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June 26, 2013

Cleveland Institute of Art breaks ground for unified campus in Uptown district of University Circle

Construction will reunite art and design majors for the first time in more than 25 years.

For Immediate Release
Contact: Ann McGuire
Director of Communications

CLEVELAND, Ohio –To cheers and applause from more than 250 guests, Cleveland Institute of Art leaders and supporters broke ground on June 26 for an 80,000-square-foot building that will unify the college’s now-divided campus in the new Uptown district of Cleveland’s University Circle.

“It’s a new day for CIA,” said Grafton J. Nunes, the college’s president and CEO. “We are very excited about the future of our college and look forward to having all CIA students together in one incredibly rich learning environment for the first time in more than a quarter century.”

CIA currently operates a split campus, with some departments and functions housed in its George Gund Building at 11141 East Boulevard, and the remainder in its Joseph McCullough Center for the Visual Arts at 11610 Euclid Avenue.

The ceremonial groundbreaking signaled the start of the second phase of CIA’s two-phase campus project. Phase I was the top-to-bottom modernization of the McCullough building, the eastern anchor of Uptown. The McCullough building is a retrofitted Model T Ford assembly plant that was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1976. Its recent renovation netted CIA awards of recognition for historic preservation and adaptive reuse from The Cleveland Restoration Society, the Cleveland and Akron chapters of the American Institute of Architects, and University Circle Inc.

Phase II of CIA’s campus project is construction of the new building, which will be adjoined to McCullough on the west, and named for George Gund II in honor of $10 million in support provided by his family and the foundation that bears his name. Gund (1888-1966), former chairman of the Cleveland Trust Company, chaired CIA’s board from 1942-1966. The groundbreaking took place just outside the McCullough building, on land where the new Gund Building will be erected.

CIA announced in January it is selling its East Boulevard building to Case Western Reserve University and the Cleveland Museum of Art.

Uptown Phase II, now under construction at the corner of Euclid Avenue and Ford Drive, will include CIA’s new freshmen residence hall. Under the direction of developer MRN Ltd., it will be complete by August 2014.

“Having state-of-the-art facilities in this vibrant Uptown neighborhood will help us draw top students from across the country and around the world,” Nunes said. “At the same time, our students bring so much vitality to this unique neighborhood, where culture, commerce, education and healthcare come together,” he said.

Even without the new facilities, CIA has increased enrollment in recent years, bringing in a record number of new students over the last three years.

The new 80,000-square-foot George Gund Building, designed by Stantec Architects, will also be a draw for Northeast Ohio residents who attend CIA’s Cinematheque film program, gallery exhibitions, public lectures, and robust continuing education offerings. The new building will open for the fall 2015 semester and will:

  • house the Peter B. Lewis Theater, the new home for the nationally acclaimed Cinematheque
  • house CIA’s main exhibition gallery, café, American Greetings Welcome Center, Admissions and Financial Aid offices, and several administrative operations
  • be home to CIA’s Industrial Design, Interior Architecture, Graphic Design, Illustration, Biomedical Art, Animation, and Game Design programs
  • look crisp and contemporary without detracting from the historic McCullough building next door, and
  • fully connect CIA to the new Uptown development of retail, restaurants, and residential construction anchored by the CIA campus to the east and the new home of MOCA Cleveland to the west

Many of the more than 250 CIA supporters who turned out for the groundbreaking expressed their enthusiasm for the new facility. Speakers at the ceremonial event included representatives of the top three donors to the capital campaign that is funding the campus project: The George Gund Foundation and the family of George Gund II, with a combined $10 million commitment; philanthropist and Progressive Corporation chairman Peter B. Lewis, with a $5 million commitment; and The Kelvin and Eleanor Smith Foundation with commitments totaling $4 million.

Joining Nunes in wielding shovels at the groundbreaking were: David T. Abbott, executive director of the George Gund Foundation; Chad Arfons, attorney at McDonald Hopkins; R. Michael Cole, CIA’s senior vice president for institutional advancement; Ruth Eppig, CIA board member; Jennifer Frutchy, philanthropic advisor to Peter B. Lewis and CIA board member Toby Devan Lewis; Anton Germishuizen, vice president of Stantec; Geoffrey Gund, representing the George Gund Foundation and the Gund family; John E. Katzenmeyer, CIA board member and chair of its capital campaign cabinet; Ellen Stirn Mavec, president of The Kelvin and Eleanor Smith Foundation; Creighton Murch, CIA board member; Chris Ronayne, president of University Circle Inc.; John Schulze, CIA board member and chair of its project committee; Michael Schwartz, CIA board chair; and Bob Strickland, president of Project and Construction Services, Inc.

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 publicprogramming 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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