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Student Life

Student Life . Life at CIA 

Life at CIA

At the Cleveland Institute of Art you’ll live, learn, and work in an artist’s community. Surrounded by creative-minded friends and mentors, you'll find inspiration inside and outside the studio. On-campus or off-campus, you'll find a community full of cultural energy, diverse neighborhoods, and an accessible downtown.

people listening to concert at Cleveland Museum of Art

The Cleveland Museum of Art's monthly MIX events draw from the entire city for music, art and dance.

Explore the neighborhood and city

Our campus sits in the heart of University Circle, named by Forbes Magazine as one of the most beautiful communities in the country. University Circle is home to world-renowned cultural, educational, and healthcare institutions and more than 12,000 students. 

Downtown Cleveland is less than five miles from campus, where you can sample the city’s hottest restaurants, take in a music or comedy show, or, if you’re a sports fan, cheer on the Cleveland Guardians, Cavaliers, or Browns at their downtown venues. 

Kulas Tickets
Through the Kulas Ticket Giveaway, you can take advantage of living in a city packed with cultural activities. Win tickets to a variety of cultural events in and around Cleveland. From the world-renowned Cleveland Orchestra to the nationally-recognized Great Lakes Theater; from the innovative movement of DANCECleveland to highly successful tours of acclaimed Broadway Musicals - there’s something for everyone! 

Show your work

It’s important to show your work in both formal and informal settings. Through faculty partnerships and long-held CIA exhibitions, you’ll have many opportunities to exhibit and sell your work.  

Student Independent Exhibition

For over 70 years, this juried exhibition has been a signature show for CIA students. From choosing national jurors to curating the work and publicizing the show, the annual Student Independent Exhibition (SIE) is an extraordinary opportunity for students to run an actual full-scale exhibition. It's easily the College's most popular exhibition of the year.  

Spring Design Show 

Each spring students across all of our majors participate in a unique ‘trade show’ event where they present their work to prospective employers. This one-week pop-up exhibition attracts employers and galleries from across the country, looking for new talent for internships and new hires. Many of our junior and senior design students walk away from this event with internship and job opportunities. 

Community Partnerships

Through class projects, internships, and faculty partnerships, students exhibit work in galleries, warehouse spaces, and other venues throughout the year. They provide critical experience in learning to partner with gallery owners, learn about writing contracts and selling your work.

CIA's annual Halloween party brings out the creativity of our students!

Get involved

CIA students spend a lot of time in the studio, which is why our Student Life team, working with student groups, organize activities to make sure you take a break. Through student activities and annual events you’ll be able to recharge your creative batteries. 

Or get involved with a club! Whether you're interested in your creative discipline, helping others in the community, or connecting over shared interests, there are numerous clubs on campus. 

For more information:

Matthew Smith, PhD
Assistant Dean, Student Affairs
216.421.7495 | Contact

Getting Around Town

With CIA’s location in Cleveland city limits, you’ll have access to all of the public transportation of a major metro area. Learn about getting around Cleveland.

Studio Space 

It’s your space to create and collaborate. Once you begin your major you move right into personal studio space. For many students it’s a home away from home, where they work on projects and connect with peers in their major.