Tony Cross, Legacy Member

Getting to know more about the founding members of the Whiskey Painters of America
Leroy “Tony” Cross (1927 – 2016)

When Tony Cross was asked “What is it you like most about art?” his quick answer was “EVERYTHING!” Tony always enjoyed creating artwork. After his move to Ohio, he began to pursue his painting career in earnest. As a Tool and Die maker at Goodyear, he loved working with his hands and art came easily to him. Joining the Cuyahoga Valley Art Center opened many new opportunities as a painter, attending many workshops as well as becoming an outstanding watercolor instructor at CVAC, the University of Akron and the Massillon Museum, where many of his students remember how he stressed to “mix your blacks” and “do not use opaque white paint” – “because I teach transparent watercolor”! He studied with legends such as John Pike, Tom Nicholas, Paul Strisik, Don Stone, Marc Moon, and Edgar Whitney to name a few.

Tony was one of the earlier members of the Whiskey painters of America. Many lifelong friendships were formed through his active participation in the WPA. As he described it, “They are all just a fantastic group of people. We all like the same things. Sometimes some of us get together at a bar and paint. It’s the camaraderie.” Tony became the president of the Whiskey Painters in 1988 and served in that capacity until 2003. He was also president of the Akron Society of Artists, a lifetime member of the Cuyahoga Valley Art Center and a member of the Hudson Society of Artists.

Among these accomplishments, one of the most important to him was being part of “The Lakeside Gang” that met every year at the Fred Graff workshop. As he related, “That bunch and that unique experience had the most impact on me as an individual as well as an artist”.

After serving in the Navy, he and his wife Liz raised a family in Cuyahoga Falls where he enjoyed playing golf and snow skiing with his son. Liz was active in the Cuyahoga Falls Historical Society and was the curator for the history museum.