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The Fleisher Years

Explore recent chapters to learn more about Fleisher's past, scroll down to subscribe to our mailing list, and stay tuned for expanding content.

Chapter 1

Samuel S. Fleisher and the Origins of the Graphic Sketch Club (1871-1898)

Chapter 2

The Expansion of the Graphic Sketch Club (1898-1929)

Chapter 3

A Basilica on Catharine Street Becomes an Art Sanctuary (1886-1943)

Chapter 4

Art Sanctuary as Object Lesson (1886-1934)

Chapter 5

The Graphic Sketch Club becomes Fleisher Art Memorial (1944- )

Chapter 6

Twenty Years of the Fleisher Challenge (1978-1998)

Chapter 7

Dina Wind and the Wind Challenge (2005– )

Chapter 8

Form and Function: The Louis Kahn Lecture Room (1982–2022)

Chapter 9

The Doors on Catharine Street (1916– )

Chapter 10

Print Love-In (2000– )

1871

Samuel Stuart Fleisher is born to German Jewish immigrant parents, the third child of Simon B. Fleisher (who with his brother, Moyer Fleisher, built the Fleisher Yarn Company)

1881

Dr. Henry Robert Percival assumes leadership as rector of the Church of the Evangelists on Catharine Street

1885-6

The 1830s church is torn down and a new church, design by Baker and Dallet of Furness, Evans & Co. is built

1892

Samuel Fleisher graduates from Wharton and joins the family business

1898

Samuel Fleisher establishes the Graphic Sketch Club at the Jewish Union Building at 422 Bainbridge Street

1903

Dr. Percival passes away; Dr. Charles Wellington Robinson becomes new rector at the Church of the Evangelists

1906

Graphic Sketch Club moves to 740 Catharine Street to meet growing demand for classes; Dr. Wellington founds St. Martin's College for Indigent Boys at 713-15 Catharine Street

1911

Church of the Evangelists and St. Martin's College close

1916

Fleisher acquires new space across the street in former St. Martin's College for Indigent Boys for Graphic Sketch Club

1922

Fleisher acquires adjacent Church of the Evangelist sanctuary

1923

Samuel Fleisher wins The Philadelphia Award

1944

Fleisher passes away, leaving his estate in trust to the PMA and the Graphic Sketch Club becomes Samuel S. Fleisher Art Memorial

1946

Summer program established

1958

Fleisher Art Memorial purchases 721 Catharine Street

1978

The Challenge Exhibition Series, now known as the Wind Challenge, begins

1981

Fleisher Art Memorial purchases 709 Catharine Street

1982

Fleisher Art Memorial is listed on the National Register of Historic Places; Louis Kahn Lecture Room, designed by Siah Armajani, is installed

1983

Fleisher becomes an independent non-profit

1990

Founder's Award established in honor of Samuel Fleisher's vision

1997

Fleisher's Community Partnerships in the Arts (CPA) program is established

2001

Fleisher Art Memorial purchases 705 Christian Street (now known as the Works on Paper Building)

2000

The first Print Love-In, in collaboration with Prints for Progress, occurs

2004

"Dear Fleisher, 4 x 6 inches of art" exhibition program begins

2005

Marker installed by Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission

2008

Teen Lounge program established

2012

Fleisher launches ColorWheels; Fleisher partners with La Calaca Flaca to host annual Día de los Muertos celebration

2018

Fleisher collaborates with Woman Organized Against Rape (WOAR) and VietLEAD on Bring Your Own Project

2019

Fleisher launches JumpstART workshops

2021

Fleisher re-establishes an archives program

2021-2

Fleisher partners with Casa de Venezuela and Modero & Company to present 360 Culture Lab

2022

Monica Zimmerman announced as new Executive Director

2023

FAM celebrates 125 years!