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Little Journeys at The Inn Welcomes Master CJ Hurley

The Roycrofters-at-Large (RALA) and The Roycroft Inn will host Roycroft Master Painter and nationally renowned artist CJ Hurley as a visiting lecturer on Thursday, April 4 as the second speaker in RALA’s returning Little Journey Series. Hurley will present “The Value of Romanticism,” and the role of the Arts & Crafts movement as a component of the larger Romantic Art Movement.

“The Value of Romanticism” will provide attendees an overview of Romanticism, its time period and its relationship to the Age of Reason, which it immediately followed. The presentation discusses Romanticism’s reaction to the Industrial Revolution, and how it acted as a counterpoint to industrialism, a theme prevalent in Elbert Hubbard’s Roycroft philosophy. The movement, and Hurley’s lecture, encompasses poets and poetry, writers and literature, artists and art. 

Hurley’s Little Journey places the familiar Arts & Crafts movement as a subset of Romanticism, where it is viewed as taking Romantic ideas out of theoretical discourse into real-world practice. Hurley will discuss the achievements of Romanticism and its subsequent demise, and share his perspective on Romantic thought as an essential part of being human and how this relates to Romanticism’s special regard to nature. Hurley has been invited to present this lecture at numerous conferences, institutions and galleries across the country. He is pleased to be able to offer it to the East Aurora community while visiting to assist as a Master jurist for RALA’s annual jury review. 

The Teahouse Outside the Village, CJ Hurley

Hurley is an artist and designer who has spent his entire career as a self-employed creative.

With his wife, Barbara, he operates Century Arts Design and Fine Art Studio, based in Oil City, Pennsylvania. Hurley and Barbara are a familiar presence in East Aurora, and consistently participate in the Roycroft Summer and Winter Festivals.  

Hurley trained in art at Guilford College with a concentration in painting while studying multiple

disciplines. His current work explores composition, watercolors and India ink to achieve the intricate detail that he is known for. In addition to his studio practice, he is regarded for his commissioned custom painted interiors, projects that allow him to blend his love of architecture and design with his art. These projects, conducted across the United States, incorporate symbolic content inspired by architecture, nature and things meaningful to his clients. In his work with Barbara, designing for architecture and interiors, he often incorporates art, designs furniture and furnishings, collaborating with other artisans and artists.

Hurley developed a mid-career passion for the ideals of the Arts & Crafts Movement, and these themes that began to emerge in his work in the early 2000s. In 2005, he was accepted as Roycroft Renaissance Artisan in painting. Three years later, his jury of peers chose to designate him as a Master in Painting.

Hurley has received multiple project grants, and in 2010, a grant funded documentary-short was

created titled “From Dystopia to Utopia: The Artistic Visions of CJ Hurley.” He has written articles for publications including “Style: 1900,” had work featured in art magazines and most recently, the Wall Street Journal. In addition to solo exhibitions at University of Michigan and Frank Lloyd Wright’s Gordon House, Hurley is represented in multiple museum shops and shows his work in juried group exhibits and seasonal art festival circuits across the country. The Hurleys work from studios in the historic National Transit Building in Oil City, Pennsylvania.

In the Realm of the Butterflies, CJ Hurley

Hurley’s lecture will take place from 6pm - 7pm in Hubbard Hall at The Roycroft Inn. The Roycroft Inn will host a relaxed start to the evening with a 5:00 PM - Happy Hour in the Lounge with cocktail and drink specials to mingle and unwind before the main event. The presentation will be followed by a period of informal conversation and socializing. Guests who attend Little Journeys will receive 10% off of dinner at The Roycroft Inn that evening beginning at 7:30 p.m. by mentioning Little Journeys when making a reservation. 

RALA’s Little Journeys connects Roycroft Artisans with the community by offering artist talks, demonstrations and lectures in the Masters’ mediums that educate and create opportunities for collectors and members of the Roycroft community to connect with the modern Roycroft artists, and serves as a homage to Elbert Hubbard’s original Little Journeys, small trips to artists of note that shared intimate glimpses behind their process and lives. For years, this series was an important part of RALA’s presence on South Grove, and offered “show and tell” by Masters and Artisans, Artisan Forums and visiting nationally known speakers. RALA is proud to bring this lecture series back to its birthplace at The Roycroft Inn.

The next Little Journey lecture will be a presentation in June on the origins of the Appian Way on the Historic Roycroft Campus by founding RALA member, original Appian Way architect and Patron Michael Starks. Starks will share The Path to the Appian, in honor of the transfer of stewardship of this vital piece of the East Aurora Roycroft community to the safekeeping of the Roycroft Campus last fall. RALA also wishes to acknowledge and honor the legacy of RALA visionary Kitty Turgeon, as 2024 marks the 10th anniversary of Turgeon’s passing in 2014. Starks and his wife Sandra shared a close personal relationship with Turgeon and were instrumental in early work to secure and safeguard the Roycroft Campus and establish the Roycroft Renaissance in 1976.

RALA has been entrusted with keeping the Arts & Crafts Movement alive guided by principles set forth by Elbert Hubbard for nearly 50 years. Artisans proudly display the registered “double R mark” representing the quality of their work, and are the only modern working artists permitted to represent themselves as Roycrofters. The annual Masters Jury will meet on Saturday, April 6, where Hurley and the rest of the Roycroft Masters will jury new prospective artisans and re-affirm the quality of work of its Artisan members. 

The 48th Roycroft Summer Festival will be held on June 29 and 30, 2024 at the Classic Rink on Riley Street in East Aurora. Follow the Roycrofters-At Large Association’s social media pages at Facebook and instagram, @roycroftartisans, for updates and information. 

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