Initiatives in Art & Culture Celebrates Arts & Crafts in Cleveland

by Kate Nixon


The Forest City will play host to an annual conference on the Arts and Crafts movement this week Thursday, September 15th – Sunday, September 18th, 2022; the four-day event will show Cleveland as an Arts and Crafts city with a legacy of its own. Put on by the non-profit organization Initiatives in Art & Culture, the conference will also explore the city’s connection to Chicago: the contributions made by metalworkers, ceramicists, and architects helped to shape the style of Ohio’s metropolitan city. Each day will feature multiple tours of historic sites through the Cleveland area and environs that shows the development of Cleveland’s style and its historic relationship to the Arts and Crafts movement.

Oberlin College.


Thursday, September 15, 2022

Tours of Collections and Presentations at the Cleveland Museum of Art – On Thursday, September 15, 2022, the conference will begin at The Cleveland Museum of Art (CMA). The morning features tours of the Museum’s collections of American and Decorative Arts and related highlights by Mark Bassett of the Cleveland Institute of Art, CMA Chair of Decorative Art Mark Cole, Deputy Director and Chief Curator, Museum of Art, Munson–Williams–Proctor Arts Institute Stephen Harrison, CMA Curatorial Assistant Deirdre Vodanoff, and Leslie Cade, Director of the Ingalls Library and Museum Archives of the CMA.

Lunch will be followed by talks by Holly Witchey (Executive Director, Cleveland Philanthropy), Richard Guy Wilson (Commonwealth Professor Emeritus in Architectural History at the University of Virginia), Mark Bassett (adjunct faculty, Cleveland Institute of Art), and Stephen Harrison.


Birdseye View of Mall, looking south, According to Group Plan of August 1903. Cleveland State University. Michael Schwartz Library. Special Collections, Gift of Joseph E. Cole.


Friday, September 16, 2022

Stained Glass Windows at The First Presbyterian Church of Cleveland – On the morning of Friday, September 16, 2022, the conference will meet at the Old Stone Church, The First Presbyterian Church of Cleveland (Charles F. Schweinfurth, 1884) which features notable stained-glass windows among them four designed by Louis Comfort Tiffany and an impressive, wood truss, barrel-vaulted ceiling.

Society for Savings Building, Group Plan of 1903, and the Federal Building – We then visit Burnham & Root’s 1889 Society for Savings Building, the tallest building in Cleveland until 1896 and often considered to be Cleveland and Ohio’s first modern skyscraper. The building boasts an interior designed by William Prettyman with Walter Crane murals and a leaded glass skylight.  The next stop is Cleveland’s Group Plan of 1903, an ambitious city-planning scheme by Arnold W. Brunner, John M. Carrère, and Daniel Burnham. The Mall, to feature Beaux Arts buildings of uniform height, was to become the city’s functional and symbolic center. This plan was quashed in the 1920s by the Van Sweringen brothers’ decision to build their Union Terminal train station on Cleveland’s central plaza, Public Square. We will visit two of the seven buildings realized as  part of the plan (one of which was demolished).

Arnold W. Brunner’s Federal Building (now the Howard Metzenbaum Courthouse, 1903), the first building erected under the Group Plan, retains its original chandeliers, marble-tiled floors, wall panels, vaulted ceiling in the public lobby, and 63 murals by Francis Millet. Daniel Chester French’s sculptures, Jurisprudence and Commerce, are outside the main entrance. Walker & Weeks 1923 Cleveland Public Library features a marble interior, vaulted ceilings adorned with mythological and history paintings, elaborately decorated passageways, and three WPA murals. We proceed through The ARCADE (John Eisenmann for Eisenmann & Smith, 1890), two nine-story buildings joined by a five-story arcade with a glass skylight spanning over 300 feet and four balconies. The Skylight was built in 1890 by the Detroit Bridge Co. run by Stephen V. Harkness. We then visit George Browne Post’s 1903 Cleveland Trust Company. The building features important murals by Francis Millet, a leaded glass dome by Nicola D’Ascenzo and sculpture by Karl Bitters in its pediment.

Lunch and Learn at the Union Club of Cleveland(advance purchase required) with a keynote lecture by Anthony Hiti (principal, Hiti, DiFrancesco + Siebold) on the Club’s architect, Charles Schweinfurth.

A Visit to Rose Iron Works and TAP – Rose Iron Works, LLC will be the next stop. The company was founded in 1904 by Martin Rose, a highly skilled ornamental blacksmith trained in Budapest and Vienna. Still a family-owned source of architectural, ornamental, and sculptural metalwork, the firm is particularly well known for its art deco production designed by Paul Fehér. Jewelers Todd Pownell and Debra Rosen carry on the tradition of the Arts & Crafts Movement at their store TAP. The last stop of the day will be at their store, where their jewelry is entirely hand-fabricated, their process informed by respect for the innate properties of the noble metals and gemstones used and a profound awareness of their origins. Todd and Debra will be joined by Arts and Crafts metalwork collector Boice Lydell who will discuss his collections of the region’s metalwork and enamel.


The interior of the Garfield Memorial.


Saturday, September 17, 2022

Exploring Oberlin – On Saturday, September 17, 2022, the conference visits Oberlin. We begin at The First Church in Oberlin, United Church of Christ (cornerstone laid in 1842) with David Hill, Pastor. In a sanctuary that when built featured the largest auditorium west of the Alleghenies, services were led by Charles Grandison Finney, professor of Theology and then College’s Second president (1851 – 1865). Members of all Christian faiths who moved to Oberlin were absorbed into this one congregation. Annie Storr, Resident Scholar, Women’s Studies Research Center, Brandeis University will discuss The 1917 Oberlin Arts & Crafts Exhibition, and elaborate on the relationship between Chicago’s Ellen Gates Starr and the Arts & Crafts Movement in Cleveland and Environs. A tour of important campus buildings by architects Cass Gilbert, Robert Venturi,  Wallace K. Harrison, and Minoru Yamasaki follows.

Lunch at 1833 Restaurant at The Hotel Oberlin (advance purchase required)

Tour of the Allen Memorial Art Museum – attendees will tour the museum at (AMAM; 1917; 1977 addition, Robert Venturi). AMAM includes ironwork by Samuel Yellin and painted ceiling decorations by Frederick J. Wiley.

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Weltzheimer/Johnson House – Lastly, attendees will visit Frank Lloyd Wright’s Weltzheimer/Johnson House, which was the first of nine Usonian homes to be built in Ohio.


The interior of Wade View Cemetary.


Sunday, September 18, 2022

Lake View Cemetary and the James A. Garfield Memorial – On Sunday, September 18, 2022, the conference visits Lake View Cemetery and tours The James A. Garfield Memorial (George Keller, 1890), constructed of stone sourced locally from the quarries of the Cleveland Stone Company, and featuring a distinctive 180-foot tower, stained-glass windows, a golden dome, and exterior reliefs by Caspar Buberl depicting scenes from Garfield’s life. We also visit Wade Memorial Chapel (Hubbell & Benes, dedicated 1901), one of the few remaining structures with an interior entirely designed by Louis Comfort Tiffany and his studios. Lunch at Lake View Cemetery (founded in 1869) concludes the event (advance purchase required and recommended).


To register visit:

USE Ticket Option: Last Chance $700 in lieu $750; one day and student rates available

For information contact: [email protected]