The event: Between 1900 and 1970, Park Ridge’s Kalo Arts Crafts Community House, founded by Clara Pauline Barck Welles, played a pivotal role in making Chicago a destination for hand-wrought silver, jewelry and crafts by training hundreds of aspiring artisans for meaningful and profitable careers in the arts.
So on Sept. 27, 157 supporters of today’s Kalo organization, founded to maintain many of the ideals of the American Arts and Crafts movement, came together for “Arts and Carafes” at the Park Ridge Country Club. They toasted their city’s artisan legacy and raised funds to encourage future generations of artists.
Cause célèbre: “It’s important for Park Ridge and it’s important for kids today to have the opportunity to know that it is possible to make a decent living using art as their means, if that is their talent,” said Betsy Foxwell of Park Ridge, president and co-founder of the Kalo Foundation.
Established in 2006, the non-profit Kalo Foundation of Park Ridge is dedicated to preserving the city’s rich artistic heritage through advocacy, education and special events aimed to increase awareness and appreciation of the arts and crafts, insuring their place an integral part of modern life.
Burt Olsson, 79, of Park Ridge learned jewelry making from his father, Yngve Olsson, the last silversmith of the Kalo Shop. Olsson brought a number of items created by his father, including silver bowls, coffee pots and utensils to donate to the auction benefiting the Kalo Foundation.
“It is very important to support the arts in Park Ridge,” added Gayle Haller, executive director of the Park Ridge Chamber of Commerce and a member of the Kalo Foundation. “Especially because the city is unable to give tax dollars to organizations and they have to come up with different ways to go with fundraising.”
Bottom line: The event raised approximately $15,000 for the Kalo Foundation.