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A Brief History of A&C – Baltimore

Thursday, Aug 01, 2013

Posted By Larry Adlerstein

A Brief History of Artist & Craftsman Supply

Baltimore, MD, established 2008

By Larry Adlerstein, Founder & President of A&C




Even though my father was an architect and my brother is presently an architect, I didn’t follow family inclinations and instead I went to law school. But maybe that architectural interest did also affect me. Especially in Baltimore.


Baltimore is an old historic city and the Maryland Institute College of Art is in what was then one of the more run down parts of the inner city. We, as an art supplier, wanted a location as close to that big art educator as possible.


There was an old warehouse near MICA but being an 80-100 year old warehouse the exterior walls were mostly broken glass windows set in rusted iron casing—the kind you open and close with hand cranks. I could see Artist & Craftsman going broke cooling the old monster in those muggy Maryland summer days.


So the architect gene sprang into action.


First I replaced broken glass with new clear rigid plastic. Then inside the glass/plastic exterior I put 1½” plastic Blue Board rigid insulation.


Then to isolate the plastic insulation from the interior occupied space, as required by building code, I put up 5/8 fire code sheet rock and we held it all together with 2x4s bolted to the brick of the old building.


I called Rob, my Philly manager, to come to Baltimore to paint and we had at it. An energy efficient art supply in a relic of an old building. 



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A Brief History of A&C – Philadelphia

Friday, Jul 26, 2013

Posted By Larry Adlerstein

A Brief History of Artist & Craftsman Supply

Philadelphia, PA, established 2007

By Larry Adlerstein, Founder & President of A&C




Philadelphia Store Manager & Northeast Manager.

”Over 10 years on the job at A&C and

I enjoy it now more than ever.

These people, the employees, and

our customers, are like a big family to me.

It’s been a pleasure getting to know all of them.”

Our Philly story is simple. Rob, our Cambridge manager, complained to me about housing costs in Boston. He said his wife, Jamie, wanted to start a family.


“Ok Rob, where do you want to move?”


Rob had visited Philly. Lots of people from New York & Boston were moving to the city of brotherly love. So we went to Philly, Rob to find his new home and me to open another Art Supply.


Rob’s family has grown and I’ve gotten six years older.



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Grit in Baltimore

Monday, Apr 19, 2010

Posted By Larry Adlerstein

One of the old warehouses in old Baltimore is our new home & we feel pretty good about our renewal solution.

Most of the exterior walls were 16” x 22” glass windows housed in rusty iron frames. Repairing or replacing the hundreds of windows was beyond our budget & if we were able to so replace we’d be left with a leaky single pane exterior wall with the energy efficiency of the 1920’s.

So, we asked Rob, our Philly manager to “Mondrian” the place. We bought about 100 plexi panels & the crew replaced the old glass with painted plexi.

Behind that went a 1.5” layer of plastic foam insulation covered by fire code sheet rock. The plexi/foam/sheetrock has been held in place by long 2x4”s bolted into the masonry walls.

So A&C has an energy efficient Baltimore home, within budget.
- Larry Adlerstein

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Jeff and Rob, the Cambridge crew.

Monday, Sep 22, 2008

Posted By Larry Adlerstein

First there was Rob.

I don’t remember how I met Rob. I was opening our first store in Boston and I believe he simply answered my help wanted ad. He was quiet and it took a few months to discern who he was.

The store had a slow start, located in a basement across the street from Pearl Paint – then the dominant player in our trade. But Rob in his gentle way won over artist after artist and built a solid business.

One day Rob came to me to say he and his wife Jamie wanted to buy a home and they couldn’t afford Boston housing. They wanted to move to Philly. O.K. We’ll open a new store in Philly.

Enter Jeff. Jeff had always been there as assistant manager but I knew little about Jeff.

After Rob went south Jeff stumbled around for a little while and then that thing happened: that thing that sometimes happens when the lid is off and an assistant has to become master. It happened to Jeff. So now I have two great managers.

The other day he came to me with an invitation, “come to Boston.”

“You visit the stores when there are troubles or problems. Why don’t you visit when things are good? We’d like to get to know you better.”

So I did. Even this old dog can learn from Jeff.

-Larry Adlerstein

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