Museum of the American Arts and Crafts Movement in St. Petersburg opens Sept. 73 min read
ST. PETERSBURG — The long-awaited Museum of the American Arts and Crafts Movement announced that it will open to the public on Sept. 7.
It is the world’s first museum dedicated to the movement, which happened between about 1890 to 1930 and revived and elevated handcraft in the wake of the Industrial Revolution.
Founded by Rudy Ciccarello, a local businessman, philanthropist and collector, the museum showcases more than 800 works from its permanent collection and that of the Two Red Roses Foundation, of which Ciccarello is the president and founder. The Two Red Roses Foundation’s holdings exceed 2,000 objects personally collected by Ciccarello, and is considered the most important private collection of the American Arts and Crafts movement in the world.
“This museum will be the epicenter for the study of the American Arts and Crafts movement,” said Ciccarello 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.”
The museum was designed by Tampa-based architect Alberto Alfonso in close collaboration with Ciccarello, with the principles of the movement. The five-story, 137,000-square-foot museum features a grand atrium, skylights and a spiral staircase, made with handcrafted Venetian plaster, wood, metal and stone finishes. An outdoor garden features period tiles and fountains.
Furniture, pottery, tiles, metalwork, lighting, leaded glass, woodblock prints, paintings and photographs by the movement’s leading artists, craftsmen and companies (including Gustav Stickley, Tiffany Studios and Frank Lloyd Wright) are showcased in 40,000 square feet of gallery space.
Installations include a wood-paneled room from the architects Greene and Greene, an entire tiled bathroom and a boathouse floor from Grueby Faience and Tile Company, and a 600-tile mural from Rookwood Pottery.
Three galleries will showcase temporary exhibitions, two of which will be on display when the museum opens: “Love, Labor, and Art: The Roycroft Enterprise” will showcase more than 75 works made by the Roycroft community, and “Lenses Embracing the Beautiful: Pictorial Photographs from the Two Red Roses Foundation” will feature more than 150 pictorial photographs.
The museum also features an education studio, a graphic studio, a research library and a theater. On the first Saturday of each month, the Education Studio will host MAACM Family Days for art-making, performances and family-friendly gallery tours. Third Thursday programming includes themed activities and demonstrations, while the monthly Sunday Film Series features films inspired by the collection or exhibitions, followed by a docent tour.
The Museum Store features handcrafted gifts and jewelry, and runs the length of the museum’s ground level. Also on that floor is the Arts Café, where guests can grab lunch items, snacks, coffee and beverages while the museum is open during the day.
Ambrosia, the destination restaurant, is decorated with furniture and artwork from the movement’s period, including a tiled fireplace.
An event space is available to rent and features an 18-foot Brunswick Mont Oro bar from 1900, antique breakfronts and hand-crafted pub tables.
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If you go
The Museum of the American Arts and Crafts Movement opens on Sept. 7. $25; $23 seniors, $20 active military firefighters and police; $10 youth ages 6-17, free for kids 5 and younger. Memberships are available. 10 a.m.- 5 p.m. Tuesday-Wednesday and Friday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Thursday, noon-5 p.m. Sunday. 355 Fourth St. N. 727-440-4859. museumaacm.org.