Dedication to Include Unveiling of Viktor Schreckengost Way
The life's work of Viktor Schreckengost – renowned artist, educator and pioneer of modern American industrial design known as "the American DaVinci" – has been donated to Cleveland State University's Michael Schwartz Library for preservation and study by future generations of scholars.
The archives will be officially dedicated on Thursday, Sept. 30, with a program and reception sponsored by CSU, American DaVinci LLC, the Cleveland Institute of Art and the District of Design. The event, at CSU's Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs at 1717 Euclid Avenue, will honor the memory of Schreckengost, who passed away in 2008 at the age of 101.
The program, from 4 to 8 p.m., will include a panel discussion, "Vik Lives: Creative Forces of Cleveland," the unveiling of the Viktor Schreckengost Way street sign at East 17th Street and Euclid Avenue by Cleveland City Councilman Joe Cimperman, the dedication ceremony and a reception. The street sign was designed by Matt Beckwith, a 2006 CIA alumnus who is now an instructor of industrial design at CIA.
The event is by invitation only; however, media are encouraged to attend.
Selected items from the Schreckengost archives will be on display at Cleveland State in the coming weeks. From September 20 through October 8, the display will be on the first floor of the Michael Schwartz Library; beginning October 20, a rotating display will be on view in the library's Special Collections area.
"Cleveland State is privileged to be the steward of these archives," said Glenda Thornton, director of the Michael Schwartz Library. "We look forward to sharing them with scholars here in Cleveland and around the world."
The archives consists of correspondence, drawings, catalogs, photos and other research material produced during Schreckengost's career with various companies and projects, including Murray Bicycle, General Electric, Harris Intertype, Salem China and the U.S. Navy.
The materials were presented to CSU by Gene Schreckengost, the artist's widow, and American DaVinci LLC, an organization dedicated to preserving his name and body of work.
"Viktor Schreckengost's archives are a living gift to Northeast Ohio. Vik lived a life of meaningful innovation and built entire product categories and industries through the power of his mind and the gift of his art," said Ned Hill, dean of CSU's Levin College of Urban Affairs.
Dan Cuffaro, chair of the design environment and head of industrial design at CIA, added, "It is rare that one individual's comprehensive body of work is compiled into a single collection like the Schreckengost archives. Our hope is that the establishment of the archives at CSU is the first step toward perpetuating Viktor's legacy and bringing his ideas to a wider audience, as it will have a profound impact on this creative community."
Wally Berry, manager and CEO of American DaVinci, added, "We are committed to advancing the works of Viktor Schreckengost and working closely with the Cleveland Institute of Art and Cleveland State University to promote industrial design and innovation in the Northeast Ohio area."
Viktor Schreckengost combined artistic and functional brilliance in his designs for products ranging from pedal cars, printing presses and kitchen appliances to furniture, dinnerware and toys. He also created hundreds of watercolors, sculptures, decorative ceramics and works of public art that have been collected by the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and others.
Born in Sebring, Ohio, in 1906, he learned the craft of sculpting in clay from his father. In the mid-1920s, he enrolled at the Cleveland School of Art (now The Cleveland Institute of Art) to study cartooning, but soon changed his focus to ceramics. Upon graduation in 1929, he won a scholarship to study ceramics in Vienna, Austria. Returning home to Cleveland, he became the youngest faculty member at CIA at age 25. He went on to found the first industrial design program in the nation at CIA.
By the mid-1930s, he began pursuing his interest in industrial design. For American Limoges, he created the first modern mass-produced dinnerware, called Americana. For Cleveland's White Motor Company, he designed the first cab-over-engine truck. One of his most famous creations, the Art Deco-inspired "Jazz Bowl," was designed for Eleanor Roosevelt, when her husband, Franklin D., was governor of New York. Two additional bowls were later commissioned for the family mansion in Hyde Park, N.Y., and for the White House.
At age 100, he received the National Medal of Arts from President George W. Bush during a White House ceremony.
Founded in 1964, Cleveland State University is a public institution that provides a dynamic setting for engaged learning. With an enrollment of more than 17,000 students, eight colleges and approximately 200 academic programs, CSU is listed among America's top colleges by U.S. News and World Report.
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