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November 26, 2013

Cleveland Institute of Art's newly redesigned Contemporary Artist Index attracts art researchers from around the globe

Online research tool indexes more than 31,000 artists worldwide

For Immediate Release
Contact: Ann McGuire
Director of Communications

CLEVELAND, Ohio – The world’s art researchers are walking through the virtual door at the Cleveland Institute of Art Library. Experts at institutions ranging from the Library of Congress to international universities are discovering that CIA’s freshly refurbished Contemporary Artist Index, re-launched in November, gives them access to information on more than 31,000 modern and contemporary artists.

Online researchers have long been able to find CIA Library books that have an artist’s name or a particular style in the title. But this online index, which is linked to the library catalogue with new functionalities, lets them go deeper than that. They can also search for individual artists from among the many listed in group-exhibition catalogues, said CIA’s Technical Services Librarian Dana Bjorklund. Plus, she added, “If you're interested in a particular artist, you can find other artists who have exhibited with that artist.”

The redesign also makes this research easier, thanks to a help page with background information, instructions, and handy tips; and more pleasant than before, thanks to CIA graphic design student Nora Corcoran. She added clean, simple arrangements of white space and soft color. First conceived and constructed in 1991, the index had previously looked strictly utilitarian.

Since the November 2013 re-launch, significantly greater numbers of visitors are using this resource. Those users include the likes of the National Gallery of Art, Wellesley College, and Cyprus University. Word is also spreading throughout the art-research sector. The index was featured as an important research tool at a session of the Art Libraries Society North America’s 41st annual conference in 2012, said CIA Library Director Cristine Rom.“In addition, we have heard from colleagues around the country that many of them include this resource in their guides and use it in their instruction about doing art research,” she said.

As the index’s impact grows, so does its actual size, Bjorklund said. Staff members continually research the library collection and add new artist names to the 31,000 currently listed.

Although only those with physical access to the CIA Library can actually use the materials, the information in each listing allows users in other part of the world to identify works relevant to their research and then find them in nearby libraries, at a bookstore, or online, Bjorklund explained.

The database is free and open to all Internet users. To access CIA’s Contemporary Artist Index, go to

About CIA

Founded in 1882, the Cleveland Institute of Art is an accredited, independent college of art and design offering 15 majors in studio art, digital art, craft disciplines, and design. CIA extends its programming to the public through gallery exhibitions; lectures; a robust continuing education program; and the Cinematheque, a year-round art and independent film program. CIA’s public programming is supported in part by the residents of Cuyahoga County through a public grant from Cuyahoga Arts & Culture. For more information visit


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