Thursday May 18th

Rich McClellan, Former Director, Viktor Schreckengost Foundation

Victor Schreckengost, the “American da Vinci,” was a Cleveland artist, teacher, and industrial designer who reshaped the field of American design and influenced generations of students. Mr. Schreckengost combined artistic and functional brilliance in his designs for products ranging widely from bicycles, printing presses, kitchen appliances, furniture, dinnerware, and toys. He also created hundreds of watercolors, sculptures, and decorative ceramics –– including the American Art Deco icon: The Jazz Bowl. He founded the first industrial design program in the US at the Cleveland Institute of Art. For more than 70 years, he instructed nearly 1000 students, who have produced billions of dollars of successful products for American industry. At age 100, he received the National Medal of Arts from President George W. Bush during a White House ceremony.

The son of a commercial potter in Sebring Ohio, Victor Schreckengost learned the craft of sculpting in clay from his father. He originally enrolled at the Cleveland School of Art (now Cleveland Institute of Art or CIA) to study cartoon making, but after seeing an exhibition at the Cleveland Museum of Art, he changed his focus to ceramics. At the age of 25, he became the youngest faculty member at CIA. In 1931, he won the first of several awards for excellence in ceramics at the Cleveland Museum of Art, and his works were exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, Panama-Pacific Exposition San Francisco, and elsewhere.

Mick Beyer, President, 20th Century Society USA

The Kokoon Arts Club was formed in Cleveland in 1911; most of the members were graphic artists and lithographers who pledged to explore “New Art.” That exploration included sketching excursions and lectures, as well as visits to theatrical and musical productions. It was the classic story of the avant-garde opposing the old guard–at the time most Cleveland artists were represented by the conservative Cleveland Society of Artists. Unlike their traditional counterparts, Kokoon Club members were inspired by the Modernism that was sweeping Europe. And with time, they formed what came to be known as the “Cleveland School” of artists.

But the Kokoon Club was most famous for the annual Bal Masque parties, with elaborate costumes and venue decorations based upon a specific theme. And even before the party, there was fierce competition among members to design the invitations and posters—always with the mission of promoting Modernist art in Cleveland.

Christopher Richards, the Curator and Collections Manager at ArtNeo, kindly agreed to pull a few Kokoon Club pieces from storage, and display them at the ArtNeo Gallery at 78th Street Studios (our Friday evening event.) ArtNeo is the non-profit organization that preserves and promotes artists from Northeast Ohio.

Stephan, Artist-in-Residence, Art Deco Society of California

The designs created by Erte during his long and illustrious life influenced not only the world of theater, film, and fashion, but an entire art movement as well. The genius of Erte is evidenced by an enormous body of work that is considered among the most influential and unique of the 20th Century. In 1915, Erte began an association with Harper’s Bazaar by designing covers of each of their magazines for the next 22 years. The influence of his work, because of the high visibility of this periodical, influenced an entire art movement that was to become known as Art Deco. Erte also created original costume and fashion designs for many of the era’s renowned screen actresses, including Joan Crawford, Lillian Gish, and Marion Davies. His creations for the stage included extravagant design for productions at such venues as Radio City Music Hall, the Casino de Paris, and the Paris Opera. At the age of 75, Erte was encouraged to embark on a new career and begin to recreate the remarkable designs of his youth in bronze and serigraphy. Original Erte designs grace the permanent collections of prestigious museums throughout the world, including New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Smithsonian Institution, and London’s Victoria & Albert Museum.


Many delegates wear amazing vintage fashion to World Congresses, so here is your chance to share the story about your favorite Deco piece or outfit. This is intended to be fun and informal, and is open to all.

TUDOR ARMS HOTEL (originally The Cleveland Club) (1933)
10660 Carnegie Avenue
Architect: Frank Meade

This Gothic Revival building opened as the swanky, exclusive Cleveland Club. The enormous structure, designed by Frank Meade, was the tallest and grandest in University Circle. The 12-story building boasted ballrooms, a swimming pool, bowling alley, tall ceilings, huge leaded windows, and intricate and expensive detailing–– and beautiful views of Downtown Cleveland. (Frank Meade also designed countless extravagant homes in Shaker Heights and Cleveland Heights.) The club hosted lavish parties and events, but the difficult economy of the Great Depression forced the Cleveland Club to end its lease in 1939.

Near the end of The Depression the building evolved into a hotel known as the Tudor Arms, and became a noted entertainment venue. Jazz musicians kept its Grand Ballroom—the same one we’re using for our Art Deco Dinner Dance–swinging well into the night. In the early 1960s, it became a graduate student dormitory. In 2010, a $22 million restoration plan was completed, and reopened as a Doubletree Hotel. Hope everyone enjoys dancing on the restored wooden ballroom floor!