Thursday, December 18, 2014

Three Canton Exhibits Highlight Prolific Folk Artist Who Documented 19th Century Pennsylvania and Ohio

Ferdinand A. Brader, immigrated to America from Switzerland and for more than 20 years produced almost 1000 intricate pencil drawings. Most are accurate likenesses of farms and local houses from Eastern, Pennsylvania to Ohio.

The large drawings on craft paper have only been recently appreciated as both great folk art and a detailed look at rural life in the region.

From the Canton Art Museum exhibition page

"Ferdinand A. Brader was born in Kaltbrunn, St. Gallen, Switzerland in 1833. Many details of Brader’s early life are incomplete, but by the mid-1860s, he had married and had a son—and he had also likely begun drawing. Brader came to the United States in the early 1870s (according to research, possibly following a brother) and traveled extensively in Pennsylvania and Ohio. As payment for room and board, he created large pencil drawings of the farms and properties where he was given temporary residence. Families have passed down stories that he slept in a barn or other outbuildings.

Brader’s monumental drawings (30-by-40 inches and larger)—using paper and graphite pencil, which were readily available at the time—are dramatically accurate scenes, and they are mostly portrayed from an elevated perspective. Brader’s first drawings of farms and homes were made in Pennsylvania and dated 1879. Brader presumably created several hundred drawings in the counties of Berks, Lancaster, Montgomery, and Lebanon and as far west as the counties of Somerset, Beaver, and Allegheny. The majority of Brader’s drawings were done in Ohio. His first Ohio drawings appeared in Tuscarawas and Columbiana counties in 1884. From research, it appears Brader’s Ohio pictures were done in nine different adjoining counties: Portage, Medina, Wayne, Stark, Summit, Carroll, Columbiana, Mahoning, and Tuscarawas, continuing through 1895, with the majority featuring subjects in Portage and Stark counties. While best known for his farmstead pictures, Brader also recorded scenes of both the Portage and Stark County Infirmaries; railroad stations; and rural industries, such as grist mills, potteries, mines, and quarries."

The curator even put all the known locations on Google Maps!

From the New York Times

"Brader was, by all accounts, homeless. A German-speaking native of northeast Switzerland, he came to the United States in the 1870s, around the age of 40, after a career carving wooden molds for baked goods and textile-printing equipment. He left behind a wife, Maria Katharina Karolina, and a son, Carl Ferdinand, in Switzerland; little is known about them.
His drawings filled cheap paper sheets up to nearly five feet long, depicting window frames, weather vanes, porch benches, street signs and pets. He also created flowery birth certificates for his clients’ children.  
Andrew Richmond, a curator of the Canton exhibitions, said that Brader catered to industrious immigrant families proud of their new acreage. The marketing pitch, Mr. Richmond said, was in effect, “Why not capture the dream in a drawing and hang it over the fireplace?”  
Brader was paid for his work partly with room and board. He advertised by displaying renderings at stores in nearby towns. In the winter, when he could not sketch outdoors, he moved into public infirmaries. He eventually went back in Switzerland, after inheriting a small family fortune, but died before he could spend much of it. "

All three exhibits run from December  4, 2014 - March 15, 2015

Canton Museum of Art
1001 Market Avenue North,
Canton, Ohio

McKinley Museum
800 McKinley Monument Drive, NW
Canton, Ohio

Little Art Gallery,
North Canton Public Library
185 North Main Street,
North Canton, Ohio

Obviously, I would love for a local museum like The Frick, Westmoreland or Heinz History Center to host an exhibit. Sadly, this probably won't happen.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

12/10/14 - 12/17/14 Arts and Urbanism Roundup

Note: Weekly news dominated by police brutality and abuse issues. Hopefully, this will not always be the case.


Pittsburgh evening street parking charges delayed (Pittsburgh Post Gazette)

Many in Allegheny County share the transit pain (Pittsburgh Post Gazette)

Once a trend, creative church reuse is now a modern tradition in Pittsburgh (Pop City)

Forbes ranks Pittsburgh as America's second smartest city (Forbes)


White Castle will close all 5 restaurants in the Cleveland/Akron area (

Cleveland mayor on collision course with Justice Department over police violence (

Cleveland Police's telling response to Tamir Rice and the DOJ report (Rust Wire)

Canadian columnist sees Cleveland's HealthLine BRT as a model (Toronto Sun)

Many long-eligible acts headed for 2015 Rock Hall class in Cleveland (WKSU News)


An illustrated mythology splashes over Akron Art Museum walls (WKSU News)

West Virginia and Appalachia

Why did Green Bank West Virginia ban wireless signals? For Science. (The Atlantic)

Last public hanging in West Virginia remembered with historic marker (The News Center)

Kentucky's moonlight schools (Appalachian History)

Other Urbanism and Transit News

Interactive Map: US police have killed at least 3,100 people since 2000 (Vox) (There is no official database of police fatalities)

Police brutality and living out of fear (Time Magazine)

San Fransisco cops found guilty of theft and corruption (KTVU News)

Texas cop uses stun gun on elderly man over inspection sticker (Huffington Post)

Video shows cops lied about traffic stop death of elderly man in Florida (CBS News)

San Jose cop suspended for threatening protestors of police brutality on Twitter (Vice News)

Time for a police offenders registry: A police job is a privilege not a right (Reason)

Did Congress stop marijuana legalization in D.C.? (Reason)

Regional transit app on the way for Chicago commuters (Mobile Payments Today)

Five signs America is falling in love with public transit (CNN Travel)

NYPD still doesn't investigate all fatal traffic accidents (Streetsblog)

The high cost of unwalkable school districts (Streetsblog)

A widely used planning manual tends to recommend building far too many roads (Citylab)

The Chinese government is building "affordable housing", in Brooklyn (Citylab)

Towards canine equity in the city (The Urbanist)

Other Arts and Archeology News

19 free art museums you should visit over the holidays (Huffington Post)

The evolving face of Santa, as seen in the Smithsonian's vast collections (

Cathedrals hunt for stolen bible pages worth millions (The Art Newspaper)

Getting to know the artisans who make other people's art (Hyperallergic)

Overcoming conflict: India and Pakistan to share pavilion at Venice Biennale (The Art Newspaper)

Smithsonian's Asian Art collection goes online (The Art Newspaper)

Virtual galleries open new markets for art (BBC News)

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

12/4/14 - 12/10/14 Arts and Urbanism Roundup


Cleveland officer who shot 14 year old considered unfit for duty by another police department (PBS Newshour)

National questions about police hit home in Cleveland (New York Times)

Cleveland Police evade Ohio's mandatory DNA collection law (Jurist)

Major expansion of The Cleveland Institute of Art nears completion (


Port Authority drivers ordered to stand trial for Pittsburgh bus crash (Pittsburgh Post Gazette)

Pittsburgh mayor stars on reality TV show, "Undercover Boss" (Pittsburgh Post Gazette)

LBPC to unveil plans for a more walkable, bikeable Lawrenceville (Bike Pittsburgh)

US Steel keeps headquarters in Pittsburgh for a price (Pennsylvania Independent)

State liquor laws hurt young musicians (Pittsburgh City Paper)


Why 2015 could be the year for medical marijuana legalization in Pennsylvania (Pennsylvania Independent)

Climbing employee pension costs squeeze state budget (Pennsylvania Independent)

No escape from pension math in Pennsylvania (Bloomberg News)

Harvard study ranks Pennsylvania among top 5 most corrupt states (CBS Philly)

Philadelphia regional transit system, SEPTA finally ditching tokens and paper tickets (NBC 4)
Other Urbanism and Architecture News

Can different training make police officers guardians, not warriors?

Do federal stats undercount police killings? (PBS Newshour)

More than 1000 people have been killed by police in 2014 (Reason)

Houston police chief calls drug war a "miserable failure", says Feds need to lead reform (Huffington Post)

Walkability vs. affordability (Washington Post)

More Americans are behind on car payments (CNN Money)

How a train station offering no new service cost $4 Billion in NYC (New York Times)

"Latino Urbanism" influences a Los Angeles in flux (Los Angeles Times)

Why the Da Vinci fire has L.A. urbanists rethinking downtown's future (Los Angeles Times)

Tech Culture and rising inequality: A complex relationship (CityLab)

Why Nashville is still America's music city (Next City)

Detroit artist: Actually Detroit isn't so cheap (Next City)

Copenhagen plans to expand by building artificial islands (CityLab)

Late-night transit service to expand from San Francisco to East Bay (San Francisco Examiner)

Other Arts and Archeology News

Pioneering Brooklyn Art space, Galapagos moves to Detroit (Detroit Free Press)

How Mosaics are shaping Haiti's future (Hyperallergic)

Miami graffiti artist in critical condition after cop runs him over (Hyperallergic)

Photographers irked as Flickr profits from creative commons images (Hyperallergic)

Museums and market finally warming to works on paper (The Art Newspaper)

A documentary traces the history of video game graphics (Hyperallegic)

Can satellite fairs give artists their first big break? (The Art Newspaper)

Thursday, December 04, 2014

11/26/14 - 12/4/14 Arts and Urbanism Roundup


Story of the first commercial radio broadcast (Appalachian History)

Central Catholic High School building new science, math and technology building (Essential Pittsburgh)

Local holiday markets for black Friday and beyond (Essential Pittsburgh)


Round up of Cleveland reactions to Tamir Rice shooting (Belt Magazine)

Boy Shot (Belt Magazine)

Home is where the football-hungry heart is (Freshwater Cleveland)

Inside the bizarre Cleveland Bazaar and ten years of peddling indie Cleveland arts (Freshwater Cleveland)


"A champion of the people": Youngstown says goodbye to Jim Trafficant (Belt Magazine)

Other Urbanism and Architecture News

Respected science journal, Nature publishes sober report on long term shale prospects (Houston Chronicle)

"Don't change the arts district" Says guy who arrived last year (LA Curbed)

New downtown LA shuttle service is "like a free Uber" (LA Curbed)

Loup: The love child of Uber and a bus service (Re/Code)

Leaving Paris for her suburbs (Washington Post)

NYC ground-zero transit hub to cost over $4 billion- twice original estimate (Fox News)

New Jersey Transit sending train crews to "charm school" (

New elevator is like a vertical mass-transit system (TreeHugger)

The horror every day: Police brutality in Houston goes unpunished (Texas Observer)

Hundreds of killings by police not included in homicide statistics (Fox News)

Rise of walking for fun and fitness as a social trend (Huffington Post)

Other Arts and Archeology News

Christie's chief makes surprise exit (The Art Newspaper)

Who will pay for Miami's new and improved museums? (The Art Newspaper)

Historian spots lost avant-garde  painting in background of kid's movie (Hyperallergic)

The revelry and luxury of Art Basel Miami Beach (New York Times)

How private collectors helped make Miami an Art Destination (West Virginia Public Radio)

5 famous stolen pieces of art (And where to see them) (Huffington Post)

Archeologists find Medieval City in UK (The Telegraph)

Long time New York Times, art writer resigns after several plagiarism incidents (ArtNet)

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

11/18/14 - 11/26/14 Arts and Urbanism Roundup


12 year old Cleveland boy with BB gun shot and killed by police (Slate)

Two story bowling alley/eatery/lounge bar set to open in University Circle (

Culinary conversation whets the appetite at Cleveland's Museum of Contemporary Art  (Cleveland Jewish News)

Transportation town hall focuses on bikes, pedestrians and transit (

What comes first along West 25th Street- housing density or faster transit?  (


What Millennials love about Pittsburgh (The Atlantic)

Yinz heard about Pittsburgh's new protected bike lanes?  (Grist)

Pittsburgh Penguins fans ranked as best in NHL for 3rd straight year (Forbes)

The Pittsburgh Tribune Review looks at local Bluegrass jam sessions (Pittsburgh Tribune Review)

Other Urbanism and Architecture News

MoMA presents tactical urbanism strategies for six expanding megacities (Designboom)

Dry San Diego to look to sewers as water source (MyFoxDC)

LA's transit agencies see success with suicide prevention camapign (ABC 7 News)

Should we consider ending the interstate highway system? (Strong Towns)

Thinking too highly of higher ed (Washington Post)

In pictures: An awful night in Ferguson (CityLab)

Police rarely criminally charged for on-duty shootings (Wall Street Journal) 

Baltimore jail staff corruption probe widens (Baltimore Sun)

How Silicon Valley created the world's biggest homeless camp (CityLab)

Global corruption a bigger scourge than terrorism (CBC News)

Seven reasons police brutality is systemic not anecdotal (American Conservative) (July 2)

Can cell phones stop police brutality?  (CNN)

Declining walkability plays a big role in China's obesity problem (CityLab)

Other Arts and Archeology News

The Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture opens permanent NY space. (The Art Newspaper)

Visions of heaven and earth in an ancient Chinese tomb (Hyperallergic)

The mysterious death of the art world's favorite sheikh (The Daily Beast)

A journey deep inside Spain's temple of cave art (BBC Travel)

Why kissing in public is political in India (NBC News)

ISIS is waging another war on culture and history (Public Radio International)

Inside the Middle East's vanishing ancient religions (The Boston Globe)

Billboard includes streaming in music charts (The New York Times)

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

11/11/14 - 11/18/14 Arts and Urbanism Roundup


Baron Batch discusses life as a Pittsburgh artist (Daily Toreador)

Nurturer of Modernism: Modernist studies conference looks at Pittsburgh's role. (Pittsburgh Post Gazette) (Nov 5th)

Pittsburgh Post Gazette looks at holiday season house tours (Pittsburgh Post Gazette)

Forbes ranks Pittsburgh as a top place for veterans (Forbes)

Pittsburgh's arena football team, The Pittsburgh Power, ceases operations (Pittsburgh Post Gazette)


Lawn mowing sheep, one of several green, money saving strategies (National Journal)

Lake Effect artist's studios and event space coming to Cleveland State campus district (Freshwater Cleveland)

East Boulevard is a hidden gem among Cleveland neighborhoods (Freshwater Cleveland)

Cleveland's best places to live car-lite (Green City Blue Lake)


Cincinnati bike movement skips angry drivers, gets right down to growing (Next City)

West Virginia and Appalachia

West Virginia University suspends fraternities after student death (Valley News Live)

WVU School of Art hosts second annual Iron Pour event (The Daily Athenaeum)

The All Good Music Festival and Camp out returns to West Virginia's Eastern Panhandle (JamBase)

Other Urbanism and Architecture News

How will congress respond to marijuana legalization in D.C.?  (Reason)

How sprawl hits Atlanta residents right in the wallet

Rise of the robot security guards (MIT Technology Review)

Riding the Rails: Chicago's history as a transit hub in photos (Curbed Chicago)

Survey shows Miami-Dade transit riders put frequent service and reliability first   (Miami Today)

American's cellphones targeted in secret U.S. spy program (Wall Street Journal)

Tensions over park behavior as homelessness rises in New York (New York Times)

Walkable development protects against catastrophe (Houston Chronicle)

Seattle government destroys play-garden for special-needs kids (Crosscut)

How the war on drugs perpetuates violence in Latin America (Vox)

World's largest solar energy plant producing much less power than expected (Associated Press)

Other Arts and Archeology News

Arts Scene in downtown Los Angeles grows (The Art Newspaper)

Christie's to sell largest private collection of Asian art at auction (The Art Newspaper)

Warhol's Elvis and Brando paintings sell or more than $151 million at Christie's (UK Telegraph)

11 modern and contemporary artists including Twombly, Ruscha, Kusama, Sherman, Gorky, break auction records

New project to digitize 10,000 Sci-Fi zines (Hyperallergic)

How Museums affect the brain (Hyperallergic)

Richmond, Virginia's RVA Street Art Festival announces a new location (

Disturbing new documentary claims sex abuse widespread in Hollywood (The Hollywood Reporter)

Inside look at Harvard's new art museum (

A Philadelphia library sues Maurice Sendak's estate (Hyperallergic)

Real-life Sherlock Holmes hunts down stolen Nazi art (

Black Comedy: cartoons in the first world war (Apollo Magazine)

Satirical news website, The Onion may be for sale (Bloomberg)

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Call For Submissions: Looking at Appalachia Photography Project Seeks to Create Broad Regional Portrait

From, photographer, Roger May- in Belt Magazine
"What images first come to mind when you hear the word “Appalachia”? No, really. The first image?
One of the things I like to do in a group setting, particularly with students, is run through this exercise. I explain that there is no right or wrong answer. It always starts slowly. Not a peep from anyone. Inevitably, someone mentions coal. Then bluegrass. After a few minutes and some steady coaxing, we get down to the nitty-gritty. Incest. Trailers. Mountain Dew. Lazy. Uneducated. Now we’re talking. After compiling a list of a dozen or so of these visual cues, everyone seems to breathe a sigh of relief when it registers that they’re not alone in their answers. Nearly everyone thinks these things, but to say them out loud? That can be frightening. My next question is to ask what about these cues are unique to Appalachia or can they be found in other places in America. One by one, we all agree that not a single stereotype listed can be ascribed solely to Appalachia. So why is it then that we’ve come to associate them so strongly?"
May points out that many of the very well meaning New Deal and Progressive Era images of staggering poverty have stuck in the global imagination.

"Those images often represented the poorest parts of the area — to muster support for their intended cause — but unjustly came to present the entirety of the region while simultaneously perpetuating stereotypes.
So, what is it about these stereotypes, these visual triggers that are immediately conjured up when Appalachia is referenced? And how can we retrain our thinking and seeing?"
How have these stereotypes perpetuated the very poverty they aimed to fight? Brain Surgery and robotics in Pittsburgh is as much part of the "Appalachian Story" as poverty in Logan County, West Virginia.

50 years after the "War on Poverty", May aims to crowdsource a more complex and realistic picture of a vast area- that includes the entire Pittsburgh metro.


Submissions are not limited by style or subject matter (portraits, landscapes, etc.), however:
1. All work submitted must be the copyright of the photographer.
2. Photographs must be made in calendar year 2014.
3. Photographs must be made in one of the 13 state’s regions the Appalachian Regional Commission defines as Appalachian (here).
4. Submissions are open through 31 December 2014.
Include the date (month, day, and year), city, county, and state. Submissions must be in .JPG format, sized at 1500 pixels on the longest side, 72ppi. File names must include your last name and the city and state where the photograph was made (example: maychattaroywv2.jpg). Submissions received in any other format will not be accepted. Please do not watermark or add text to your submissions.
Photographs will be indexed by the state in which they were made. You are not limited to submitting work about one state, however please be aware of the ARC map boundaries. To be clear, this project is not seeking poverty pictures. Will poverty be included? Yes. Poverty exists to be sure, however the purpose of this project extends far beyond that.
Email submissions and questions to

May has already lined up an exhibition in Spartanburg, South Carolina- but hopes to tour the exhibition.
Sounds like a published book is also possible.
See, Looking At Appalachia for more details and images as project evolves.