Fleisher Art Memorial Celebrates 125th Anniversary

PHILADELPHIA, May 26, 2023—Fleisher Art Memorial (FAM) is observing its 125th birthday this year, marking the occasion with a series of onsite and satellite events including a daylong celebration in early June as well as a two-day Founder’s Weekend in September.

The celebration comes on Saturday, June 3rd, also serving as a fundraiser for Fleisher Art Memorial’s future. During the daytime, FAM will host a free block party from 11 am–3 pm on the 700 block of Catharine Street to showcase its creative community. The event will feature family-friendly activities led by local artists, Fleisher staff, and community partners, as well as a series of free musical and dance performances in adjacent Palumbo Park.

Later that evening, there will be a ticketed birthday party from 8–11 pm in Fleisher’s historic Sanctuary. The evening program will be led by co-hosts Jarbeaux, Artistic Director of The Bearded Ladies Cabaret, and Sinta Penyami Storms, Founder and Director of Modero & Company. Tickets for the evening 21+ event can be purchased on Fleisher’s website at fleisher.org.

Founder’s Weekend will follow at Fleisher on Saturday, September 8th and Sunday, September 9th, centered around events related to the presentation and celebration of the Founder’s Award. Dating back to 1990, the award recognizes commitment to providing arts access, promoting creative expression, and enriching Philadelphia’s cultural landscape. More information about this year’s honorees and events will be released this summer.

Other celebratory events include:
• Fall 2023 exhibition in the Dene M. Louchheim Galleries at Fleisher Art Memorial presenting the work of celebrated artist and former Fleisher student Dox Thrash.
• Satellite exhibitions at City Hall and the Philadelphia Foundation, showcasing Fleisher’s programs and history during the summer and fall, respectively.

In January, FAM launched an initiative known as The Fleisher Years, featuring a deep dive into the institution’s archives and its past – starting with the birth of founder Samuel S. Fleisher in 1871. Presented in a set of chapters available on the homepage of the organization’s website, recent installments of The Fleisher Years explore the evolution of Fleisher’s Sanctuary from an Episcopal church to its current use, and the establishment of Fleisher’s annual juried Challenge exhibition series—later to become known as the Wind Challenge—as a means of supporting the Philadelphia arts community.

“For 125 years, Fleisher has modeled what being a community anchor really looks like, and the work it has already done to bring art and creativity into the city with a service mindset is unparalleled,” said Monica Zimmerman, Fleisher’s new executive director. “This year, as we celebrate the organization’s history and impact, we’re also looking ahead to an exciting new chapter as we renew our commitment to the mission established by Samuel Fleisher so many years ago.”

The institution was founded by industrialist Samuel S. Fleisher in 1898; it was one of the nation’s first community-based art centers. It is renowned for its long-standing mission of making art accessible to people regardless of economic means, background, or artistic experience. Fleisher Art Memorial provides free and low-cost studio art classes along with opportunities for emerging and seasoned artists to exhibit their work. Extensive art education and community-based programming also reflects the organization’s commitment to strengthening communities by developing, sharing, and promoting creative resources.

Major support of Fleisher Art Memorial is provided by the William Penn Foundation and Philadelphia Foundation, and PNC Arts Alive. Fleisher receives state art funding support through grants from Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, Pennsylvania Humanities Council, and National Endowment for the Arts. Additional support is provided by Christopher Ludwick Foundation, Robert Lehman Foundation, Sheila Fortune Foundation, Dolfinger McMahon Foundation, and the Christopher Lindback Foundation.


Media Contact

Erin Sweeny
Director of Communications
Fleisher Art Memorial
215-922-3456 ext. 350

Leave a Comment

Comments are subject to review. Your email is never published nor shared. *Required fields