The Graff Legacy

Well known watercolor artist, Mr. Franklin C. Graff, plays a large role in the history of Medina. Graff has painted multiple paintings of Medina’s beauty that it holds, including landmarks like the town’s Gazebo. His paintings are known for capturing the spirit of the moment and his pictures do just that. Mr. Franklin C. Graff lives a decent life, but his house shows otherwise. The Graff household has seen many rough years in America and it continued to watch as the small town of Medina has dealt with large, nationwide struggles.
Ohioans struggled to live a decent life during the 1880’s. Rapid industrialism became a common tradition and many buildings/houses had been created. This led to structures being built in order to maintain supplies and meet citizens demands. Ohio residents now became more fortunate than others when it came to their occupations and incomes. Due to the unfair society conditions, small town farmers and immigrants struggled to live a decent life. Separation, varying wages, and “social classes” then occurred. Neighborhoods in Medina reflected a working class experience.
Fortunate migrants of small town Medina now became capable of finding a decent lifestyle. Though small cities often benefited from America's intentions, things changed when the acquired supplies went towards gaining advantages in the first world war. All the expenses of this war began to deteriorate and wear on the economy, resulting in the Great Depression. This affected not only the government, but America’s people too. Due to the harsh conditions that occurred, common men struggled to survive. Residents of cities, such as medina, now began to experience bankruptcies and trials.
After several grueling years, the Great Depression ended. Soon after life began to take a turn for the better, residents learned that the Second World War had begun. Americans once again faced many hardships after the war ensued. Due to low income, families struggled to survive. The era of the Cold War then took it’s frigid grasp upon America’s people.
Though city residents went through a long span of tough years, each event helped to structure America towards today’s time. Although the nation fluctuated in power, America stayed a strong influence towards foreign countries. The American common man, although faced with many trials, persevered through all of the times that ultimately made America a stronger nation. Society adapted, the economy grew rapidly, and rights for the American people became thus just.

Images

Graff Household

Graff Household

This picture shows the historic Medinian home commonly referred to as the Graff house because of its owner, Mr. Frederick C. Graff. The house has been around for nearly 130 years and not only has it survived the many years of wear and tear that come with supporting a family, but it has developed a story of its own. This house has seen what many tough years can do to small town residents and common families. Though not many realize the hardships that people had to face during this period of expansion, this house does. The nation as a whole grew and not only did America get affected, but its people did as well. This particular house had the opportunity to watch as many families struggled and hoped to live through the many sufferings. "Image courtesy of the Medina Historical Society." View File Details Page

Fredrick C. Graff

Fredrick C. Graff

Graff was born in Medina, and graduated from Medina High School in 1964. There, he participated in varsity football, varsity wrestling, and reserve track. One of the most influential and inspiring painters in our country today, Graff displays many characteristics of leadership. Graff began his efforts when he went on to graduate from Miami University and studied privately with Franklin R. Bates. He gathered many skills and techniques in private studies and they have allowed him to teach others how to paint as well. Graff also pursued graduate work at Kent State University and the University of Akron. He went above and beyond, and helped raise forty-five thousand dollars by auctioning his artwork to establish a self-perpetuating high school art scholarship. Serving as an artist and educator, he has shared his expertise throughout the U.S in many generous ways. "Image Courtesy of the Medina Historical Society." View File Details Page

Medina Gazebo Artwork

Medina Gazebo Artwork

Graff attempts to capture the simple and realistic beauty of historical small towns like Medina. In this picture, Graff captures the image of Medina's historic square in this watercolor painting. Graff finds himself repeatedly returning to his hometown in Medina because of how simplistic and small the city occurs to be. This allows Graff to take the plain and seemingly basic buildings of Medina, and let them be painted into art that goes deeper than the brick walls and old-time feel of the city. Now with the help of Graff's paintings, the average viewer may see not only a building, but a story that stretches further than the immediate glance. "Image courtesy of the Medina Historical Society." View File Details Page

Fredrick C. Graff Painting

Fredrick C. Graff Painting

In order to become a successful leader, one must have the quality of being a good teacher/mentor. For 40 years, Graff taught a variety of art courses for Berea City Schools. These classes included painting, drawing, airbrush, ceramics and portfolio. "Teaching helped me reinforce the basics. Each year, I created new innovative exercises and examples that would help students understand the elements and principles of design.” These ongoing exercises and critiques indirectly helped Graff and his students further understand and appreciate fundamental thought processes. Graff values being an example to both children and adults. He enjoys seeing the smiling faces on individuals after they learn difficult concepts and take notice to new ideas. Graff looks at life in a different way and he tends to influence his students. Even today, Graff shares his love and excitement for art with his young and aspiring students. "Image courtesy of the Medina Historical Society." View File Details Page

Medina Square Artwork

Medina Square Artwork

Graff shows his emotions in all of his artwork and he loves to paint as more than just a hobby. Graff pours his soul into each and every piece of art and he enjoys incorporating the historic meaning behind them. Graff paints in order to show beauty and history of small towns, like Medina. Medina means more to Graff than it does to most and he shows this through not only his words, but artwork as well. Graff uses his art to convey an interesting story in each painting and he does so by only a stroke of his brush. Each painting reads further than what the naked eye may see and because of this, Graff feels ecstatic about his occupation. “Image Courtesy of fredgraff.com” View File Details Page

Audio

Fredrick C. Graff's Learnings

Franklin Bates was Graff's most influential mentor he has yet to have. Bates taught Graff everything he knows and he has taught him beyond art. Graff learned valuable life lessons that he cherishes and now lives his life by. View File Details Page

Cite this Page:

Nicholas Acevedo, Alec Seifert, and Amber Dolly, “The Graff Legacy,” Discover Medina, accessed April 27, 2017, http://discovermedina.org/items/show/270.
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