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Cleveland Museum of Art reports strong gains in attendance, membership, fundraising
The Cleveland Museum of Art’s Parade the Circle workshop. Courtesy of the Cleveland Museum of Art.

CLEVELAND, OH.- With continuing momentum surrounding the conclusion of its eight-year renovation and expansion project, the Cleveland Museum of Art enjoyed strong gains in attendance, membership and fundraising during its 2013-2014 fiscal year. Nearly 600,000 visitors came to the museum between July 1, 2013, and June 30, 2014, while more than $46 million was raised to support museum operations and programs.

The museum reported today that total attendance of 597,715 was the highest in over a decade and represented a 19% increase over the 501,314 visitors it welcomed during its previous fiscal year. Total museum membership, meanwhile, increased 18% to 23,094, including more than 3,300 new introductory-level members.

“We are gratified by the continued growth in attendance and membership support, which clearly reflects the excitement being generated by our outstanding new facilities and programming,” said Fred Bidwell, the museum’s interim director.

The fiscal year began with the opening of the museum’s north wing galleries and was highlighted by the opening of the west wing – the capstone of the multiyear, $320 million renovation and expansion project – with a special celebration on New Year’s Eve. The spectacular, 39,000-square-foot Ames Family Atrium and the award-winning, interactive Gallery One, as well as recently added programming initiatives such as the MIX at CMA first Friday happy hour series and Second Sundays family day activities, also continued to attract visitors. The fiscal year also saw the 25th edition of the annual Parade the Circle, one of the museum’s signature community engagement events, which this year set a record attendance of over 80,000.

Even as the ambitious capital campaign winds to a close in 2014 with nearly 85% of the goal reached to date, the museum reported an 18% increase in fundraising with $46.2 million in total contributions and planned-giving commitments representing the best results in several years. This included a more than threefold increase in restricted operating gifts to support specific programs and projects, and $13.4 million in endowment giving, a gain of more than 130%.

Bidwell also noted the significance of the more than $13 million in philanthropic trust income the museum received during the fiscal year that helps to advance its mission.

“These are dollars generated by the planned gifts established by the visionaries who founded this great museum a century ago, as well as some of the most significant benefactors in our history, including John L. Severance, John Huntington, Leonard C. Hanna, Hinman Hurlbut, J.H. Wade and Horace Kelley,” he said. “Just as the generosity of the museum’s great earlier benefactors continues to have a meaningful impact on the museum today, we honor their legacy through fundraising and planned giving that benefits both this and future generations of Clevelanders.”

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