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The Legacy Left Behind by Sandy Grotta, Pioneer Craft Collector

Sandra Karin Grotta, known better as Sandy Grotta, died recently at the age of 87. But the work she did as a pioneer in the field of contemporary craft collection remains as her enduring legacy.

In 1957, Sandy was only a casual admirer of art. This changed when she, along with her husband Lou, visited “Furniture by Craftsmen” at what is today known as the Museum of Arts and Design (MAD). The plethora of interesting furniture designs seemed to have sparked a fire in the couple. They soon got in touch with Joyce and Edgar Anderson, two of the featured artists, to place an order. This marked a beginning of a lifelong journey of craft collection.

The hosue of Grottas

In the early decades, the Grottas refused to call themselves as art collectors. Despite this, their house increasingly featured a comprehensive collection of craftworks from artists like Andersons and Toshiko Takaezu, the famous ceramic artist. By the 1980s, their house was seemingly filled with nothing but artworks. The couple commissioned architect Richard Meir to build them a bigger house – a place that could not only accommodate their ever-increasing collection, but also a reflection of their artistic sensibilities.

Her obituary at the New York Times read as:

“As a dedicated Trustee of the American Craft Museum (now MAD) from 2002 until 2015, Sandy played a pivotal role in the successful campaign to relocate the museum to its current location, 2 Columbus Circle, New York City. Sandy’s enthusiasm and dedicated support of contemporary craft artists was boundless and over the years, she worked tirelessly to sustain and fortify MAD as a preeminent institution for the craft. Among Sandy’s countless contributions were 11 significant works to MAD’s collection, including jewelry. Her passion for advocating on behalf of studio and contemporary jewelry artists continues to be the foundation for MAD’s jewelry program. Sandy was an inspiration to all who knew her, a wonderful Board member, and a genuine supporter of MAD as well as a multitude of craft artists.”