Born: July 23, 1939
Ohio connection: Birth
Manuel Joseph Albacete was born on July 23, 1939 in Canton, Ohio, son of Francisco Albacete (contractor) and Anna Siska Albacete. He has one older brother, Frank Albacete. Most of his life he has lived in Canton, except for a period of eight years when the family resided in Johnstown, PA from 1946 to 1954, and two years serving in the US Navy aboard the Aircraft Carrier USS Essex. He attended schools in both Canton and Johnstown, graduating from McKinley High School in 1957. For several years he attended classes at Kent State University Stark Campus, transferring to Walsh University where he graduated in 1971 with a BA. On a Graduate Assistantship he attended The University of Akron, where he received his MA in English studies. Shortly after graduation, Albacete accepted a position at the Canton Art Institute (now the Canton Museum of Art) on a two-year grant. During the grant period, he authored Architecture in Canton as a Museum project in collaboration with the Junior League of Canton, and supervised several photo-panel exhibitions on local architecture. At the end of the grant period, he was retained as head of PR and Marketing, and in 1978 appointed Associate Director. In 1988 he became Executive Director, at which time he attended the Museum Management Institute under a J. Paul Getty Trust Grant. He has played an instrumental role in creating a number of important exhibitions for his Museum, including Ohio Quilts: A Living Tradition; Procession: The Parthenon Frieze; Liberty Enlightening the World; and The Tomb of Tutankhamun photo exhibition. More recently, he and his staff created a major two-museum collaborative with the Butler Institute of American Art called Clyde Singer's America, for which he wrote the biographical essay based on his interviews with the artist.
M. J. Albacete lives in North Canton with his wife Pat, and is very active in the general arts community as a speaker on art, architecture, music, and other topics which interest him. Albacete is an adjunct Professor in the Art Department of Kent State University Stark Campus, where he teaches a course in the history of architecture; currently he is beginning a similar association with Walsh University, where he will teach a class on art history and architecture. He is a long-standing member of the Ohio Humanities Council Speakers Bureau. In the future, Albacete plans to visit Greece for a study project on the history, art and architecture of the Parthenon.
2009 Ohioana Book Award Finalist, About Ohio category for Clyde Singer's America