About Us

Mari Hulick (Design) and Mary Jo Toles (Photography) began working together in 2009. We began by leading a group during Scott Kelby’s WorldWide Photo Shoot through the historic Flats in Cleveland. That project led to an installation that investigated the history of the area, Palimpsest.

In the past 4 years, we have produced 2 more installations (Legacy and A Place Created by Movement) and a series of books (Palimpsest, vol 1-5). This blog is a place for us to muse, ponder, and collect our thoughts on where we are going next.


Mary Jo Toles grew up in the Great Lakes region. Before joining the Cleveland Institute of Art as a Professor, she worked as a professional photographer in Chicago. She grew up in an industrial landscape that was a constant influence on her visually, physically, and philosophically. Earlier work that parallels this project investigated the Great Lakes waterways. “Getting out into the landscape leads me to people and stories.”



Mari Hulick grew up in Detroit. Before attending design school, she completed undergraduate studies at the University of Michigan in American History. From there, she moved to Chicago, Los Angeles, Paris and then New York. She wound up back in the Great Lakes region, teaching Design and working on community design projects. She has maintained a passionate interest in social history ever since her first degree at Michigan. The Rustbelt Legacy Project brings her professional life and personal interests together fully for the first time.

Leave a Reply