Florida Opens Its First Museum Devoted to the American Arts and Crafts Movement


St. Petersburg, Florida, now has the sole museum dedicated to the American Arts and Crafts movement of the late 19th and early 20th century. Aptly named, the Museum of the American Arts and Crafts Movement celebrates a creative philosophy that embraced fine artisanship, while rejecting the impersonal nature of industrialization.

In an article for the Tampa Bay Times, Maggie Duffy writes that Rudy Ciccarello, a local businessman, philanthropist, and collector, is the brain behind the museum. Aside from the 800-plus objects in the institution's permanent collection, the Two Red Roses Foundation is home to a private collection of arts and crafts objects owned by Ciccarello.


The museum comprises a gallery, a theater, a reference library, an outdoor garden, an event space, a café, a restaurant, a theater and a design studio, in addition to collection spaces and exhibition areas. Tiles, fountains, windows and lights are examples of period elements included in the design.


In addition to furniture, pottery, woodblocks, and leaded glass items, the museum collection contains more than 2,000 items. The site will host temporary exhibitions as well as some 800 works at any given time, according to the Art Newspaper.

A resurgence of interest in handcrafts was triggered by industrialization anxieties in late Victorian England, wrote design historian and curator Monica Obniski for the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2008. Artisans in Boston founded the Society of Arts and Crafts in 1897 to further the movement in the United States in the late 19th Century. Other cities also started their own decentralized organizations, such as Rose Valley in Pennsylvania that was open to the public.


People involved in the arts and crafts movement stressed the importance of a broader participation in designing and creating artistic items.

Citations


Gerhson, Livia. “First Museum Dedicated to American Arts and Crafts Movement Opens in Florida” Smithsonian Magazine, https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/museum-american-arts-and-crafts-movement-opens-florida-180978594/. Accessed 22 September 2021.

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