About artdesigncafe.com

Artdesigncafe maintains a growing archive of writings (mainly on contemporary art and design, art and design publicity, art and design business, and English for Art and Design). Artdesigncafe also acts as a project platform (currently for Design Meriden and Tremaine / Miller Co. art & design).

Design Meriden

Since 2016, Design Meriden has led a greater appreciation and understanding of the historical design in the area, both nationally and internationally, through documentation recovery efforts and unique, highly visible, online compilations showing designs in collections and documentation at multiple international sites. The goal has been to make detailed information about the design and designers far easier to find and access for researchers and enthusiasts. As of 2021, over 125,000 international visitors visit the micro-site annually to quickly learn more regarding their interests about historical Meriden area design.

In this vein, Design Meriden has also pro-actively lobbied a number of CT non-profit organizations— with object holdings and rare documentation of the design— to improve their access and visibility. Interestingly, data shows that the interest in the design is dispersed largely among specialists nationally and internationally, without a concentration in the state which produced the designs.

With unique influence, Design Meriden encourages innovative funders and sponsors to make contact to invest in the key source that continues to drive the renewed interest in the area design. Unique, impactful opportunities are available.


Artdesigncafe was started in 2009 by R. J. Preece [Tulane University, New Orleans then Tyler School of Art / Temple University, Philadelphia: BA (Distinction), Art history with economics, study abroad Tyler in Rome; Temple University, MEd; Birmingham Institute of Art and Design, England: MA (Distinction), Design history / discourse with critical media / communications analysis]. He is an international art and design journalist, communications / copywriting consultant, occasional media advisor, and project organizer. To date, he has published over 350 texts in hard-copy magazines and books, and many interviews and writings are cited in museum and biennial catalogues and books globally. Preece has also been a Contributing Editor, NW Europe, of Sculpture magazine since 1999.

His interdisciplinary work also includes extensive experience copywriting and consulting on communications texts related to product design, technology, and innovation for multi-national companies. Regarding media relations, Preece has consulted clients (mainly art / design and an international legal charity against injustice) appearing on international news outlets such as Al-Jazeera and the BBC as well as engaging extensively with international newspapers and multiple, global wire services. Other clients have participated in noted international art, design and technology exhibitions and events.

Originally from the USA, Preece taught at the Parsons School of Design affiliate in Kanazawa, Japan and Hong Kong Poly’s School of Design in the mid-1990s, and then later permanently settled in the Netherlands and NW Europe 22 years ago. Over the years, he has given numerous guest lectures in Western Europe and East Asia concerning language, marketing and media / communications, and art and design.

Preece’s current passion has taken him from communicating the contemporary to the historical, with his Design Meriden and Tremaine / Miller Co. art & design projects. (In 2018-19, he was a Visiting Researcher at TU-Delft School of Architecture for the latter.) He has a personal connection to both. "Like too many growing up in the Meriden area in the post-industrial 1980s, I knew almost nothing about the area’s significant design achievements until much later in life," explains Preece. "The DM project has been about applying the skills that I have developed over the years for the benefit of the historical design, the designers and entrepreneurs. Still underneath layers of historical dust, their work is being unearthed."

"Via waves of digitization of historical sources, the magic and significant impact of the designers and entrepreneurs are becoming more clearly visible," continues Preece. "And their work, recognized by influential historical design specialists, is receiving considerably more attention, which it greatly deserves. From 1876 to 1965, Downtown Meriden was a very cool place to be for a networked creative, internationally connected, and at times a global leader. Just take time, look at the work, and its impact today, and you will see that in volume."


Volunteers are welcome to contact artdesigncafe if they have interest in developing primary and secondary source-oriented bibliographies on a range of art, design and sometimes other topics and persons of mutual interest. For lesser-known historical figures, it could be an important research resource helping to unearth and revive the work to today’s and future audiences. So much research material regarding the visual arts is offline, and unknown online, or currently too time-consuming research-wise for visual arts professionals to currently deal with. With limited volunteer time, you can very productively contribute the important difference bridging the gap, and with a humanities background or openness, see that very quickly. Your efforts could result in named authorship, or co-/multiple- authorship, with one-stop editorial screening. In future, your text could also be referenced as a valued source in magazines, books, museum catalogues, etc. In the past, interns have received university credit. (See sample here, referenced in a 2019 book published by the Getty Research Institute, and an important, go-to source for researchers.)

For initial contact to artdesigncafe.com, noting that we do not accept press releases, email: info at artdesigncafe dot com.