The Canton Museum of Art is more than just a place to look at pretty things hanging on the wall.
In the past five years, the museum has increased the number of events it hosts and has expanded its free offerings and outreach activities to make the museum more accessible. In 2020, it will celebrate 85 years of being a cultural resource.
“I’m one of those people who think art is for everybody, not just people who can afford it,” said Max R. Barton II, executive director of the museum since 2014.
Visitors also can tour the museum for free on Thursdays and the first Friday of the month as part of downtown Canton’s First Friday celebration.
For the past four years, the museum has provided art education to local fourth-graders through its Museum To Go program, which includes a virtual tour of one of the museum’s exhibits and a standards-aligned activity in which students create their own work of art.
“Oftentimes, we find it’s the only exposure kids have gotten to art,” Barton said.
Now, you even can borrow a museum membership from the local library. Members receive discounts on art classes and museum shop merchandise, as well as free gallery admission and access to free exhibit openings and artist receptions. The museum currently has 800 members, Barton said.
Through its community partnerships, the museum also offers art therapy for community service agency clients who may be suffering from depression, post-traumatic stress disorder or addiction. The museum’s part-time certified art therapist has seen more than 2,000 people since the program began four years ago.
In November 2020, the museum plans to host an American Impressionism exhibit that is expected to attract at least 32,000 people. The exhibition “Dancing in the Light: Masterworks from the Age of American Impressionism” will showcase primarily watercolor works from 1878 to 1930 that have come from Ohio museums as well as works from private collections that have never been seen.
“When you hear the word impressionism, everybody thinks of (French painters Claude) Monet and (Edgar) Degas, … but American impressionist works are just as glorious and colorful,” Barton said.
Upcoming events at the museum:
November 8-10: Christkindl Markt
November 27-March 8: “Crowns: Crossing into Motherhood”
November 27-March 8: “Gems of Modernist Brevity: Alice Schille Watercolor Miniature”