Spearing Fish, c. 667-647 BC. Egypt, Thebes, Late Period. 1949.499
  • Spearing Fish, c. 667-647 BC. Egypt, Thebes, Late Period. 1949.499

Adult Distance Learning

Distance Learning for adult audiences at the Cleveland Museum of Art allows lifelong learners to connect with the CMA, and enrich their studies of history and the visual arts through our collection of art and artifacts from around the world.  These interactive videoconferences cover a variety of topics that may relate to specific art movements or time periods, as well as unique perspectives on the museum’s collection.

We can connect via Zoom, and Microsoft Teams.

Presentations are available Monday through Friday, between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. eastern time. Suggested length of presentations is 45 to 60 minutes.  Adult programs are $130 per session, unless otherwise stated.

Videoconferences must be registered through our website or CILC.  For CMA registration, please complete the online registration form, providing all requested information.

Please email DL [at] clevelandart.org if you need further assistance.

Egyptomania: Fashion’s Conflicted Obsession

New Topic

This session highlights the museum’s special exhibition, Egyptomania: Fashion’s Conflicted Obsession.  Egyptian art has long served as a primary inspiration for fashion designers, solidifying the legacy of Egyptomania—the influence of the art of ancient Egypt. This exhibition brings together around 50 objects that explore the influence of Egyptomania in fashion by juxtaposing contemporary fashion and jewelry loaned from around the world with fine and decorative artworks from the CMA collection. Discussion includes designers’ interpretations of themes such as Egyptian dress, funerary process, and religion that shape our contemporary perceptions of ancient Egyptian culture.

This special program is $200 per session.

African Art: Secular and Spiritual

Compare ritual and royal objects from the Yoruba and Edo peoples of Nigeria to learn how their rulers maintain worldly authority with the assistance of spiritual forces. Participants delight in examining a colorful beaded crown that empowers a Yoruba ruler and a 300-year-old bronze sculpture that establishes legitimacy for an Edo king. These and other stunning objects introduce students to a selection of Nigerian artworks from the museum’s collection.

African Masks

This program looks at examples of masks from the museum's Sub-Saharan collection of African art.  Masks with human, animal, and fantastic traits can represent protective spirits, and are used for many different occasions.  During masquerades, masks help dancers connect with the spiritual realm as part of initiations, funerals of elders, market days, harvest celebrations, and annual renewal rituals to protect the well-being of the community.

America’s Story: America Expanding, 1801–1861

By examining American art and artifacts from the CMA’s collection, this series promotes discussion on America’s national character and heritage. All five presentations may be scheduled as a series or individually.

Throughout the five programs, artworks from the museum's collection depict themes such as developing American identity, the impact of westward expansion, the effects of urbanization and industrialization, American reactions to European Modernism, and social and political changes of the 20th century.

1. America’s Story: America Emerging, the 1700s
2. America’s Story: America Expanding, 1801–1861
3. America’s Story: America Transforming, 1860–1918
4. America’s Story: America Enduring, 1913–1945
5. America’s Story: America Diversifying, 1945–2000

Art of Adornment

Using works of art from many cultures and time periods, students explore ways in which various cultures throughout history have used adornment to establish personal and social identity. Body shaping, tattooing, piercing, scarification, cosmetic use, and decorative arrangements of hair reflect diverse cultural values and also relate to issues of self-definition today.

Biblical Representations: Old Testament

Biblical themes have long been creative fodder for artists—an opportunity to explore dynamic, sometimes-unsettling narrative content and to exercise visual experimentation within a particular school of aesthetics, thought, or personal style. This two-part series exploring representations of characters and scenes from both the Old and New Testaments in the collection of the Cleveland Museum of Art provides an overview of how selected artists have dealt with these time-honored episodes throughout the history of art.

The Old Testament videoconference explores the stories of Abraham, Jonah, and Lot. Join us for a sense of how the interpretation of these important stories varies in style and media yet endures thematically through the millennia.

Biblical Representations: New Testament

Biblical themes have long been creative fodder for artists—an opportunity to explore dynamic, sometimes-unsettling narrative content and to exercise visual experimentation within a particular school of aesthetics, thought, or personal style. This two-part series exploring representations of characters and scenes from both the Old and New Testaments in the collection of the Cleveland Museum of Art provides an overview of how selected artists have dealt with these time-honored episodes throughout the history of art.

The New Testament videoconference introduces depictions of Jesus, Mary, and John the Baptist in paintings, prints, and carved ivory, for example. Join us for a sense of how the interpretation of these important stories varies in style and media yet endures thematically through the millennia.

Canine Companions

At our feet, on our laps, and at the door, dogs have been humankind’s companions for millennia. See how artists from ancient times to the present have used a variety of media to represent canines as status symbols, friends, protective spirits, and eager assistants at the hunt.

Cleveland Museum of Art Tour

Explore the architecture and galleries of the renowned Cleveland Museum of Art. This casual look at the collection includes recent installations of art and enduring favorites, such as works in the armor court. Participants “travel” through the museum enjoying special focus on highlighted pieces, such as the medieval table fountain and Queen Isabella’s book of hours, a compilation of lavishly illustrated manuscripts. Opportunities abound to ask questions and learn more about the institution whose mission includes helping the broadest possible audience understand and engage with the world’s great art.

Contemporary Art

This program highlights the newly reinstalled contemporary galleries of the Cleveland Museum of Art, which showcase diverse artists and fresh conversations among works in the museum’s collection. The works include contemporary reimaginings of portraiture, recent takes on abstraction, and innovative adaptations of materials. Spanning the past six decades, the galleries feature longtime favorites by artists such as Andy Warhol alongside the work of more recent artists, like Simone Leigh.

Egyptomania Series

Discover the ingenuity of Ancient Egypt through this series of four videoconferences, which may be scheduled as a series or individually. Artworks from the CMA’s collection highlight aspects of Egyptian daily life, help decipher Hieroglyphs, illuminate the importance of the afterlife and mummification, and explore the symbolism of animals in Egyptian art.

Egyptomania 1: Introduction to Daily Life
Egyptomania 2: Hieroglyphics
Egyptomania 3: Mummies
Egyptomania 4: Animals

French Art

French art has been renowned throughout the centuries for its elegance and inventiveness. In this overview of French masterworks in the collection of the Cleveland Museum of Art, explore everything from luxury goods made for the dukes of Burgundy prior to the Renaissance to shimmering paintings by Impressionists to colorful compositions by the Fauves.

German Art

Discover luxurious sacred items, manuscripts, armor, and prints all made by German artists and craftspeople. From medieval treasures to Meissen porcelain to contemporary paintings, this presentation introduces the art of Germany in the collection of the Cleveland Museum of Art and includes works by Albrecht Dürer, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Paul Klee, and numerous others.

Getting to Know Van Gogh

Although the artist Vincent van Gogh was relatively unknown during his lifetime, he has since become one of the most famous artists of the 19th century. This program takes a closer look at the life and art of Van Gogh, featuring works from the museum’s collection.  Van Gogh’s expressive use of color and thickly applied brush strokes have become a recognized hallmark of Post-Impressionism, and offer a window into the world of a brilliant but troubled artist.

Please select "Special Topic" when registering, and list "Getting to Know Van Gogh" in the additional information on your registration form.

Gods and Heroes from Greece and Rome

Using bronze sculptures, coins, ceramic vessels, and a carved marble sarcophagus from the collection of the Cleveland Museum of Art, we investigate the exploits of Herakles, Athena, Perseus, Orestes, and others who vividly populated the imagination of the classical Western world. This is one of a series of presentations that compares the myths of several cultures, character traits of their heroes, and connections to the natural world.

Gods and Heroes of India

The adventures of Rama and Hanuman in the Indian epic The Ramayana are just a few of the fascinating stories of Hindu and Buddhist gods and heroes covered in this introduction to the history and culture of India. Students are introduced to the incarnation of the Hindu god Vishnu, as the man-lion Narasimha, and the Bodhisattva of Compassion, Avalokiteshvara, through works of art in the museum's collection. A viewing guide assists students in analyzing the information presented.

Gods and Heroes of the Maya

The Maya Popol Vuh (Council Book) relates tales of the Hero Twins who make the world safe for the arrival of human beings. Participants explore this creation myth and other aspects of the Maya culture by examining artifacts from the Cleveland Museum of Art. Related discussion involves Maya hieroglyphs, notions of royalty, the sacred ball game, and the natural resources of Mesoamerica.

Harlem Renaissance

Travel back in time to bustling New York City of the 1920s and discover the art, literature, and music produced by African Americans living in Harlem during this period. Participants are introduced to artists such as Romare Bearden, Jacob Lawrence, and photographer James Van Der Zee, as well as to the poetry of Langston Hughes.


Learn about the works of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist painters, such as Monet, Degas, Van Gogh, and Cézanne, whose experiments with the effects of different light conditions and paint applications created a new way of seeing the world. The period in which these artists worked had much in common with our own era of rapid technological change and improved standards of living. We also compare works by the Impressionists with pieces by academic artists of the official Salon.

Italian Art: From Etruscan to Modern

Italy has a long and rich tradition in the visual arts, but what do these images communicate about the country’s history? This presentation provides a survey of Italy’s artistic heritage by exploring why particular subjects were depicted in sculptures, paintings, and decorative arts. Learn how factors such as patronage and subject matter convey some of the ideals and events important to residents throughout Italy in the past 2,000 years. The objects shown range from decorative arts made by the ancient Etruscans to a print created by Umberto Boccioni, a proponent of the Italian Futurist movement in the early 20th century.

Japanese Art: Humble and Bold

Japanese art encompasses aesthetics ranging from earthy and subtle to colorful and luxurious. In this presentation you will encounter works in a variety of media, including ceramics used in the tea ceremony, enamelware, and folding screens made from paper and wood. Discussion focuses not only on the formal qualities of these works but also on their practical uses. Critical thinking is encouraged through analysis of the works of art as an indicator of Japanese social values and tastes.

Medieval Masterpieces

Rich intellectual and technical achievements distinguish the art of the Middle Ages. Throughout Europe, manuscript illumination, architecture, sculpture, and metalwork flourished under the patronage of church and court. In this presentation, participants encounter splendid liturgical objects, such as a gold and porphyry altarpiece made for an 11th-century German countess and a silver vessel for a holy relic that once belonged to a Byzantine emperor. Courtly items also include a whimsical table fountain and Gothic-style tapestries made for a chateau. Biblical subjects such as Daniel in the lion’s den—seen on a medieval column capital—help make connections between art and religion for classes studying world religions, culture, and/or European history.

Modernism: Early 20th-Century Art

Fauvism, Cubism, Surrealism, and other selected movements in early 20th-century art are introduced through the museum’s collection. Explore the visual innovations of artists such as Matisse, Picasso, Mondrian, and Miró in a period marked by the primacy of personal expression over a realistic rendering of the world.

Monuments Men: The Cleveland Connection

This program examines Cleveland’s connection to the “monuments men” by highlighting objects in the museum’s collection and museum staff members who participated, in the decades following the war, in the discovery and rescue of art stockpiled by the Nazis.

Photography: What Makes a Good Picture?

Why do some photographs intrigue us more than others? In this program, students are introduced to the science and art behind this extremely popular form of visual communication. Students explore what makes an interesting photograph by viewing the works of contemporary and historical photographers in the museum’s collection. Participants first discover how focus, framing, timing, point of view, and subject matter can influence meaning in a photograph and then lay the foundation for their own creative view through the camera.

Relief Printmaking: A Japanese/German Comparison

In this presentation on the history of relief printmaking, participants examine the varied techniques and tools used by Western and Asian artists to create their works. Additional topics include the change in function of prints, from religious aids during the Middle Ages in Germany and elsewhere to the use of Japanese prints as part of popular tourist culture in the 19th century. We compare origins of both printmaking traditions and learn about the sequence of Japanese woodblock printmaking.

Renaissance Painting: An Overview

Selected paintings from the CMA’s collection help acquaint participants with the Renaissance, the transitional period of European history in which learning and the arts blossomed and medieval thought was gradually subjected to the beginnings of scientific scrutiny. Portraiture, early landscape elements, and contemporary details in these works show the artists’ growing attention to the world around them. Specialized vocabulary words (for example, perspective, patron, altarpiece, tondo) introduce basic concepts related to Renaissance painting.

Repatriated Art

Repatriation is the process by which museums and other institutions transfer possession and control over human remains, sacred objects, and items of cultural patrimony back to their place of origin. During the program, we examine some aspects of repatriated art and the issues surrounding it. The presentation includes a selection of objects from the museum that have been removed from their original context, as well as some that have been returned. Participants are asked to think about various sides to these cases and, toward the end of the conversation, are asked to debate some of the issues.

Scary Art

Fun for Halloween or any time, this videoconference features goblins, witches, and dastardly doings! Explore otherworldly paintings and prints by Francisco Goya, Salvator Rosa, and Albert Pinkham Ryder for an art journey to the other side. Participants discuss superstition in the 1600s, including the Salem witch trials.

Self-Portraits: Forms of Identity

How we see ourselves influences our perspectives, our decisions, and the daily experience of living. Artists create tangible evidence of their process of reflection through self-portraits. By observing how luminaries from Rembrandt to Picasso represent themselves, we explore a variety of artists’ personal statements, historical moments, and technical approaches.

Spanish Art

This program features paintings by artists working from or born in Spain. Renaissance, Baroque, and modern Spanish art offer a varied stylistic range to participants, who also learn about the cultural and historical context of the works highlighted. Many of the artists—El Greco, Goya, and Picasso, for example—are among the best known in western art history and may already be familiar to the students.

The Keithley Collection

This program will highlight selected works from the museum’s extraordinary gift and promised gift of art made by Clevelanders Joseph P. and Nancy F. Keithley to the Cleveland Museum of Art. In March 2020, the Keithleys gave more than 100 works of art to the museum—the most significant gift since the bequest of Leonard C. Hanna Jr. in 1958.  The Keithleys’ collection focuses on Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, and modern European and American paintings.  The Keithleys also collected Chinese and contemporary Japanese ceramics.  Asian ceramics will be shown alongside Western paintings and drawings to echo the harmonies created by the Keithleys, who enjoyed thoughtfully juxtaposing the works in their collection. 

The Art of Performance

This program features works from the museum's collection which show the influence of performance on visual artists of the 19th and 20th centuries.  Many artists captured the growing audiences for musical and theatrical performances in Europe and the United States around the turn of the century.  These works give us an inside look at entertainment across various class distinctions and backgrounds, and include art movements such as Impressionism, Post-Impressionism, the Harlem Renaissance, and the Ash Can School.

Please select "Special Topic" when registering, and list "The Art of Performance" in the additional information on your registration form.

Tiffany in Bloom

This program explores the CMA’s collection of stained glass lamps, and additional works, by Louis Comfort Tiffany. Learn about this American designer and stained glass innovator, his inspirations from nature, and the crucial role that women artists, like Ohio native Clara Driscoll, played in his studio.

Tomb Culture of Ancient China

Participants are introduced to selected objects found in ancient Chinese tombs as a way of surveying history from the late Neolithic era (3000 BC) to the Tang Dynasty (618–907). These objects reveal the contents of ancient tombs and shed light on similar types of items used for daily life. In addition, these tomb goods—ritual vessels, figurines, and musical instruments—represent exemplary workmanship in jade, bronze, and ceramics. Working methods with these materials are also explored.

All education programs at the Cleveland Museum of Art are underwritten by the CMA Fund for Education. Major annual support is provided by Brenda and Marshall Brown, Mr. and Mrs. Walter E. Fortney, Florence Kahane Goodman, Eva and Rudolf Linnebach, and the Kelvin and Eleanor Smith Foundation. Generous annual support is provided by an anonymous supporter, the M. E. and F. J. Callahan Foundation, Char and Chuck Fowler, the Giant Eagle Foundation, the Lloyd D. Hunter Memorial Fund, Marta Jack and the late Donald M. Jack Jr., Bill and Joyce Litzler, the Logsdon Family Fund for Education, William J. and Katherine T. O'Neill, Mandi Rickelman, Betty T. and David M. Schneider, the Sally and Larry Sears Fund for Education Endowment, Roy Smith, Paula and Eugene Stevens, the Trilling Family Foundation, and the Womens Council of the Cleveland Museum of Art. 

The Cleveland Museum of Art is funded in part by residents of Cuyahoga County through a public grant from Cuyahoga Arts & Culture.

Education programs are supported in part by the Ohio Arts Council, which receives support from the State of Ohio and the National Endowment for the Arts.

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