Our mission is to promote contemporary sculpture and serve as an advocate for sculptors. Our objective is to expand public awareness of the role and value of sculpture within our culture through exhibitions, public forums, member services, and educational outreach.
Philadelphia Sculptors was formed in 1996 by a small group of professional sculptors interested in establishing more visibility and opportunities for Philadelphia sculptors. We were incorporated in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in 1997 and received our 501 (c) 3 designation in 1999, identifying us as a non-profit, tax exempt organization. We are affiliated with the International Sculpture Center.
A major focus of our efforts has been that of group exhibitions. Since we began, we have sponsored numerous group shows, both juried and non-juried. The locations have included private galleries, colleges, art centers, commercial spaces, and numerous alternative and nontraditional art venues.
The scope of our exhibitions varies from small and intimate shows, to ambitious initiatives that explore larger issues or break new ground. In 2008-9, Global Warming at the Icebox was an international exhibition of sculptures and multimedia installations at the Icebox Gallery at the Crane Arts Building in Philadelphia. Fifteen artists from six countries were included. In 2012 we organized Catagenesis, an international exhibition of site specific sculptures and installations at Globe Dye Works, a vast former textile dyeing factory in the Frankford section of Philadelphia. Fifteen international, national and regional artists and artist teams transformed raw space into expressive, other-worldly environments.
Other Notable Exhibitions Include:
2005: A Case for Art - We sponsored a city-wide public art project where 28 artists created artworks in wooden briefcase forms salvaged from an old Philadelphia briefcase factory. The cases were installed indoors throughout Philadelphia in public and private venue. This was one of the events connected to the Ben Franklin 300 Philadelphia celebration.
2002 – 2005: We partnered with the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education in Philadelphia to create both indoor and outdoor environmentally themed exhibitions. Art in the Environment, a site specific exhibition of environmental sculptures, was installed on the Center’s grounds in 2002. Extinct/Extant followed in 2004 as part of the Big Nothing program sponsored by the Institute of Contemporary Art. Unearthed (2003) and Re-Use/Refuse (2005) were indoor exhibitions taking place in the Center’s gallery.
Since 2000 we have implemented 5 into 1, our annual exhibition of works of graduating sculpture students from five area colleges (Moore College of Art and Design, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Tyler School of Art, University of the Arts, and the University of Pennsylvania.) Each year 10 -15 students are chosen for the exhibition, and one receives a “Best in Show” award. Beginning in 2008, we have selected young, emerging curators to organize the shows.
In 2004 we partnered with two sculptors’ groups (Sculptors Inc. of Baltimore, and the Pittsburgh Society of Sculptors) by having joint exhibitions with their members in Towson, MD, Cincinnati, OH, Pittsburgh, and Philadelphia.
In 1999, 2001, and 2002, we had three joint shows with the Hungarian Sculptors’ Association, two in Hungary (Budapest and Pecs) and one in Philadelphia.
Other exhibition venues include:
3rd Street Gallery, Allen’s Lane Art Center, Chester County Flower Show, Federal Reserve Bank in Philadelphia, Girard College, Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton, NJ, Long Beach Island Foundation of the Arts and Sciences, Moore College of Art and Design, Philadelphia International Airport, Reading Terminal Market, Rowan University, Wayne Art Center, WHYY, and Woodmere Art Museum.
In summer, 2014 we participated in Destination Frankford, a creative placemaking initiative funded by ArtPlace America. PS helped originate and manage a pop-up gallery in Philadelphia’s underserved neighborhood of Frankford, and mounted a PS show “Reanimate,” one of the three shows at the gallery. We also sponsored six artist workshops for community members.
In 2003 we installed Chairs in the Air: A Circus in a lot on Broad St. in Philadelphia. In conjunction with Furniture 2003 – A Regionwide Celebration, chairs donated by furniture makers were transformed into circus acts. An additional performance was contributed by Spiral Q Puppet Theater.
In 1998, we implemented Cart Art in Motion, part of the Visual Fringe at the Philadelphia Fringe Festival. The project was a collaboration amongst sculptors, dancers, and musicians using artist-transformed shopping carts first displayed outside galleries and then used as part of a choreographed performance performed by dancers and sculptors to the music of a one-man band. For the 1999 Fringe Festival, sculptors created artworks from large cardboard barrels for “Barreling Art.” This event was also choreographed by a professional choreographer, and included percussive accompaniment partially provided by some of the artworks themselves.
Programs and Lectures
Another area of emphasis has been programs. We have had annual public presentations featuring noted artists, curators, gallery directors, and other arts professionals.
Programs are open to the public and have addressed areas of interest to sculptors and other members of the arts community. Noted speakers have included: sculptors Isaac Witkin, Pepón Osorio, Robert Roesche and Suzanne Reese Horvitz, and Donald Lipski; gallery owners Becky Kerlin from Gallery Joe, Rick Snyderman from Snyderman Gallery, Chris Schmidt from Schmidt-Dean, and Sande Webster from Sande Webster; past presidents of the International Sculpture Center; Penny Balkin Bach, Executive Director, Fairmount Park Art Association; arts administrators Julia Guerrero, Tom Moran, and Alex Baker, and Lee Stoetzel, Director of the West Collection.
Beginning in 2015, we are hosting the new Dina Wind Lecture Series that will be held annually at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.
In October 2002 we joined with Tri-State Sculptors (North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia) to host a sculpture conference in Philadelphia, co-sponsored by Moore College of Art and Design, the University of the Arts and the International Sculpture Center.
Members of Philadelphia Sculptors have presented workshops and after-school programs to students at both elementary and high school levels. They have also made themselves available for presentations to groups and to judge and curate shows.
Workshops and Demonstrations for Members
Although our general meetings are open to the public, more specialized workshops, demonstrations, and studio visits are offered only to our members. These have included technical demonstrations of carving, welding, and casting, as well as a workshop on photographing art. We have offered workshops mold-making, casting, papermaking and the use of encaustic.