellon Foundation grant establishes many new opportunities, including a postdoctoral fellowship to develop administrative potential in art history faculty.

“There is tremendous creative potential in higher administration, and this fellowship seeks to better prepare future academic and museum administrative leaders early in their careers,” said Elizabeth Bolman, the Elsie B. Smith Professor in the Liberal Arts.

“We can help meet the national need for dynamic leaders who understand the complexities required for administration and management of museums and academic institutions,” said Bolman, chair of the university’s Department of Art History and Art in the College of Arts and Sciences.

Based at CMA, the fellowship will offer training in public engagement, public programming, project management and leadership techniques not traditionally included in graduate education. Fellows also will participate in executive leadership coaching at the Case Western Reserve Weatherhead School of Management.

The Mellon Foundation grant will also support:

  • A new Mellon Pre-doctoral Fellowship: a fully-funded doctoral position that includes two years of coursework, a one year curatorial internship at the CMA and two years of support to complete a dissertation with no outside work expectations.
  • Mellon Short-Term Visiting Fellowship: Also based at CMA, this position will raise the program’s profile and expose students to outside perspectives.
  • Support for the signature course called Materials, Methods and the Physical Examination of Works of Art Materials: Established with the program’s first Mellon Foundation grant, the course will be taught in conjunction with the conservators at the CMA.

“This partnership demonstrates the potential impact of collaboration between universities and museums. We are working together to help shape the future of scholarship and public engagement within art history,” said Cyra Levenson, director of education and academic affairs at the CMA.

Meanwhile, both the university and museum are engaged in an ongoing strategic planning effort for the joint program’s future.

For more information, contact Daniel Robison

This article was originally published Nov. 26, 2019.