Press Release

A New Woman: Clara Barck Welles, Inspiration & Influence in Arts & Crafts Silver


 Charles Schuler 
Director of Marketing & Communications 
San Francisco International Airport
(650) 821-5031

A New Woman: Clara Barck Welles, Inspiration & Influence in Arts & Crafts Silver 
New exhibition celebrates Clara Barck Welles’ Kalo Shop, the Chicago area’s largest and most successful Arts and Crafts silversmith firm, long respected for its refined aesthetic.

SAN FRANCISCO—Clara Barck Welles (1868–1965) founded the Kalo Shop in 1900 with five other women graduates of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. They chose the name Kalo from a Greek word meaning “to make beautiful.” Their motto was to create “beautiful, useful, and enduring” objects. Before long, the Kalo Shop burgeoned into one of the most influential American handwrought silver manufacturers of the Arts and Crafts movement, producing a tremendous range of holloware, flatware, and jewelry. In 1905, Welles incorporated the Kalo Shop with funding from several women investors. A year later, Welles and her husband moved to Park Ridge, Illinois. In Park Ridge, Welles established the Kalo Arts Crafts Community House. A school and workshop in a large farmhouse, the Kalo House taught and nurtured numerous designers, jewelers, and silversmiths, many of whom were women and Scandinavian immigrants. The Kalo Shop survived the Great Depression, and Welles oversaw the shop until her retirement in 1939, when she moved to San Diego. In 1959, at age ninety-one, she gave the business to the remaining four employees, and it continued to operate until 1970.

Elegant forms with hand-hammered surfaces, including tea services, pitchers, and centerpiece bowls made by the Kalo Shop and the craftspeople associated with her shop, are some of the many exceptional items on view.

A New Woman: Clara Barck Welles, Inspiration & Influence in Arts & Crafts Silver was organized by the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art at the University of Oregon with support from Margo Grant Walsh. The original exhibition was planned in collaboration with Marilyn Archer, Curatorial and Design Consultant, and Margo Grant Walsh, Consultant. Thank you also to Sharon S. Darling and Darcy L. Evon for their scholarship.

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A New Woman: Clara Barck Welles, Inspiration & Influence in Arts & Crafts Silver is located pre-security in the Mayor Edwin M. Lee International Departures Hall, San Francisco International Airport. This exhibition is on view to all Airport visitors from June 10, 2023 to February 4, 2024. There is no charge to view the exhibition.


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Established in 1980 by the Airport Commission, SFO Museum’s mission is to delight, engage, and inspire a global audience with programming on a broad range of subjects; to collect, preserve, interpret, and share the history of commercial aviation; and to enrich the public experience at San Francisco International Airport. The Museum has been accredited by the American Alliance of Museums since 1999 and retains the distinction of being the only accredited museum in an airport.

Today, SFO Museum operates more than twenty-five sites throughout the Airport terminals, including fourteen galleries that exhibit a rotating schedule of art, history, photography, science, and cultural exhibitions. Among the sites is the San Francisco Airport Commission Aviation Library and Louis A. Turpen Aviation Museum, which houses a permanent collection of more than 160,000 objects related to the history of commercial aviation. To browse current and past exhibitions, research our collection, or for more information, please visit Follow us on,, or

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