Rudy Ciccarello is the founder of Museum of the American Arts and Crafts Movement (MAACM) in St. Petersburg, FL the only museum in the world dedicated exclusively to the American Arts and Crafts movement. Also the founder of The Two Red Roses Foundation nonprofit, Ciccarello built the museum to house his comprehensive collection of furniture, pottery, tiles, lighting, textiles, photography, fine arts and more from the movement. Rudy Ciccarello resides in Tarpon Springs.
I grew up in Rome, Italy. I was fortunate to have parents that appreciated art and antiques. I grew up around wonderful examples in our home and there were days when my parents would take me antique shopping, which I found both interesting and fun. These excursions made a lasting impact on me. I would say my interest, appreciation and curiosity in art has only grown over the years as my eye for quality has become more discerning and sophisticated.
I became particularly interested in photography and took it quite seriously for years, eventually attending for a few years the New England School of Photography. I still love the technical process involved in photography.
Over the past few decades, I have devoted most of my time and passion into collecting art from the American arts and crafts movement and showcasing the many gifted artists from the period. It is why MAACM exists today.
Things are moving incredibly fast in art, especially in the world of AI. I still believe and hope, however, that there will never be a substitute for beautiful, original, unique art made from the hands and mind of the artist.
I think the arts and crafts movement is alive and well, but not without its challenges. Public understanding and appreciation among those real concerns. One of the key concepts integrated into MAACM’s mission statement is its commitment to education. In addition to making my collection available to the public via MAACM, I have published seven catalogs written by nationally known authors that provide a historical and visual account of the collection. I continue to work to help make as many people as possible come to understand the importance and, really, the history, beauty, artists and craftsmanship involved with the art of this movement.
I continue to bring important new art into MAACM. Our newest exhibition, on display now is called “Dignity and Grace: These Humbler Metals.” It is an assemblage of more than 300 Arts and Crafts metalwork objects. In November, “The Arts and Crafts Masterpieces from the collection of the Two Red Roses Foundation” will present twelve unique, historically important objects, never exhibited before and not to be found in any other museums.
My hope is that the arts scene, particularly in St. Petersburg, continues to grow, thrive and prosper. I hope the younger generation of philanthropists, corporations and local and state governments will support museums like MAACM and other artistic ventures and enterprises. Without generous financial support the future of many of our valued institutions is, unfortunately, fragile.
Tarpon Springs is a great community with a unique history and culture. A large Greek population that attracts tens of thousands of visitors for the annual Epiphany celebration every year – great food, great fishing, great friendships to be made.
People may not know that I’m an avid boater, fisherman and underwater diver. I love to cook, play foosball and I avoid the spotlight at all costs. If I could learn any skill, it would be the ability to play the piano.
Tampa Bay is a wonderful place to live, work, play, and enjoy one of the most active and diverse art scenes in the country. With so many museums located within a few blocks of each other, and so much world class art to see, there is truly something for everyone. Several times recently, St. Petersburg has been named the number one arts destination in the country among mid-sized cities in the country.
A perfect day, to me, is seeing hundreds of museum visitors, including many families with children, browsing through our galleries with smiles on their faces.
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