Now Lewis has a new distinction: She has been named a trustee of the Cleveland Museum of Art.
The museum announced earlier this week that Lewis has been elected to a five-year term, along with Dean Cameron Barry of Hunting Valley, president of Dean Barry Wealth Management, a financial services company.
Barry and Lewis join the museum’s 30-plus-member board three weeks after William Griswold, former director of the Morgan Library & Museum in New York, moved to Cleveland to head Ohio’s biggest art museum.
The museum hopes to complete a capital campaign this year to pay for the $320 million expansion and renovation it finished in late 2013. As of today, it has $275 million in hand, after having announced a $10 million anonymous donation earlier this week.
The museum is gearing up for its centennial in 2016. Griswold has said other priorities include completing a strategic plan, gearing up the exhibition program and filling major vacancies for a chief curator and education director on staff.
Lewis, a philanthropist, art collector, author and curator, was famously invited in 1983 by Peter B. Lewis, then-president and CEO of Progressive Corp., to manage the company’s corporate art collection. (Peter Lewis died in 2013.) Over the next two decades, Toby Lewis oversaw the expansion of the collection to include 6,000 works of art – a body of work rated one of the top corporate collections in the United States by Art + Auction magazine.
As a philanthropist, Toby Lewis has supported institutions including the New Museum of New York, where she is a trustee; Case Western Reserve University; the Cleveland Institute of Art; the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland; and Ideastream.
Early in her career, Lewis headed public relations, sales and marketing for the Cleveland Center for Contemporary Art, which later became MOCA Cleveland.
Her appointment to the Cleveland museum’s board is part of a transition in which the institution has appointed trustees sympathetic to modern and contemporary art after decades in which it did not collect robustly and enthusiastically in those areas.
Other strong supporters of contemporary art on the museum’s board include Agnes Gund, former president of the Museum of Modern Art in New York; and Scott Mueller, CEO of Dealer Tire and a vice chair of the board.
Graphic designer Mark Schwartz, a museum trustee who died in July, was an enthusiastic collector of photography and a donor to the museum, along with his wife, Bettina Katz.
Before his current post with Barry Wealth Management, Dean Barry was a financial adviser at USB Financial Services in Cleveland and worked at White Horse Financial Services and Citibank Private Bank in New York.
Barry had worked as financial director for North America at Phillips du Pury Auctioneers in New York, and was chief operating officer of Sotheby’s real estate division in New York. He also worked as director of the San Francisco office of Sotheby’s.