Algesa O’Sickey

Archived in 2000


Born Algesa D’Agostino on June 4, 1917, Algesa was born in Uganda. In 1929 she moved to Cleveland Heights and attended Roxboro School. During her formative years she took classes at the Cleveland Museum of Art and at Huntington Technical School where she studied with long-time friend Paul Travis. She graduated from Heights High in 1936. In May of 1943 she had her first showing in the May Show, an annual juried exhibition of new works by artists from the Western Reserve at the Cleveland Museum.

Algesa met her future husband, celebrated artist Joseph Benjamin O’Sickey, while volunteering at the Ten-Thirty Gallery in downtown Cleveland in March 1946. Welcoming him to the gallery, it was love at first sight. They married in August 1947, going on to share a career in fine art that spanned 62 years and which included a two person show at Vixeboxse Art Galleries.

Algesa became director of the Ten-Thirty Gallery in July 1946 and remained there until it’s closing in 1950. Under Algesa’s management, the Ten-Thirty Gallery expanded its repertoire to include important national and European artists, including newcomer Roy Lichtenstein, Yasuo Kunyioshi, and Josef Albers, thus exposing Clevelanders to important contemporary artists from outside the Western Reserve. Much later, in 1970, Algesa and friend Phyllis Sloane opened a gallery on Larchmere Avenue, just off Shaker Square. The Sloane-O’Sickey Gallery exhibited contemporary artists from New York and Europe as well as celebrated Cleveland artists. It also introduced Cleveland to the tribal arts of Africa. The gallery operated through 1972.

Algesa was a multi-faceted artist who was involved in many forms of art, including painting, soft sculpting, interior design, fashion illustration, costume design, and puppeteering. As a painter, she was equally versatile, working in oil, watercolor, and pastel. During her career Algesa’s artwork had been seen at the Ross Widen Gallery, The Play House Gallery, Lake Erie College, Canton Art Institute, Butler Institute of American Art and Hiram College, among others, along with being a frequent May Show exhibitor.

On December 19, 2006, Algesa O’Sickey passed on, dying of complications from Parkinson’s disease.