In Conversation with the Cleveland Museum of Art

2024-07-15 17:37:10

In Conversation with the Cleveland Museum of Art


February 21, 2024    
6:00 pm - 7:00 pm


Bookings closed


Mazumdar-Shaw auditorium
22, Kasturba Rd, Shanthala Nagar, Ashok Nagar , Bengaluru, Karnataka, 560001
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The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, United States

This episode of MAP’s Director’s Cut series features William Griswold, Director of The Cleveland Museum of Art.

With more than 63,000 artworks spanning 6,000 years, the Cleveland Museum of Art is renowned for the quality and breadth of its collection. Acting as an international forum for  exhibitions, scholarship and performing arts, the museum is a leader in digital innovations., recognized for its award-winning Open Access program and free of charge to all, the Cleveland Museum of Art is one of the top comprehensive art museums in the nation. 

As the Director of the museum, William Griswold has been responsible for developing a comprehensive new strategic plan to grow the museum’s audiences and amplifying the impact of the museum’s permanent collection. Griswold brought the museum’s mission of creating transformative experiences through art to the digital age by initiating making comprehensive information and images of works of art in its collection universally available, free of charge, by means of open access. A member of the Association of Art Museum Directors, Griswold is also the chair of its task force on archaeological material and ancient art. 

The Director’s Cut series, anchored by MAP’s Director, Kamini Sawhney, offers a glimpse into how the institution of the museum is being reimagined and reinvented today. It presents a unique opportunity to hear from reputed practitioners in museums around the world, as they reflect on their institutional experiences, behind-the-scenes challenges, unique initiatives, and more.


Bookings are closed for this event.

William M. Griswold

Director and President, The Cleveland Museum of Art

William M. Griswold was appointed director of the Cleveland Museum of Art in May 2014. The institution’s ninth director, he leads the 450-member team responsible for building, preserving, displaying, and interpreting the museum’s renowned collection of some 60,000 works of art; for deepening its long-standing engagement with the local community; and for elevating its profile and reputation both nationally and internationally.

Shortly after his arrival in Cleveland, Griswold led the museum’s preparations for the celebration of its centennial in 2016 and oversaw the conclusion of the $320-million campaign that made possible its recently completed renovation and expansion designed by Rafael Viñoly. In 2016 he undertook the development of a comprehensive new strategic plan designed to amplify the impact of the museum’s permanent collection, leverage its extended campus, and grow and diversify its audience locally, regionally, and globally. The museum’s board of trustees unanimously approved the plan in 2017, and under Griswold’s guidance the staff immediately undertook its implementation. In addition, Griswold led an effort to create the museum’s first Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Plan, outlining a series of initiatives that would help realize the museum’s commitment to diversify its staff and audiences. The DEI Plan was approved by the board in 2018. Griswold also oversaw the museum’s response to – and recovery from – the Covid-19 pandemic, and in 2022 completed an updated iteration of its 2017 strategic plan.

Griswold’s tenure has seen the acquisition of numerous important works of art by gift as well as purchase. These included the 2020 gift to the museum of the collection assembled by trustee Nancy Keithley and her husband, Joseph Keithley, the largest single gift to the museum in more than sixty years. In addition, he has overseen a program of ambitious exhibitions ranging from Painting the Modern Garden: Monet to Matisse to The Ecstasy of Saint Kara (on recent work by Kara Walker), Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors, and China’s Southern Paradise: Treasures from the Lower Yangzi Delta. In January 2019 the museum announced that, during the preceding year, it had achieved both record attendance and record membership; a week later, the museum made comprehensive information and images of works of art in its collection universally available, free of charge, by means of open access—firmly bringing its historic mission to “create transformative experiences through art for the benefit of all the people forever” into the digital age.

From 2007 to 2014, Griswold was director of the Morgan Library & Museum, in New York. He was previously director and president of the Minneapolis Institute of Art (2005–2007), acting director and chief curator at the J. Paul Getty Museum (2004–2005), and associate director of collections at the Getty (2001–2004). Prior to joining the Getty, Griswold was Charles W. Engelhard Curator and Head of the Department of Drawings and Prints at the Morgan Library (1995–2001), and he served as assistant and later associate curator in the department of drawings and prints at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (from 1988 until 1995).

Griswold is a member of the Association of Art Museum Directors and is chair of its task force on cultural property and was elected as a member of its board in January of 2024. He serves on the board of the American Friends of the Shanghai Museum, Destination Cleveland, and University Circle Inc., and he is a former president of the Master Drawings Association and a former member of the boards of the Courtauld Institute of Art and the American Trust for the British Library. In 2008 he received France’s insignia of Chevalier of the French Order of Arts and Letters, and in 2015 he was awarded the medal of Cambodia’s Royal Order of Sahametrei. In 2018 Griswold was honored as the first recipient of the new Barbara Robinson Prize for arts advocacy by the Cleveland Arts Prize. He earned his bachelor’s degree at Trinity College, in Hartford (CT), and his PhD at the Courtauld Institute of Art, in London.

Kamini Sawnhey

Director of Museum of Art & Photography, Bengaluru

As the Museum of Art & Photography’s (MAP) first Director, Kamini Sawhney has brought together a young, inspired team that is focused on creating a new museum experience for audiences in India. In leading this founding team, Sawhney has helped shape a vision for MAP that seeks to inspire people to interact with art in ways that encourage humanity, empathy and a deeper understanding of the world we live in. She has been a vocal ambassador for MAP presenting the institution’s plans and aspirations at various fora including the India Art Fair, at workshops at the CSMVS, Mumbai (Museums and the City), the Bangalore Literary Festival and the Bangalore International Centre.

In her earlier role, Kamini was the head of the Jehangir Nicholson Art Foundation – one of the premier private collections of Modern Indian Art, at the CSMVS, Mumbai, formerly known as the Prince of Wales Museum. Bringing institutions together in collaborative projects has been one of her special skills enabling audiences in India the opportunity to enjoy several exhibitions in collaboration with Tate, London, Foam, Amsterdam, the Duke University, Durham, the  KNMA, New Delhi and more. Sawhney was selected as one of the first candidates for the  Brooks fellowship at Tate Modern, London in 2014 in collaboration with the Delfina Foundation. In a previous avatar as journalist and television anchor, Kamini was the Bureau Chief of NDTV, Mumbai one of India’s leading news channels where she reported on her whole range of events both political and cultural.

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