On September 7, 2021, the Museum of the American Arts and Crafts Movement (MAACM) opened to the public. Grand opening propaganda claims it is the only museum in the world dedicated exclusively to the American Arts and Crafts movement that swept the world from the mid-19th century to 1930.
The MAACM, says its website, was founded by local philanthropist and collector Rudy Ciccarello. MAACM is St. Petersburg’s newest museum, featuring period architecture, incredible works of decorative art, and is located in the downtown waterfront arts district.
Ciccarello, along with Alfonso Architects, designed and oversaw the incredible task of creating the Museum of the American Arts and Crafts Movement in St. Petersburg, Florida. Too bad the exterior of the building looks like a mid-century Edsel Ford dealership.
Not a whit of the building’s outside face offers a hint of the amazing Arts & Crafts architectural era it is designed to champion. We digress.
The five-story, 137,000 square-foot museum offers a grand atrium, skylights, and a spiral staircase—all adorned with period art, light fixtures, windows, fireplaces, and more. MAACM features more than 40,000 square feet of gallery space, as well as a destination restaurant with private dining rooms, a retail store, an upscale café, a children’s gallery, a reference library, a theater, a graphic studio, a beautiful event space for weddings and corporate events, and an outdoor green space enhanced by original period tiles and fountains.
Emerging at the end of the Victorian era in England, the Arts and Crafts movement was fueled by anxieties about the quality of life in the industrial era and the rise of mass-produced goods. Arts and Crafts designers sought to reform both decorative design and daily life, creating objects that were beautiful and functional. In America, the Arts and Crafts movement spread across the country from approximately 1890-1930.
The tenets of the movement – simplicity in design, honesty in materials, hand craftsmanship, and depicting the natural world – are still widely valued today. The most important artists and enterprises of the American Arts and Crafts movement are represented at MAACM.
A&C aficionados will appreciate the works of Gustav Stickley, Charles Rohlfs, Frank Lloyd Wright, the Roycrofters, William Grueby, Newcomb Pottery, Margaret Patterson, Greene, and Greene, Louis Sullivan, and many other gifted craftsmen and women. We hope that will include works by Charles Rennie Mackintosh, William Morris, Louis Comfort Tiffany, Robert Ashbee, Charles Voysey, and John Ruskin…not to mention the latter-day works of Dirk Van Erp and Florence Koehler.
It is a delight that this museum exists to immerse oneself in an era of genuine craftsmanship and original European and American design, including the celebration of Arts & Crafts furniture, pottery, tiles, lighting, textiles, photography, fine arts, woodblocks, metalwork, period room installations, and more.