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Arts & Crafts Conference in Minneapolis

The Arts & Crafts Movement: The Intersection of Regionalism and Internationalism — A Living Tradition (June 22 – 25, 2006 )

The eighth annual Arts and Crafts conference takes place in Minneapolis and environs under the aegis of the University of Minnesota’s Department of Art History, and in conjunction with the reopening of the Minneapolis Institute of Arts (MIA). The MIA, which houses one of the finest collections of decorative arts of the period, will also be the site of formal sessions and other activities.

This conference explores how foreign influences were brought to bear on the region’s art and architecture, and how local practitioners transformed international influences to an individualized regional expression. We discuss the effect of trade and of travel between cities of major figures in the movement whose work is evident in Buffalo, Chicago, Minnesota and elsewhere throughout the nation, thus coming closer to understanding the dissemination of influence.

Download the conference brochure, or continue reading the whole conference introduction below.

Legendary figures – among them craftsman and teacher Ernest Batchelder who came from Pasadena, Chicago architects Frank Lloyd Wright and Louis Sullivan, and designer and design purveyor John Bradstreet – left their imprint on the city and its environs. Emphasizing the functional, whether in designing utilitarian objects or in placing ornament, these individuals drew upon Japanese, Byzantine, Persian, Glaswegian, and other vocabularies, fusing them with an awareness of the local geography to create a regionalized internationalism in design. This emphasis was wedded to a respect for the craftsman’s work whether or not technology was employed; an admiration of simplicity and functionalism that has been seen to prefigure modernism; and a reverence for nature in the sensitivity to seasons manifest in architectural and decorative design. Contemporary expression of the Arts and Crafts tradition is another focus of this conference as we consider how the movement lives on in the work of designers and artisans today.


Among topics to be addressed are: the architecture of Sullivan, Wright and Elmslie and the larger Prairie School, the Handicraft Guild and its impact, women as practitioners, design education, and the dissemination and transmutation of influence. We examine media ranging from terra cotta and ceramics to metals and architecture. Visits to Elmslie and Purcell’s Purcell-Cutts House, Ellis’s Pillsbury Building, Sullivan’s National Farmers Bank in Owatonna, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Loveness Houses, and the Donaldson House partially executed by John Bradstreet provide opportunities for examining the region’s expression of the Arts and Crafts movement. In-depth exploration of MIA collections enhance understanding of art and process in decorative arts produced during the period, while a visit to Warren Mackenzie’s studio is an exceptional opportunity to consider the continuation of the Art and Crafts tradition.


PRESENTERS: Among those who have agreed to deliver papers are: Marcia Anderson, Senior Curator of Collections, Minnesota Historical Society; W. Scott Braznell, independent scholar and specialist in modern American design; Jason Busch, Assistant Curator, Department of Architecture, Design, Decorative Arts, Craft and Sculpture, Minneapolis Institute of Arts (MIA); Sharon Darling, Director, Motorola Museum and author of landmark works on Chicago metalwork, furniture, ceramics and glass; Deborah Hegstrom, doctoral candidate, University of Minnesota, and Education Department, MIA; Eileen Michels, Professor of Architectural History, University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, MN; Jennifer Komar Olivarez, Associate Curator, Department of Architecture Design Decorative Arts Crafts & Sculpture, MIA; Cheryl Robertson, Curator of Decorative Arts, Wadsworth Atheneum; David Ryan, Design Curator, MIA; Sarah Sik, doctoral candidate, University of Minnesota and authority on the work on John Bradstreet; Julie L. Sloan, stained-glass consultant in North Adams, Massachusetts and adjunct Professor of Historic Preservation, Columbia University; Gabriel P. Weisberg, Professor of Art History, University of Minnesota; and Richard Guy Wilson, Commonwealth Professor of Architectural History, University of Virginia. Christopher Monkhouse, Senior Curator, Department of Architecture, Design, Decorative Arts, Craft and Sculpture, MIA and Frederick Asher, Chairman, Art History Department, University of Minnesota, will also participate. The conference is organized by Lisa Koenigsberg, founder and president, Initiatives in Art & Culture and adjunct professor of arts, NYU, who originated the series of annual Arts and Crafts conference in 1999 and has been responsible for them since then.


Minneapolis Conference hotels — A special rate is available to University of Minnesota Conference participants at the following hotels:


Graves/601 Hotel: Located at 601 First Avenue North, Minneapolis. Single and double occupancy rooms available at the conference rate of $179 by calling (866) 523-1100. Please identify yourself as a "U of M Conference” participant. Reservations must be made by May 22, 2006 and there is a 72-hour cancellation policy.


Doubletree Guest Suites: Located at 1101 LaSalle Avenue, Minneapolis. Single through quad occupancy rooms available at the conference rate of $119 by calling 800.245.8011. Please identify yourself as a "U of M conference” participant.


REGISTRATION - The conference fee is $495. To register, download and complete the registration coupon and fax it to 612.624.5359 or mail it to: CCE Information Center, University of Minnesota, 20 Coffey Hall, 1420 Eckles Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55108-6069 Checks should be made payable to the UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA. Full-time students with an ID, receive a discounted rate of $200. No refunds provided after June 10, 2006. Register online Event ID is 178960. For additional information: Email Lisa Koenigsberg or visit