Initiatives in Art and Culture presents The Arts & Crafts Movement: Chicago & Environs 21st Annual Arts and Crafts Conference September 19 – 22, 2019

21st Annual Conference on the Arts & Crafts Movement
Initiatives in Art and Culture explores Chicago as a hub for the Arts & Crafts Movement and subsequent expressions of the ongoing living spirit of the movement.

September 19 to 22, 2019
Formal sessions will take place at Glessner House, 1800 South Prairie Avenue, Chicago.
For more information, call:646-485-1952 or email:

Registration Link

Chicago’s expressions of the Arts and Crafts Movement are extraordinary. Its architecture,interiors, art, and decorative objects of the period embody something that was completely new while at the same time thoroughly rooted in tradition. H.H. Richardson’s Glessner House (1887), Burnham & Root’s Rookery (1888), and Louis Sullivan’s Auditorium (1889), just for example, exemplify this duality. So too do Frank Lloyd Wright’s Chicago masterworks.

Through talks, site visits, and collections tours, we will consider how the City’s architects, artists, and artisans developed a design vocabulary specific to the region. Perhaps they felt less constrained by convention than their peers to the east, imbued with a unique sense of possibility by a boundless horizon, whether that of Lake Michigan on one side or of the frontier (however diminished) on the other.

In our exploration, we will consider a spectrum of styles, keeping in mind that the Movement is defined by its ethos, principles, and ideals. We will examine the evolution of taste, sources of influence, the roles of relationships in defining artistic product, materials and methods of fabrication, and the use of art as a lever for social change (as at Hull House). Patronage is also key to our consideration.

Conference Highlights include:

  • The Glessner House Museum (H. H. Richardson 1887)
  • R.W. Glasner Studio (Edgar Miller 1928-1932, remodelled 1946)
  • Home and Studio (Frank Lloyd Wright 1895)
  • ​Unity Temple (Frank Lloyd Wright 1909)
  • The Robie House (Frank Lloyd Wright 1910)
  • Second Presbyterian Church (James Renwick 1874; Howard van Doren Shaw, interior after 1900 fire)
  • Crab Tree Farm, a superlative collection of English and American decorative arts displayed in settings created to reflect the aesthetics of the Arts and Crafts movement
  • A walking tour of downtown Chicago featuring sites such as:
  • Marquette Building (Holabird & Roche 1895, featuring Tiffany mosaic murals)
  • The Rookery (Burnham & Root 1888, with subsequent work by Frank Lloyd Wright)
  • Monadnock Building (Burnham & Root 1891).

Among those participating are:

  • Ward Miller, Executive Director, Preservation Chicago;
  • Zac Bleicher, Executive Director, Edgar Miller Legacy;
  • Heather Becker, CEO, The Conservation Center;
  • Kathleen Cummings, independent architectural historian whose focus is the work of George W. Maher;
  • Gunny Harboe, FAIA, President, Harboe Architects;
  • Nate Lielasus, Northworks Architects + Planning Board of Directors, Friends of Historic Second Church History of the Art and Architecture of Second Presbyterian Church;
  • William Tyre, Executive Director, Glessner House;
  • Richard Guy Wilson, Commonwealth Professor of Architectural History, University of Virginia.


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