Celebrating the 124th Annual Adult Student Exhibition

Samuel S. Fleisher founded the Graphic Sketch Club, which would later become Fleisher Art Memorial, in 1898. A self-professed believer in “bringing the influence of art whenever and wherever possible into child life,” Fleisher felt that art belonged to all people and that it was “the most democratic thing in the world… It knows no country, race or religion and often drops its choicest blessings where least expected.”

The Graphic Sketch Club “held children’s classes in drawing, and classes for all ages in sketching, portraiture, illustrating, designing, etching, modeling, and rhythmic expression.” Fleisher Art Memorial carries on that mission 125 years later, offering free and low-cost art instruction to whomever comes through its doors.

Though the student exhibition has also been an annual event since the organization’s inception, the earliest account of the exhibition I could find was from 1916: “The 18th Annual Exhibition of the Graphic Sketch Club, held in Memorial Hall in Fairmount Park, showcased sixty-nine art works in oil, watercolor and chalks, and thirty-eight pieces of bronze, plaster and clay sculpture from teachers, Graphic Sketch Club students, and even work from Samuel S. Fleisher himself.” [1]

Things change in 125 years, however, and Fleisher’s class offerings—which are reflected in this year’s student exhibition—are no exception.

The 124th Adult Student Exhibition (there are now separate exhibitions for teachers and students participating in Fleisher’s children and youth programming) includes work in media that would have seemed alien to a Graphic Sketch Club student in 1898: screen printing, video art and animation, digital illustration, and digital photography, to name a few. But as Fleisher Art Memorial continues to evolve and expand its range of classes, it stays true to Samuel Fleisher’s mission: to make art accessible to everyone, regardless of economic means, background, or artistic experience.

[1] Art in Philadelphia, Eugene Castello, The American Magazine of Art, Vol. 7 No. 10 (Aug. 1916), pp 423-425.

Written by Martha Aleo. Martha is a Fleisher Student Advisory Council member and a blogger at Ornamento.

124th Annual Adult Student Exhibition Awardees with Class Information


First Place: Bernadette Sunner, Sprout, Children’s Book Illustration, Instructor: Andre Chaney

Second Place: Mary-Angela Papalaskari, Self Portrait in Recycling Bin (Perspective Study), Drawing with Confidence, Instructor: Barbara Zanelli

Third Place: Joy Wiltenburg, Clark Park beech , Drawing with Confidence, Instructor: Barbara Zanelli

Still Life, Landscape and Figure Painting

First Place: Taryn Gillies, Dumpsters, Intro to Portrait Painting, Instructor: Inga Kimberly Brown

Second Place: Louise Vallely, Model, 2022 , Portrait Painting, Instructor: Inga Kimberly Brown

Third Place: Daniel Van Dyk, Vienna, Portrait Painting, Instructor: Paul DuSold

Abstract Painting

First Place: Kathy Lieb, Collateral Damage, Critique Seminar, Instructor: Fran Gallun

Second Place: Judith Dutton, Houston Meadows II, Painting with Imagination, Instructor: Lara Cantu-Hertzler

Third Place: Ryan Myers, Fraternal Twins, Abstract and Intuitive Painting, Instructor: Chau Nguyen


First Place: Andrea Preis, Tra-la-la-tra-la, Ceramics Open Studio

Second Place: Rennia Rodney, Big Ass Pot, Nigerian & Ghanaian Pottery, Instructor: Robin Williams-Turnage

Third Place: Cynthia Bayer, Fig Newtons, Ceramics Open Studio


First Place: Julia Durand, Creatures at home, Ceramics Open Studio

Second Place: Mary Miraflor, Untitled, Portrait Sculpture, Instructor: Cathy Hopkins

Third Place: Carole Abercauph, Figure Study, Terracotta Figure Sculpture, Instructor: Cathy Hopkins

Fiber Arts & Crafts

First Place: Sheru Hoffman, Mosaic Collage, Mosaics, Instructor: Carol Stirton-Broad

Second Place: Francesca Lally, Sythie, Frame It Yourself, Instructor: Robert Stauffer

Third Place: Bonita Sklar-Friedman, The Wizard’s Secrets, Mosaics, Instructor: Carol Stirton-Broad


First Place: Peri Law, mishandled, Papermaking, Instructor: Anna Benjamin

Second Place: Phoebe Murer, Geyser Eruption, Screenprint, Instructor: Bill Brookover

Third Place: Ash Fritzsche, Billy’s Conex, Stone Lithography, Instructor: Peter Hartz


First Place: Olivia Davis, Wildwood Fog, Darkroom: Color Photography, Instructor: Ahmed Salvador

Second Place: Elise Harven, Peak into Paradise, Darkroom: Color Photography, Instructor: Ahmed Salvador

Third Place: Steve Schultz, Legacy, Darkroom Open Studio

Erick J. Dougherty Award in Photography
Jon Kriney, Folded House, Darkroom: Color Photography, Instructor: Ahmed Salvador

Student Advisory Council Award
Sarvelia Peralta-Duran, Venus Garden, Collage and Papercutting, Instructor: Henry Bermudez

Francis McCarthy Drawing Award
Diane Fredrickson, Le Petite Elephant, Introduction to Drawing, Instructor: Barbara Zanelli

Watch the full Awards Ceremony here.

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