History of Art and Architecture

Rediscovering a Local Champion of Hand-Crafted Art

In 1971, Elizabeth Rockwell Raphael founded The Store for Arts and Crafts and People-Made Things in Verona, an initiative that represented the first steps towards the foundation of Contemporary Craft, now located in Pittsburgh's Strip District. This semester, undergraduate students Cyd Johnson and Kendall Dunn are working with the 2017 Andrew W. Mellon Fellow in Curation and Education Ben Ogrodnik to develop new digital resources exploring this history. Working with resources from Contemporary Craft, their final projects will draw on historical scrapbooks to explore Raphael’s pioneering exhibitions of arts and crafts. Students will also explore her innovative community outreach programs including the Sociable Workshop, where professional designers trained students, hobbyists, retirees and people with disabilities to make high-quality objects in 'the hand arts. Cyd and Kendall made the trip to Verona to visit the early locations of The Store, now occupied by a shoe shop and a fitness center. While there, they also discovered community history collections housed in the Verona Municipal Borough Building, and discussed their research with local businesses and city officials.

Find more about this story in the Collecting Knowledge Pittsburgh Newsletter