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AMES, LYDIA MAY

AMES, LYDIA MAY (1863-October 1, 1946) was a distinguished landscape painter and one of Cleveland's first woman artists. Born in NEWBURGH, she was the daughter of Ashley Ames, who operated a livery service. May Ames (as she was known) studied art in New York and Cleveland, graduating from the Cleveland School of Art (see CLEVELAND INSTITUTE OF ART) in 1900 with a major in pictorial art. She taught for twenty-seven years at the School of Art, where she became recognized as an authority on the history and development of art. Ames preferred to work in oil, specializing in landscapes and postcard-sized miniatures. Her work led her to be called "Cleveland's first impressionist painter." Ames' paintings were chosen for the inaugural exhibit in a fifth-floor gallery opened in the Lindner Company department store in August 1925 (see STERLING-LINDNER CO.). Ames also exhibited in New York, Philadelphia, Buffalo, Detroit, and Mansfield, Ohio. At one time she was the only woman member of the New York Art Club. She also belonged to a group of Ohio-born woman painters who annually sent out a traveling exhibition of their work across the state. For the last twenty years of her life May Ames operated her own studio, where she continued to teach classes. Ames lived on Miles Avenue, and scenes from nearby GARFIELD PARK were one of her favorite subjects. Unmarried, Ames died only a few months after her only sibling, Sara, a Cleveland librarian.