November 16, 1953 - February 2, 2015
Stuart F. Kraft, age 61, of Dallas, Texas passed away on February 2, 2015.
Dallas Morning News – February 10, 2015
Stuart F. Kraft expressed the beauty he saw through an abundance of media. He decorated landscapes with silhouettes of animals he cut from weathered steel plates, including handkerchiefed coyotes howling at the moon.
He made jewelry, crafted furniture from fallen trees and taught others how to keep from starving as a Dallas artist.
Kraft, 61, died Feb. 2 en route to a Dallas hospital after having a seizure in his sleep.
Services will be at 3 p.m. Sunday at Northwest Bible Church in Dallas. A celebration of his life will be from 6 to 10 p.m. Feb. 20 at the Sammons Center for the Arts, 3630 Harry Hines Blvd.
“He was the most resourceful person I’ve ever met. He could make something beautiful out of anything,” said his sister Alison Victoria of Dallas. “Whether it was an old tree that had blown down, or scrap metal … he was able to create beauty. That was his greatest gift.”
Kraft has sculptures across the nation, and in Barcelona, Spain. His Dallas works include the 27-foot tall Pegasus at Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, and a Phoenix at the Stoneleigh P restaurant in Oak Lawn. He was artist in residence at Booker T. when he designed and built the Pegasus in collaboration with magnet students and Jerry Daniels.
“He was always trying something new, whether it was jewelry, or furniture or steel sculpture,” his sister said. “He’s always been open to trying new things.”
Kraft was born in Brooklyn and grew up on Long Island, where he became interested in art in high school.
“He was always very creative, always interested in anything artistic,” said his mother, Vickie Kraft of Dallas. “It was the kind of thing that was there and just developed into different categories as he grew.”
Kraft started making jewelry with African trade beads. He received a bachelor’s degree in fine jewelry from North Texas State University, now the University of North Texas, in 1976. His career was a blend of working artist, teacher and conservator. He was an artist in residence across Texas, the U.S. and Europe.
In 1990, he earned a certificate in the care of public monuments from the Department of the Interior. In 2002, he received a master in fine art in sculpture and hybrid media from the University of North Texas.
Kraft was a pioneering artist in Dallas, first in the Bishop Arts District and then in the Design District, his sister said.
“He kind of had a knack for moving to these places and getting involved in these places that later became hubs for art and design,” Victoria said.
Kraft’s spectrum of interests included playing the ukulele, riding his Italian motorcycle and working with video.
In addition to his mother and sister, Kraft is survived by another sister, Helene Cronin of Dallas; and two brothers, David Kraft of McKinney and Robert Kraft of Austin.
Memorials may be made to the Sammons Center for the Arts, 3630 Harry Hines Blvd., Dallas, Texas 75219, or to a charity of the donor’s choice.
Arrangements are under the direction of
ARIA Cremation Service and Funeral Home
19310 Preston Road
Dallas, Texas 75252
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