|About the Crary Art Gallery
Crary Art Gallery was established in 1977 as a nonprofit art museum by painter Genevieve Alden Walker Crary in memory of her husband, industrialist, philanthropist, and accomplished photographer Clare Crary. The Crary Art Gallery is dedicated to enriching the region's cultural offerings through noteworthy temporary exhibitions, and the display of historical works both collected and produced by the Crarys.
The Permanent Collection includes early and mid 20th-century paintings and prints, and photographs by Edward S. Curtis. There is an extensive inventory of Gene and Clare's own paintings and photographs, some of which are always on display at the gallery. Works on long-term loan include the Marion Sanford Sculpture Collection and 19th century Japanese silk screen prints.
The Crary Art Gallery also hosts changing temporary exhibitions, lectures and events. The facility may be rented for weddings and private meetings or functions.
Take a virtual tour of the Crary via video, produced by Jeremy Jeziorski.
photo: Terry Radecki
From 1900 to 1937 a very different structure, the residence of Jerry and Laura Dunham Crary, stood on the site where the Crary Art Gallery now stands. It was one of the largest homes in Warren and was built in the Italian Renaissance style, with a broad front porch facing Market Street and a portico on its north face. The only remaining artifact of that residence is carriage house to the west of the gallery on Sixth Avenue.
The current structure was built in 1962 as the Stuart J. Myers family home, following the general plan of a Roman villa. The Myers home was purchased in the early 1970s by the photographer Clare J. Crary and his painter wife Genevieve (Gene) Alden Walker Crary. They intended this interesting structure to be an art gallery. Unfortunately Clare passed away in 1975 before the dream could be realized, but his wife opened The Crary Art Gallery two years later with a memorial exhibition of works by her photographer husband. After Gene's death in 1988, the Board of Directors opened further galleries in the building: the Oriental room, the Crary-Dunham Room and the Fountain Room.
In 1997, following a series of exhibits by guest artists, the gallery blossomed further. The northeast walled garden was transformed into the Sculpture Court with the installation of a glass ceiling. The grand re-opening in 2000 featured works by sculptor Marion Sanford, Gene's friend and fellow alumna of the Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, New York. These pieces remain at the gallery on extended loan from the Warren County Historical Society and Warren General Hospital. In addition to these sculptures and the permanent collection (including photographs by Clare Crary and Edward S. Curtis, paintings by Gene Walker Crary, and paintings and prints they collected), visitors today can see temporary exhibitions by contemporary artists, mounted for the pleasure and education of the community.
Clare J. Crary (1879 - 1975)
Clare was born in Sheffield, Pennsylvania, one of four children of Jerry and Laura Dunham Crary. Following education at Worcester Academy, Clare graduated from Amherst College in 1901. In 1902 his parents moved from Sheffield to their new home at 511 Market Street (site of the Crary Art Gallery). Clare met and married Irene Horton of Brooklyn, New York in 1906, and they moved to 211 Fifth Avenue in Warren. In 1910 "CJ" (Clare's nickname) and Irene moved again to a newly-constructed residence at 508 Liberty Street, where they raised three sons.
Irene died in 1941. In 1943, CJ married Gene Alden Walker who, with Marion Sanford Sleeman, had been maintaining an art studio in a remodeled chicken coop dubbed "Stepping Stones", on the Sleeman farm.
An accomplished amateur photographer, Clare "CJ" Crary was experimental with his darkroom techniques and often did such unconventional steps as re-photographing photographs in order to get a different look. His world travels seemed designed to explore and photograph the different "families" of mankind around the globe, in the inquisitive manner of an anthropologist or documentarian. He was undoubtedly inspired by the work of Edward S. Curtis, who famously photographed many western Native American tribes at the turn of the twentieth century. CJ collected a few of Curtis' indelible images, now included in the Crary Art Gallery Permanent Collection.
CJ exhibited his work widely in salons in the United States and abroad, and entered juried photo shows near but also as far away as New Zealand. His work is cited in publications. He founded the Pictorial Society of America and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society of Great Britain. His memberships included the Oval Table Society, the Pittsburgh Salon, the Pictorial Photographers of America and The Camera Club of New York.
At the time of his death in 1975, CJ was Chairman of the Board of Warren National Bank and Vice President of the Pennsylvania Furnace and Iron Company. The numerous civic organizations in which he was deeply involved (some of which he founded or co-founded, and in most of which he held office) included United Fund, Community Foundation of Warren County, Northern Allegheny Conservation Association, Warren Library Association, Warren County Chapter of The American Red Cross, YMCA, Warren State Hospital, Struthers Library Building, and Boy Scouts of America.
Gene Alden Walker Crary (1898 - 1988)
Born in New Albany, Indiana, the elder daughter of Herbert Graham and Clara Perry Walker, Gene was a direct descendent of John and Priscilla Alden, "America's First Couple".
She studied art and graduated from the Pratt Institute, followed by study at the National Academy of Design with Charles Hawthorne, N.A. and the studio of Jerry Farnsworth, N.A. She exhibited widely, received many awards, and is represented in the National Academy of Design's permanent collection and a number of private collections. Gene was a member of The Grand Central Gallery of Art, Audubon Artists, Allied Artists, The National Arts Club, The National Association of Women Artists, and the Pen and Brush Club.
In the early 1920's Gene and Marion Sanford Sleeman set up a studio they dubbed "Stepping Stones", on Liberty Street Extension in Warren. After Marion's departure to New York City, Gene also maintained a studio at The National Arts Club for 15 years.
When Gene and Clare Crary married, the loft over the Crary family's carriage house (still standing) became her studio. Their travels in the United States and abroad inspired Gene's painting and CJ's creativity as a photographer. Though her works reflect several subjects such as streetscapes, landscapes, figure and flower studies, Gene Walker Crary is best remembered for her portraits in oil which garnered most acclaim.
Now the Crary Art Gallery boasts a year-round schedule of changing art exhibitions. The gallery has an endowment which helps maintain the building and grounds, but the help of volunteers and financial gifts is what keeps the gallery moving into the future. Your help is greatly appreciated. Contact the gallery or any board member if you wish to know more.