Update: The Museum of the American Arts and Crafts Movement
At the recent Arts & Crafts conference at the Grove Park Inn in Asheville, North Carolina, CEO Lucy Toomey had a chance to catch up with Rudy Ciccarello, founder of the Museum of the American Arts and Crafts Movement and the Two Red Roses Foundation. Read the interview below and enjoy some sneak-peek images of the museum.
Lucy Toomey: Rudy, there’s so much excitement and interest around the Two Red Roses Foundation’s collection and the new Museum of the American Arts and Crafts Movement. Can you give me an update?
Rudy Ciccarello: Thanks, Lucy. Of course. First, I believe we were fortunate to find the perfect location for the museum. St. Petersburg, Florida is a thriving, vibrant, and diverse city. It has gained a reputation as a truly national and international arts destination and the museum is located in the heart of the downtown arts district.
LT: The architecture looks incredible. What can you tell me about the design?
RC: I worked closely with Alberto Alfonso (of Alfonso Architects in Tampa, Florida) on the design for nearly four years. Our goal and challenge was to find a balance between the art and the architecture. I believe the final result is a seamless combination of both: contemporary yet mindful of tradition. There are unique architectural features evoking the American Arts and Crafts movement throughout — from the spiral, Mackintosh-inspired, rose staircase to the multi-colored, Frank Lloyd Wright-influenced, stained-glass skylight windows to the white, stone-clad, pottery-like ovoids on the building’s exterior. And, in keeping with the Arts and Crafts philosophy, there are natural materials used throughout including more than 60,000 square feet of quarter-sawn American white oak and natural stone.
LT: That’s very impressive. Can you tell me more about the interior of the museum?
RC: The museum is five stories and 137,000 square feet. Visitors will pass through a charming park-like green area with period Batchelder and Grueby tile fountains and enter the museum’s first-floor grand atrium. Along with the skylight and spiral staircase, museum guests and visitors are greeted by a welcome center, café, museum store, and destination restaurant.
The second, third, fourth, and fifth floors contain more than 40,000 square feet of permanent gallery space that will hold the permanent Two Red Roses Foundation collection and 9,000 feet of temporary exhibition space. In addition, there is a library with period furniture and accessories, an auditorium, graphic studio, children’s gallery, and large event space.
LT: Now the big question everyone is asking: when will the museum be open to the public? I’m looking forward to seeing the finished product!
RC: I can tell you that construction is on schedule and we are planning to open in the fall of 2019 and hope that everyone will plan on visiting. Stay tuned.
The Two Red Roses Foundation has recently released two new books, both with stunning images from its collection:
Beauty in Common Things: American Arts and Crafts Pottery by Martin Eidelberg, Jonathan Clancy, and Kevin Tucker
Lenses Embracing the Beautiful: Pictorial Photographs by Christian Peterson
The Arts and Crafts movement in America was marked by the spirit of reform and the belief that traditional craftsmanship could ennoble a society overcome by rampant industrialization. Simplicity in style and honesty in construction had the power to transform a utilitarian object into a beautiful one, enhancing the lives of both maker and user. It is the mission of the Two Red Roses Foundation (TRRF) to promote understanding of the American Arts and Crafts movement through the collection, conservation, exhibition, and interpretation of the decorative and fine arts. Currently under construction in St. Petersburg, Florida, the future Museum of the American Arts and Crafts Movement (MAACM) will house more than 2,000 objects made between 1900 and 1930, displaying rare and often unique works by leading craftspeople and artists of the early 20th century.
In addition to the newly published books, Two Red Roses Foundation has previously published the four titles below:
Arts and Crafts Metalwork showcases the work of eleven designers and craftsmen from the period, including Gustav Stickley, Karl Kipp, Dirk van Erp, and the Roycrofters. Hundreds of color photographs feature more than 200 metal objects, while archival images of design sketches and magazine advertisements highlight the philosophy and working method behind these artisans and their creations.
Arts and Crafts Furniture features many of the most important furniture makers from the Arts and Crafts era, including Charles Rohlfs, Gustav Stickley’s Craftsman Workshops, Elbert Hubbard’s Roycrofters, the Byrdcliffe colony, the Stickley Brothers, and Greene & Greene. In addition to an examination of the design and fabrication of nearly 200 pieces, a special appendix is included that discusses the history and working practices of these furniture designers and craftsmen.
Arts and Crafts Tile presents sixteen tile makers represented in the collection, including Batchelder, Grueby, Marblehead, Newcomb, Paul Revere Pottery, Rookwood, and Van Briggle — each with a unique history within the shared atmosphere of the Arts and Crafts movement. The book thoroughly documents more than 150 objects, from individual 4 x 4–inch tiles to complete room installations.
Arts and Crafts Lighting examines 85 outstanding and innovative examples of electric light fixtures by some of the most well-known designers, architects, and firms from the early 20th century, including Elizabeth Eaton Burton, the Craftsman Workshops, Greene & Greene, and Louis H. Sullivan. More than 100 color plates display many objects in detail, often accompanied by design drawings, blueprints, and advertisements.
Visit the Two Red Roses website for the full catalog of available publications.
Consider supporting the efforts of the Museum of the American Arts and Crafts Movement by helping them build a comprehensive reference library that will be available to students, scholars, and others interested in researching subjects related to the period. Additional information on how to donate books, periodicals, catalogs, and more can be found here, along with their wish list for specific titles.