Coronavirus vs. Toledo Artists

Coronavirus vs. the Artists of Toledo

What to do now:

Apply to the Toledo Arts Commission for the Emergency Grants for Artists. Emergency Grants for Artists are given on a first-come, first-served basis for eligible applications, with no set deadline. Grant amounts are available at $500, $250, and $100. Emergency Grants for Artists

File for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)

Below is a collection of links and articles regarding benefits that are applicable to self-employed artists, musicians, as well as other gig-workers who traditionally are not eligible for unemployment insurance, but who are now eligible through the CARES Act that was passed on March 27, 2020, specifically, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance.

April 17, 2020 update: Filing for unemployment as gig or self-employed worer is complicated  –

Lt. Governor Husted announced that by the end of next week, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) will be able to begin processing the additional $600-a-week payments authorized by the federal CARES Act.

The State of Ohio Unemployment Insurance website does not yet have information about applying for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, but since it is a national law, it will probably include the following information on the New York State Unemployment Insurance website –

Posted on New York Unemployment Insurance CARES Act information page:

Provisions Related to Unemployment Compensation in the Senate-passed CARES Act – House Committee on Ways & Means

Are self-employed workers and workers in the gig economy eligible for unemployment compensation generally or the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation benefit specifically?

It depends on state law, but self-employed and gig economy workers do not ordinarily have coverage under the unemployment compensation system and so are not eligible for benefits (in part because they do not have employers who contribute to the UC system). However, under the CARES Act, self-employed workers whose states make an agreement with the Department of Labor will receive Pandemic Unemployment Assistance based on their recent earnings and will also be able to receive the $600 a week FPUC supplement on top of that benefit. States will be reimbursed for 100 percent of the cost of administering the benefits, as well as the benefits themselves.

How Much Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) Would Self-Employed Workers, Individuals About to Start Work, and Others Receive?

The amount would vary by state. All PUA recipients would be eligible for the $600 a week federal supplement. They would also receive a base benefit calculated according to state benefit formulas and using recent information about their wages, but no lower than half the state’s minimum regular UC payment.

Kohl’s, Toledo, Ohio, March 30, 2020. Photo by Penny Gentieu

The State of Ohio Unemployment Insurance page has not yet been updated for self-employed claimants. This was posted before the CARE Act was passed:

Question 19:  Is Disaster Unemployment Assistance available in Ohio?

Answer: At this time, no, but please continue to check back for updates. Additional information and support for Ohioans can be found at

J.C. Penney’s, Franklin Park Mall, Toledo, Ohio, March 30, 2020, photo by Penny Gentieu

Sylvania, Ohio, March 30, 2020, photo by Penny Gentieu

Some text on pages 84-88 of the federal CARES ACT:

‘‘(bb) the sum of payments of any compensation to or income of a sole proprietor or independent contractor that is a wage, commission, income, net earnings from self-employment, or similar compensation and that is in an amount that is not more than $100,000 in 1 year, as pro- rated for the covered period;

(2) VERIFICATION.—Before disbursing amounts under this subsection, the Administrator shall verify that the applicant is an eligible entity by accepting a self-certification from the applicant under penalty of perjury pursuant to section 1746 of title 28 United States Code.

  • (ii) provides self-certification that the individual—
  • (I) is otherwise able to work and available for work within the meaning of applicable State law, except the individual is unemployed, partially unemployed, or unable or unavailable to work because—
    (aa) the individual has been diagnosed with COVID–19 or is experiencing symptoms of COVID–19 and seeking a medical diagnosis;
  • (bb) a member of the individual’s household has been diagnosed with COVID–19;
  • (cc) the individual is providing care for a family member or a member of the individual’s household who has been diagnosed with COVID–19;
  • (dd) a child or other person in the household for which the individual has primary caregiving responsibility is unable to attend school or another facility that is closed as a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency and such school or facility care is required for the individual to work;
  • (ee) the individual is unable to reach the place of employment because of a quarantine imposed as a direct result of the COVID- 19 public health emergency;
  • (ff) the individual is unable to reach the place of employment because the individual has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID–19;
  • (gg) the individual was scheduled to commence employment and does not have a job or is unable to reach the job as a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency;
  • (hh) the individual has become the breadwinner or major support for a household because the head of the household has died as a direct result of COVID–19;

(ii) the individual has to quit his or her job as a direct result of COVID–19;

(jj) the individual’s place of employment is closed as a direct result of the COVID–19 public health emergency; or

(kk) the individual meets any additional criteria established by the Secretary for unemployment assistance under this section; or

(II) is self-employed, is seeking part-time employment, does not have sufficient work history, or otherwise would not qualify for regular unemployment or extended benefits under State or Federal law or pandemic emergency unemployment compensation under section 2107 and meets the requirements of subclause (I); and

(B) does not include–

(i) an individual who has the ability to telework with pay; or

(ii) an individual who is receiving paid sick leave or other paid leave benefits, regardless of whether the individual meets a qualification described in items (aa) through (kk) of subparagraph (A)(i)(I).

  • (2) CALCULATIONS OF AMOUNTS FOR CERTAIN COVERED INDIVIDUALS.—In the case of a covered individual who is self-employed, who lives in a territory described in subsection (c) or (d) of section 625.6 of title 20, Code of Federal Regulations, or who would not otherwise qualify for unemployment compensation under State law, the assistance authorized under subsection (b) for a week of unemployment shall be calculated in accordance with section 625.6 of title 20, Code of Federal Regulations, or any successor thereto, and shall be increased by the amount of Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation under section 2104.
    Macy’s, Franklin Park Mall, March 30, 2020, Toledo, Ohio. Photo by Penny Gentieu

Pierre Gentieu’s Toledo Connectedness

Just this past year, the French newspaper, Le Monde, reported that they are watching us here in Toledo, because our lake is letting off fluorescent glows into space. That’s our Lake Erie. It’s a serious issue for us.  It’s the water we drink, and we are 60% water.

Our problem is noted all the way across the Atlantic Ocean because in the scheme of things, it’s France’s problem too, as we share the planet with them.

Since we are connected to France via satellites and water, I was eager to find a Pierre Gentieu connection to Toledo as well. Pierre Gentieu is my French immigrant ancestor.

My branch of the family ended up in Toledo when my grandfather, an engineer, took a temporary assignment in Toledo in 1938, to work on the Toledo sewage system. Yes, a water connection, how weird is that. My father met my mother during his last month of high school. Sparks flew, so voila here I am, the third child in the family, born and raised in Toledo, Ohio.

Pierre Gentieu (1842-1930) is my great great grandfather, Civil War veteran, artist, and historically recognized photographer. He was a loyal employee of the DuPont Powder Company for 35 years. DuPont made gunpowder on the Brandywine Creek in northern Delaware.  My ancestor worked in the DuPont office as the head storekeeper.  Independently, he made photographs with his 8×10 view camera. He photographed the heyday of the powder mills against the old-world backdrop of the historic Brandywine, expressing the lifestyle of the workers and families, many who were immigrants. He is beloved by the Hagley Museum and Library in Wilmington, Delaware. Without his photos to show how things were, the Hagley’s living history museum of the powder mills wouldn’t be nearly as authentic and vibrant as it is today.

Pierre Gentieu at the Sportsmen’s Exposition, Madison Square Garden, c. 1893

This photo is Pierre at the Sportsmen’s Exposition (an early trade show) at Madison Garden in New York and he is holding an illustration by Edmund H. Osthaus (1858-1928), who became a famous artist of Toledo. Edmund H. Osthaus was one of the artists who dreamed up the Toledo Museum of Art. Osthaus was a member of the Tile Club and has paintings in the collection of the Toledo Museum of Art.

Edmund H. Osthaus, at the invitation of David R. Locke (creator of the Petroleum V. Nasby letters), came to Toledo in 1886 at the age of 28 to head up the Toledo Academy of Fine Arts.

In the 1890’s, at the beginning of Du Pont’s smokeless powder manufacturing, Edmund H. Osthaus was commissioned by DuPont to make paintings of hunting dogs for promotional purposes. He received a lot of exposure from the DuPont smokeless powder posters, calendars and advertisements, which helped make him famous for his dog paintings. The association with DuPont lasted over 20 years, until after the first world war, when DuPont transitioned from making powder to making chemicals.

My educated guess is that Pierre sometimes worked with Edmund H. Osthaus as a representative of DuPont in regard to his commissions. Pierre was close to the du Ponts and obviously handled some promotional aspects for the company, since he was the spokesman at the early Sportsmen’s Expositions at Madison Square Garden for several years. If Pierre had a professional association with Osthaus, then Pierre is part of the story of Toledo’s famous dog painter’s work, and in that way, he is part of the story of the Toledo Museum of Art.

It is interesting to me that Osthaus was alive when he influenced the making of the Toledo Museum of Art. Pierre had been dead for 27 years but his body of work influenced the development of a brand-new museum in 1957, the Hagley Museum and Library, a museum of industrial history.

Edmund H. Osthaus’s work for the DuPont Powder Company is shown above (courtesy of the Hagley Museum and Library), and on this artistsoftoledo page, here.

In Honor of the Glory Days of Advertising

The authoritative, comprehensive random sampling survey of late-seventies iconic world-of-advertising and subjective definitive targeting, as I knew it, with some art thrown in.

What would have marked 100 years

In 1917, the Toledo Federation of Art Societies (TFAS) was established by the joining together of the Tile Club, Athenas Society, Artklan and the Toledo Museum of Art to create an annual local exhibition of Toledo artists at the Toledo Museum of Art.

In 2014, the Toledo Federation of Art Societies conspired with the Toledo Museum of Art to kill the local annual museum show, just four years shy of the 100th anniversary, by extending the region to a 150 mile radius, slashing the number of artists accepted, using museum employees to judge and curate the show, and putting in their own people, including two museum employees, an ex-employee, the husband of an employee, a close friend of the director, and two Toledo Federation of Art Societies past presidents. (Another past president, Leslie Adams, had been awarded with a museum solo show, just the year before.) The president of the Federation at the time shrugged off the suggestion of impropriety and corruption by saying with misguided sophistication, “It’s the world we live in.”

With the demise of the prestigious Toledo Area Artists Exhibition, gone was the important center of the Toledo artist community — the museum — along with valuable opportunities for the local community of artists, including 14 monetary awards that had been awarded annually:

  • Israel Abramofsky Award of the Temple-Congregation Shomer Emunim
  • Molly Morpeth Canaday Award 
  • University of Toledo Award 
  • Toledo Federation of Art Societies Purchase Award
  • Roulet Medal Award 
  • Arts Commission of Greater Toledo Purchase Award for the City of Toledo’s
  • Art in Public Places Program 
  • Athena Art Society Award 
  • Toledo Friends of Photography Award 
  • Toledo Area Sculpture Guild Rose M. Reder Memorial Award
  • Bob Martin Memorial Award
  • Edith Franklin Memorial Award
  • Lourdes University Art Department Award 
  • Toledo Potter’s Guild Award
  • Toledo Area Artists Solo Exhibition Award

This month, on April 28, 2018, the Toledo Federation of Art Societies and the Toledo Museum of Art present a 100th anniversary show celebrating the Toledo Federation of Art Societies itself, as if the Federation is anything to celebrate. After devouring their baby — what the Federation was formed to make — the annual Toledo Area Artists Exhibition that they cared for, for 97 years, the oldest local art show in the country and a prestigious one at that – how ironic that they now celebrate themselves by showing the Federation collection of purchase awards from the historic, venerable, prestigious, but dead Toledo Area Artists Exhibition, killed by their own device.

No mention of the Toledo Area Artists Exhibition, pushing it down the memory hole, as if what they did will ever stop stinking.

With this show, called, “Decades in the Making,” the Toledo Museum of Art makes what should have been the 100th anniversary of theToledo Area Artists Exhibition into a 100-year celebration of the lousy caretaker the Federation has been to the culture, history, and potential of the Toledo artist community.

At least the former Federation president Walter Chapman got to live to be 100 years old (he died in 2015 at the age of 102), unlike the Toledo Area Artists Exhibition.

William H. Machen’s Stations of the Cross

William H. Machen is Toledo’s earliest known artist.  Thanks to him, we have paintings of how Toledo looked in the very beginning. He painted the Stations of the Cross for St. Francis de Sales Chapel, located downtown on Cherry Street. Many decades ago, the paintings were damaged in a fire, then damaged even further in a botched restoration attempt. They remained in storage in the church, where they might still be today. I photographed the paintings a few years ago for William Machen’s grand-nephew, James Machen, who lives in Toledo. We both hoped we could garner some support to have the paintings physically restored. Finally, James Machen decided to take up the project of digitally restoring the paintings himself, and printed them on canvas.

12/2/2015  James Machen to Penny Gentieu:

I am still working to get retouched canvas prints of the Machen Stations paintings placed in the St. Francis chapel. I did get Bishop Thomas’ approval of the plan about three months ago but the individual in charge was changed. He is slow to move on it, I guess.

2/7/2016  James Machen to Penny Gentieu:

Good news! I finally got the go-ahead for the project of getting canvases made of the 14 “fixed” Station images. Msgr. Kubacki, who is now in charge at St. Francis, was very pleased with the sample I showed him. He decided to go with the 18″ x 24″ size.

2/29/2016  James Machen to Penny Gentieu:

On the Stations restorations – – I’m all done. #1 and #14 took the most work. Also good news, Msgr. Kubacki gave his go ahead for the project.

10/19/2016  James Machen to Penny Gentieu:

I want to update you on the 14 restored Station images which I had been working on. Earlier this year in March, I showed a restored sample canvas, size 18″ x 24″, to the bishop’s representative, and then to Msgr. Kubacki (now in charge of St. Francis chapel). Msgr. Kubacki was pleased and told me to go ahead with the other 13. I had them printed and delivered them to St. Francis in May.

There has been a problem – – I haven’t heard a thing since the spring in spite of multiple tries to communicate with Kubacki on my part. The caretaker is eager to put them up, but hasn’t been given any instructions. The canvases were put in a storage area.

Not knowing anything at all, and not wanting this project to end in limbo, I went there this week and retrieved all 14.

I’m not sure what is going on, if it is intentional, they are too busy or ?  Maybe they even plan to close St. Francis like St. Hedwig & Good Shepherd churches ? ?

1/2/2017  James Machen to Penny Gentieu:

I delivered the canvases to St. Francis in May where Msgr. Kubacki is now in charge. I waited for several months without hearing anything. Finally I found out he felt the size was too small for the former spaces and didn’t use them.

1/22/2018 James Machen to Penny Gentieu:

Good news – – through a mission organization, I’ve finally placed the 18″ x 24″ canvas printed from my retouched images of the 14 Stations. They didn’t want them at St. Francis de Sales, I guess partly because they didn’t fit nicely in the old niches.

They are being shipped to a church in the Philippines that was damaged in the big hurricane they had.

7/24/2018 James Machen to Penny Gentieu:
Attached is a jpg of a Station 1 copy finally arrived in the church in the Philippines. It was a long effort but now satisfying. I’m told that they are going to mount the Stations in frames.

The Museum in the Seventies


Welcome back to Roger Mandle, the fifth Director of the Toledo Museum of Art, from 1977 to 1988. He spoke at the museum’s Little Theater on June 8. It was a wonderful talk, about working with Otto Wittmann, the 4th museum director of the museum, and then as the assistant director at the National Museum of Art in Washington, DC, and then as president of Rhode Island School of Design from 1993 to 2008, and then how he helped develop two new museums in Qatar. Now he is starting a new museum for art and technology in New Bedford, Massachusetts.

It was a great era when Mandle was at the Toledo Museum of Art, because the museum had meaningful art community involvement. The museum was built on meaningful art community involvement, in fact it was built by artists. Beginning in 1916, the museum offered grade school through high school classes, then university classes, and always adult art classes. Local artists had monthly shows at the museum. The museum hosted the Toledo Area Artists Exhibition (TAA). Who would have thought that the TAA Show would have been extinguished, just four years short of its 100th year celebration next year, what was the oldest, most venerable exhibition of its kind in the entire United States.

I benefited from the classes at the museum from age 9 to 21. I taught the first kids photography class that the museum offered, in 1979, with the darkroom right below the Peristyle stage. I exhibited in a few TAA shows, and in 2013, my daughter’s photography career received a huge boost, perhaps even a complete launch, as a result of her prize-winning entry in what was to become the final local Toledo Area Artists Exhibition. This year, four years later, my daughter is showing her photographs in Venice, Italy in a show at the European Cultural Center in the context of the 57th Venice Biennale.

My daughter spent the summer of 2006 at Rhode Island School of Design in a high school program, and that’s where she fell in love with photography. Because I knew Roger Mandle from the museum, we sent him the photos she shot that summer.  He was sincerely impressed and without our even asking, sent her photos to the admissions department with a strong recommendation. To be encouraged by such a knowledgeable and important person so early on was a great formative experience.

Kids classes as well as adult classes have nearly disappeared at the Toledo Museum of Art. The local art community is no longer tied to the museum that the artist-forefathers of Toledo had so progressively formed. It used to be our museum and everybody understood that — it belonged to the community of Toledo — but today for the first time suddenly it is no longer our museum.

Today’s museum is all about the grants. A Mellon grant brought down the TAA show, along with a big bamboozling by the museum to the Toledo artist community, as if our community artists would benefit by expanding our local art show 10-fold to 13 million people and a 300 mile diameter.  At least it looked good on the grant application. That was three years ago, and it was the last show. Judged by Halona Norton-Westbrook, a Mellon Fellow employed at the museum, the eleven local artists who were accepted into the show happened to be closely associated with the museum (including two employees, the husband of an employee, a past employee, and two past presidents of the Federation). Only two of the Toledoans were women.

Our current director, Brian Kennedy, tells people openly that Toledo artists are not good enough to show at the museum in any show, even our annual, 100-year old show that’s always been at the museum. So unbecoming of our museum, which had such a progressive, community oriented beginning!

Rejecting local artists is an elitist spin on Toledo’s communal inferiority complex and famously poor self-image. Museum supporters don’t care. They buy their art in New York. Thus, the ax has come down on this fine opportunity and tradition for artists in Toledo. Our deceased museum directors must be rolling in their graves.

It is a shame that the artist community that was once centered around the museum has disappeared and opportunities no longer exist at our most magnificent and inspiring cultural center, the Toledo Museum of Art, that was built by artists, educated artists, and for many years, was led by artists (including Roger Mandle.)

Roger Mandle and the museum directors who preceded him kept the local art community alive and well at the Toledo Museum of Art for more than eight decades. And while accommodating the community, they had blockbuster shows, bigger and better than we see today.


1967 was the 50th anniversary of the Toledo Area Artists Exhibition, Otto Wittmann was the 4th director of the museum.
"The founders of the Toledo Museum of Art and the individuals, who, shortly thereafter, established the Federation and the "TAA Exhibition ," did so with the intention of supporting the creative endeavors of our area artists and raising those artists to new heights. That was 1917. Almost a century later, the leaders of our museum have dedicated themselves to adapting the exhibition to a new age. This does not suggest that they are abandoning the philosophy of the original founders or excluding local artists in favor of those from a distance further than our city limits. On the contrary, they are again, raising the bar for the artists in our immediate community by offering us the opportunity to compete on a much grander scale, in a more significant way. Dr. Brian Kennedy, our esteemed Director, and Dr. Amy Gilman, the Associate Director and Curator of Modern and Contemporary art believe in us. They believe that we have the talent and capacity to compete with artists on a more global level - yes, throughout a greater geographic region, but a region that, in 2014, IS the Toledo Area.In years to come, I will, of course, reflect back on this turning point in my career with immense gratitude to the Toledo Museum of Art. I encourage all artists in this community to embrace change and continue to enter and support the "TAA Exhibition." I challenge them to trust that the leaders of the museum can be monumental and great...that they can be life changing." Leslie Adams to Toledo artists, 2014

Isn’t it something that Brian Kennedy tells people that Toledo area artists aren’t good enough for the museum to continue hosting the annual Toledo Area Artists Exhibition, an important, century old tradition started by the museum with the Federation formed for that purpose, and here is Leslie Adams, past president of the Federation, telling Toledo area artists to trust that with the change in the show, that the museum has their best interests at heart.

Seriously? The museum gave Adams a one-person show in 2012 as a new Toledo Area Artists Exhibition award in 2011 (the first and only recipient of that award) and the museum even acquired three of her pieces in 2015.

So how don’t Toledo artists rate? Leslie Adams is a Toledo artist, yet the museum did all that for her, a lowly Toledo artist.

You just have to wonder when they kill our show and profess that no local artist’s work can ever be good enough to show at the museum, but they buy Leslie Adam’s work.

After Hours

State employees are working overtime using taxpayer dollars to fund an exclusive art show for themselves.

Should the Ohio Arts Council be giving a show to the state employees of Ohio at the exclusion of the independent artists of Ohio?

The Ohio Arts Council’s Riffe Gallery is funded by the state. Shouldn’t the responsibility of the Ohio Arts Council be to help the independent artists in Ohio, and not exclude them from a show that takes up 10 weeks in their gallery and lots of state resources showcasing the “After Hours” artwork of state employees?

Isn’t it enough that taxpayers pay the salaries of these state employees, and we give them benefits above and beyond the reach of any independent artists in Ohio, including better health insurance than is available for any individual in Ohio to buy? (thanks to state employees not looking out for us.)

A show funded by taxpayers  just for themselves, and they work here:
DepARTMENT OF Administrative Services  Ohio Environmental Protection Agency  Ohio Industrial Commission  ohio Attorney General  Ohio Department of Education  Ohio Department of Transportation State Library of Ohio  The Ohio Department of Health Ohio Office of Budget and Management  Legislative Services  Ohio Department of Taxation  Ohio Department of Mental Health & Addiction Services  Ohio Board of Nursing

Especially in light of the reduced funding for the arts, why would state resources ever be used on a state employee-only art show? And why would it be conceived in the first place, an employee show put on by the state, because it takes funding and opportunities away from Ohio’s independent artists. They could have had their show elsewhere, like at a private gallery.

It seems unethical and you would think that the rules of state funding would make it illegal.

Taxpayer grant money was never intended to be used on a state employees’ own art show.  It takes away from Ohio’s artists who do not have the advantage of getting a paycheck from the state.

If the “after hours” artists could stand in the shoes of daytime artists, they would understand.

Fun for Thanksgiving

As a free-range turkey, I will not impose contemporary restraints or adhere to societal constrictions, at least when it concerns my artwork. Otherwise, anything goes. — Anonymous
When I look down on the ground, looking for something to eat, I’m deep in thought about the lines the foliage makes juxtaposed against the acorn nuts and the memory of my mother. I bring all these things to my art. — Anonymous
Yes, we usually put the Turkey Area Artists Show in the basement, but this year we are bringing in the really good out of town turkeys and they will be in the really large room upstairs.
Call me Sharona Triumph-Northstream-Eaglerock-Furfeather-Turkeyfoot-Tenderheart-Honeydew-Bigfellow, or you can just call me Tickles!
Of course I look much better and have better taste!  I am an imported, out of towner turkey!
They had a special show for a special turkey and then never again!
“There are some turkeys, from across the pond, that do not respect and appreciate the long-standing traditions that our area turkeys have. They act all puffed up and almighty with their upright feathers.”

“You need not worry too much, for they too will soon fly away and land at another museum and the first thing they will do is to go out and look for some outstanding local turkeys like us!”

As a turkey artist, I face a lot of rejection. They only let two female area turkey artists in this year. I have only myself to blame for being a female. Now it’s back to the studio to work, work, work, work, work…
I am the new 2014 genetically modified all white meat turkey.
When I get frustrated, I look long and deep within myself, and believe I will find the truth. But I doubt it.
The 2015 Turkey Area Artists Show will have no area artist turkeys!

Photos © 2014 Penny Gentieu

Mary Wolfe: Artist, Art Historian, Art Collector, and Honored Patron of the Arts. (1931—2014)

Mary Wolfe and art: “This is what I imagine heaven will be like.”
Mary Wolfe died last Thursday. At 82, she still seemed to be in her prime. What a magnificent woman. She was extraordinarily bright, both in her intellect and aura. She will keep shining through the many gifts she and her husband, Frederic (Fritz), have bestowed upon the community.
She was an art history teacher at Bowling Green State University from 1968 to 1976. She always opened her house to students and artists, said her student Kathy Sobb, an accomplished New York City graphic designer. She then became the exhibitions director of the BGSU McFall Center Gallery through the mid-eighties. Relevant to this website,, Mary Wolfe showed the work of glass art pioneer Dominick Labino. She also put on the largest exhibition of Edmund H. Osthaus ever assembled. Osthaus (1858—1928), famous for his dog paintings and branding of the Du Pont Powder Company (see my blog post, Edmund H. Osthaus and my giant Pierre Project), was one of the founding artists of the Toledo Museum of Art.
The couple donated $1 million to Wilberforce University for a new administration building in 1993. (Another artistsoftoledo connection: one of the few known paintings by Frederick Douglass Allen and one that I have been trying to track down was of the 1934 president of Wilberforce.)
Mary Wolfe is well-known for the very generous contribution she and Fritz made that started the Wolfe Center for the Arts at BGSU. We can also thank the Wolfes for interesting architecture of the building, since they encouraged BGSU to hire the architecture firm, Snohetta, of Norway. The Wolfe Center opened in December 2011. Six months later, at the Toledo Museum of Art, the Wolfe Gallery for Contemporary Art opened, thanks to the Wolfes $2 million donation to the Museum for the renovation of the old glass gallery behind the Egyptian gallery that had not been used for 15 years. 
For interesting accounts of the many roles she played throughout her life, see these two tributes to Mary Wolfe that were published shortly after her death by The Blade and Bowling Green State University.
I love the quote that was in the earlier, Blade breaking news report, taken from a 2011 Blade interview in regard to her art patronage. Mary Wolfe said, “It’s made life so much more interesting and wonderful for us. It gives you a great feeling.” How lovely to know this, how the Wolfes felt about art collecting and their kind act of supporting the arts, since what they have given us has truly made the lives of an entire community much more wonderful and interesting and gives us a great feeling.
I am grateful to have known her. She and Fritz came to my daughter, Anna Friemoth’s opening at the Paula Brown Gallery last year and bought her work. It means so much, since I know they have such exquisite and discerning taste in art.
Two years ago, my husband and I were invited to a small studio tour of Austrian LED light artist Erwin Redl, currently living in Bowling Green, with Mary & Fritz Wolfe and two of their three daughters and a mutual friend. Erwin Redl’s studio is in a huge warehouse, divided into several rooms. Erwin creates conceptual light installations for international museums. The experience of the work in each room of his studio tour became progressively grander and more energetic.  It was pretty special to be experiencing this tour with the Wolfes and I could see that Mary Wolfe was inspired. Later, her daughter Lisa told me that her mother was absolutely taken by the installations, and especially the last room, that had streams of red lights and blue lights speeding rhythmically from wall to wall close to the ceiling. Mary remarked about the last room, “This is what I imagine heaven will be like!”
I was just getting ready to send Mary Wolfe a card for my upcoming show, Artists of Toledo at the Paula Brown Gallery, that opens November 13. I printed some snapshots from that night at Erwin’s, together with a note. I had them out on my table waiting to find the right sized envelope when I read the Blade report that she died. I had just been with Lisa two days before at Bowling Green State University and later I sat in the theatre in the Wolfe Art Center for a scholarly talk on animal vision. It was a celebrated event and the audience included many VIPs but Mary Wolfe wasn’t there as I thought she might have been. She had a stroke that evening and died the next day, surrounded by loved ones.
Our prayers go out to Mary’s family, her many friends, and to our entire community. We lost someone pretty wonderful. We will always remember her because she brought so much art to life.