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March 08, 2021

Cleveland Institute of Art Announces Honorary Doctorates for Anthony Russo, Joe Russo and Angela Russo-Otstot

The news comes days ahead of the worldwide premiere of "Cherry," the Russos’ film that was shot in Northeast Ohio


CLEVELAND, OH – MARCH 8 2021 — Internationally renowned producers, writers and directors Joe and Anthony Russo and Angela Russo-Otstot will be awarded Honorary Doctor of Art degrees by the Cleveland Institute of Art in recognition of their extraordinary contributions to film, television and their native Cleveland. The Russos have been a part of the Cleveland community for generations. This is particularly meaningful to the three Russos in that they grew up watching movies at the Cleveland Institute of Art Cinematheque and Angela was previously a professor at CIA.

CIA, a premiere college of art and design, confers honorary doctorates upon visionaries and leaders in those fields. The Russos will join a prestigious group of only 15 others who’ve received honorary degrees from CIA in its 138-year history, including fellow entertainment icons Brian Michael Bendis and Willem Dafoe.

“What makes all their work so extraordinary, be it Arrested Development, Community, Welcome to Collinwood, The Avengers or now Cherry, is that the impact is always character- driven behind the humor, the action or the spectacle. And that is why they get such extraordinary performances from their great company of actors. We connect with the people on that screen and that puts each work over the top,” says Grafton Nunes, CIA president and CEO. “Their pursuit of creative excellence epitomizes our mission at CIA and makes them eminently deserving of honorary degrees from our institution.”

“I’m honored that the Cinematheque played a part in the Russos’ remarkable rise and thankful that they have remained generous friends to us,” says Cinematheque director John Ewing. “We share profound mutual respect, and they greatly deserve this recognition of their creativity, talent and hard work.”

“Anthony, Joe and I feel a special kinship with the Cleveland Institute of Art. During my brief but impactful time spent teaching at CIA, I was constantly inspired by the students’ unwavering thirst for innovation, artistic collaboration, and bravery toward disruption,” says Angela Russo-Otstot, President of Creative at AGBO. “These are the guiding principles Anthony, Joe and I also try to live by as artists and they are the mission drivers at our studio AGBO. We are truly honored to be associated with this admirable institution and remarkable community of alumni.”

Cherry is the wild journey of a disenfranchised young man from Ohio who meets the love of his life, only to risk losing her through a series of bad decisions and challenging life circumstances. An Apple Original Film, Cherry is now playing in select theaters and premieres globally on Apple TV+ on March 12, 2021.

About Cleveland Institute of Art
The Cleveland Institute of Art is an accredited, independent college of art and design committed to nurturing the intellectual, artistic and professional development of students in 15 undergraduate majors. CIA extends its programs through exhibitions, lectures, continuing education and the CIA Cinematheque, a nationally acclaimed art and independent film program. Its campus is in the heart of Cleveland’s cultural district, University Circle.

About the Cinematheque
The Cleveland Institute of Art Cinematheque is one of the country’s best repertory movie theaters, according to The New York Times. Founded in 1986, the alternative film theater shows classic, foreign and independent films 50 weekends of the year. Screenings take place in CIA's state-of-the-art Peter B. Lewis Theater, which opened in 2015 and features a 36-foot-wide screen, 4K digital and 35mm film projection, and Dolby Digital 7.1 sound.

For Further information:

Cleveland Institute of Art
Michael C. Butz, Director of College Communications + External Relations / 216.421.7404

Russo /AGBO
Marian Koltai-Levine – R&CPMK

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