Philadelphia Sculptors records
Held at: University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts [Contact Us]3420 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6206
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.
Overview and metadata sections
The still-active Philadelphia Sculptors was founded in 1996 by a group of professional sculptors in order to establish more visibility and opportunity for sculptors living in the greater Philadelphia area. Their mission, as defined by organizational records, is "to promote contemporary sculpture and serve as an advocate for sculptors ... [through] exhibitions, conferences and educational outreach to expand public awareness of the role and value of sculpture within our culture," (promotional brochure, box 1, folder 1). The group aims to create a network for the "more than 1,000 sculptors resid[ing] in Philadelphia, its suburbs and ex-urbs, many working in isolation with little local public recognition and with few local exhibition opportunities" (Philadelphia Sculptors: A new guild providing exhibition opportunities, networking, and information," box 1, folder 1)
The organization, led by Leslie Kaufman, who has served as president from 1996 to 2023, consists of members who are independent professional artists, faculty and students from local art colleges and universities, and supporters of sculpture. Founding artists include C'Anne Anderson, Warren Angle, Ava Blitz, Arlene Borow, Ann Chahbandour, Knox Cummins, Roberta Fallon, Peter Frantz, Fran Gallun, Leslie Kaufman, Peter Kinney, Barry Parker, Libby Rosof, and Roy Wilson. Membership is made available to sculptors of any skill level, from emerging to nationally recognized artists, across the country. The organization provides opportunities for sculptors to exhibit in both juried and non-juried shows. In 1996, creating a "slide registry," was a major goal for the organization and a significant benefit for members, generating exhibition opportunities for internal Philadelphia Sculptor shows as well as being made available to outside curators.
In addition to providing opportunities for sculptors to exhibit their work, Philadelphia Sculptors also aims to provide educational opportunities to their members with programming such as seminars and workshops, a newsletter (first published as Post Script and later as 3rd Dimension), and a network of area sculptors who could form a community for sharing feedback, ideas and resources (including equipment).
Elected officers include president, vice-president, secretary and treasurer. The board of directors consists of 25 members who serve for terms of three years. The steering committee consists of a smaller group of members. Over the years, open meetings, conferences, and lectures have been held, in addition to the more than 60 shows that the Philadelphia Sculptors has organized and in which members have participated.
Philadelphia Sculptors records, 1982-2022 (bulk: 1996-2022), Ms. Coll. 1508, box 1, folder 1.
This collection documents the organization and operation of the Philadelphia Sculptors; its members and photographic representations of their artistic works; and its record of exhibitions. The collection is arranged in three series: I. Administrative records, II. Artists' files, and III. Exhibition files. Nearly all material contained in this collection was stored by the Philadelphia Sculptors in binders. While material was removed from binders for preservation purposes, the structure of the binders was maintained, as was, for the most part, the order of the material within the binders.
The first series, I. Administative records contains materials relating to the organization of Philadelphia Sculptors and includes by-laws, mission and purpose statements, promotional material, articles of incorporation, and financial and legal papers in connection to incorporation. Board meetings agendas and minutes date from 1999 to 2022 and steering committee agendas and minutes date from 1996 to 2022. In some cases, only agendas or minutes exist, but even when only agendas exist, there are generally notes written on the agenda, resulting in a fairly comprehensive record of the meeting. Newsletters, dating from 1996 to 2007, provide an excellent snapshot of the accomplishments and plans of the organization.
Series II. Artists' files contains biographies and/or statements of artists, press relating to artists' works or exhibitions, and photographic representations of artists' works. The bulk of this series consists of the "slide registry," which was collected by Philadelphia Sculptors and used in order to generate exhibition opportunities for member artists. Slides are arranged alphabetically by member and contain anywhere from a single slide to multiple pages of slides of the artists' works. It seems that the "slide registry," was gradually replaced by digital files and potentially collected less deliberately as opportunities for artists to advertise their own works became more accessible via the internet.
Series III. Exhibition files contains documentation of more than 60 shows either organized by Philadelphia Sculptors or highlighting their artist members. Exhibitions are organized chronologically by the date the exhibit was held--depending up the complexity of the organization of the exhibit, planning frequently began well in advance of the actual exhibit. Nearly all files contain promotion for the exhibit--at least a flyer or postcard; but depth of documentation of specific events varies dramatically. Files may contain promotion; correspondence; loan or exhibit agreements; artists' applications, biographies, statements, and photographic examples of works; lists of artists participating in the exhibition; lists of artworks exhibited; newspaper clippings promoting or reviewing the exhibit; catalogs; photographs and/or slides; and planning and/or design documents. In addition to providing information about the actual exhibit, these files also show the complex and rigorous planning required for mounting an exhibit.
Because the files were used by Philadelphia Sculptors for specific purposes, researchers will probably need to look through multiple folders, and even series, in order to locate related files. For example, an artist may appear in the artists' biographies (resumes and artists statements), the slide registry, and within any number of exhibition files.
I. Administrative records II. Artists' files III. Exhibition files
Gift of Leslie Kaufman, 2023.
- University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts
- Finding Aid Author
- Holly Mengel
- Finding Aid Date
- 2023 April 10
- Access Restrictions
The bulk of this collection is open for research use.
- Use Restrictions
Copyright restrictions may exist. For most library holdings, the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania do not hold copyright. It is the responsibility of the requester to seek permission from the holder of the copyright to reproduce material from the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts.