This material is used by permission of Ohio University Press,

  • Architects: Richards, McCarty & Bulford, Columbus
  • 1932
  • 480 East Broad Street
  • Addition: Van Buren & Firestone, Columbus, 1974

The museum was chartered in 1878 for the purpose of encouraging the study of the arts through creation of an art school and exhibition of works of art. The art school later became the Columbus College of Art and Design, located just to the north of the current museum. From 1919 to 1923 the art collection was housed in the Sessions House on East Broad Street. The design of the museum was reportedly influenced by the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, designed by John Russell Pope, who was also responsible for the First Congregational Church next door to the museum.  Set behind a broad lawn that has also become an outdoor sculpture garden, the museum is a dignified, handsome structure, a fine example of the Second

Renaissance Revival style. On its completion it received considerable coverage in the art and architecture press. A projecting central block and its three large round-arched entrances dominate the front of the building. Quoins flank the entrances and are repeated along the facade. To either side of the central block are huge bas-relief friezes by Robert Aitken depicting sixty-six important artists. The entrance originally led into an open garden court that is now enclosed and covered with skylights. On the north side of the building, a 1974 addition provided a new entry from the parking lot, a gift shop, office space, and a gallery. On the east side is a walled sculpture garden with a large reflecting pool. It was designed by Russell Page, who had an international practice based in Europe for a number of years and who is widely considered one of the most important landscape architects of the twentieth century. Many of his designed landscapes also incorporate sculpture. The garden is a popular location for special events.