Whitehall News

Lustron homes influence artists in fundraising show


Thirty-five artists this month will exhibit original artwork crafted from scrap material used to fabricate Lustron homes during the post-World War II housing boom in the United States.

"The Art of Lustron" will be on display March 8-30 at Tacocat Studios and Gallery, 937 Burrell Ave. in Grandview.

A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the artwork will benefit the Whitehall Historical Society and its efforts to complete the restoration of a Lustron home at Whitehall Community Park that serves as the society's office.

"We've never did anything on this scale as a fundraising activity," said Steve McLoughlin, president of the Whitehall Historical Society.

The exhibit was arranged by Brian Reaume, an artist and studio owner who lives in a Lustron home.

Six years ago, Reaume purchased a Lustron home in Kenmore Park, a residential area near Linden in north Columbus.

After learning the Whitehall Historical Society owned a Lustron home, Reaume sought direction for acquiring materials to refurbish his own home.

The exhibit "The Art of Lustron" resulted from the introduction.

Reaume owns Birchwater Studios, one of several spaces at Tacocat Studios and Gallery.

He also is one of the 35 exhibitors, each of whom made one original piece of artwork from Lustron material.

"Each artist was given a two-foot-by-two-foot piece of material," Reaume said.

Each work of art is for sale, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting the Whitehall Historical Society.

To meet the demands for housing stock, particularly from American military personnel starting families after the end of World War II, a Chicago industrialist, with financing assistance from the U.S. government, designed a prefabricated metal house that could be quickly assembled, McLoughlin said.

The houses were manufactured at the former Curtiss-Wright airplane factory in Columbus.

About 2,500 such homes were manufactured between 1948-50 before the Lustron Co. filed for bankruptcy, McLoughlin said. About 2,000 exist today, most in their original condition.

McLoughlin said proceeds from the sale of artwork will benefit the society's continuing effort to restore its Lustron home, including the stripping of paint a former owner applied to the garage.

An opening reception will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday, March 8, at Tacocat Studios and Gallery. Artists are scheduled to attend.

The studio will be open from noon to 5 p.m. each Sunday in March until a closing reception for the exhibit from 1 to 5 p.m. March 30.

For more information about the exhibit, visit tacocatcooperative.com.