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Arts & Crafts Movement gets a dedicated museum in St Petersburg, Florida

The new institution has been founded by the private collector and businessman and Rudy Ciccarello

Museum of the American Arts and Crafts Movement © Joe Brennan

The Museum of the American Arts and Crafts Movement (MAACM)—the first ever institution dedicated exclusively to the international art and design trend that arose at the end of the 19th century as a reaction against the Industrial Revolution’s ethos of mass production—opens its doors in St Petersburg, Florida on 7 September. The museum, founded by the Florida-based pharmaceutical businessman Rudy Ciccarello, will house his private collection and the holdings of the Two Red Roses Foundation, a non-profit educational organisation Ciccarello founded in 2004.

“This museum will be the epicenter for the study of the American Arts and Crafts movement,” Ciccarello says in a statement. “Our mission is to preserve and share these beautiful works of art with the public and to teach future generations to appreciate hand craftsmanship and honest design.” 

With more than 40,000sq. ft of gallery space, the new museum will be housed in a five-storey, 137,000sq. ft structure designed by the Tampa-based architect Alberto Alfonso. The institution will also have an outdoor garden, an education studio, graphic studio, research library, theater, event space, café, and restaurant. Ciccarello first bought the 3.2-acre parcel of land for the museum in 2014, but construction on the building was delayed due to a last minute expansion, and then production hold ups caused by the pandemic.

Frederick Hurten Rhead, Glazed earthenware panel for overmantel (1910), manufactured by Academy of Fine Arts, People’s University, University City, MO TRRF Collection

The building “is inspired by the Arts and Crafts movement in its detailing and customisation of material and joinery,” Alfonso says. “[It] will serve the collection in its presentation of precious objects in a modern, functional, and didactic way. The spaces will embrace natural light and respond to the different scales of the objects they hold.”

The collection includes more than 2,000 objects related to the American Arts and Crafts movement, ranging from furniture, pottery, ceramic tiles and architectural faience, metalwork, woodblocks, fine art, lighting, textiles, and leaded glass. Among the artists, craftsmen, and companies represented are Gustav Stickley, Charles Rohlfs, the Byrdcliffe Colony, Tiffany Studios, Rookwood Pottery, Newcomb Pottery, and Arthur Wesley Dow. Roughly 800 works will be on display at a time, and the museum will also host temporary exhibitions.

The first shows, opening in early September, will be Love, Labor, and Art: The Roycroft Enterprise, a look at more than 75 objects built by a school of craftsmen founded in upstate New York in the 1890s by Elbert Hubbard, and Lenses Embracing the Beautiful: Pictorial Photographs from the Two Red Roses Foundation, an overview of photographers including Alfred Stieglitz and Edward S. Curtis.