The Philadelphia Sketch Club’s 150th Anniversary Exhibition at City Hall

Thursday, September 2nd,
City Hall 5th floor, NE corner
5-7 pm
in celebration of:

The Philadelphia Sketch Club’s
150th Anniversary Exhibition at City Hall

John Ennis, “Reservations”, oil on canvas.

Philadelphia – The City of Philadelphia’s Art In City Hall exhibition program introduces an exhibition by the Philadelphia Sketch Club in celebration of it’s 150th anniversary. 120 paintings, drawings, photographs and prints adorn the 5th floor corridor near the Offices of City Council and the balcony overlooking Council Chambers. The exhibit runs from September 2nd – October 22, 2010 and is located on the fifth floor, North corridor of City Hall. Visitors should sign in at the NE corner visitor’s entrance and take the elevator to the fifth floor. A reception open to the general public is scheduled for Thursday, September 2nd , from 5-7 pm.

The Philadelphia Sketch Club’s 150th Anniversary Members Exhibition at City Hall celebrates the 150th anniversary of America’s oldest artists club. The Sketch Club was founded on November 20, 1860, by six former students of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) who wanted to improve their skills at illustration. From these early meetings it became apparent the artists benefited from social exchange, seeing the works of others, mutual encouragement and a unique camaraderie. The Club’s membership soon included many painters, sculptors, print makers and art critics who would make their mark on American art history. Important early members included A. B. Frost, Thomas Moran, Edward Moran, Daniel Ridgway Knight and Howard Roberts. In the mid-1870s Thomas Eakins taught life classes at the Sketch Club and used that experience to become an instructor at PAFA when they opened the Furness building in 1876. It was during this time that Eakins painted Philadelphia’s most important painting, The Gross Clinic. In 1912 N. C. Wyeth held his first solo exhibition in the Sketch Club’s gallery. These are but a few of the important highlights from the Club’s history. Linked by their location on the 200 block of South Camac Street to the Plastic Club, an early women’s art club, both clubs remained single gender organizations until 1990. Today, over 50% of the Sketch Club’s members are women. The Club continues today with the same zeal as it did in its early days to fulfill its mission to support and nurture working visual artists, the appreciation of the visual arts, visual arts education and the value of the visual arts to the community.

This exhibition, supported by Art In City Hall and the Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy, presents a comprehensive look at art being produced by contemporary Philadelphia Sketch Club members. The exhibition is part of a number of 150th anniversary celebratory exhibitions arranged by the Sketch Club at important venues to include the National Constitution Center, Brandywine River Museum, Athenaeum of Philadelphia, Berman Museum of Art, James A. Michener Art Museum, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Woodmere Art Museum and the Free Library of Philadelphia. You can learn more about the Sketch Club at

Art In City Hall is a collaborative effort between the City of Philadelphia’s Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy and the arts community. It is supported by an independent Advisory Council made up of arts professionals and private citizens. Since the program began in 1984, over 2000 emerging artists have shown their talents in the hallways of City Hall through juried group exhibitions based on specific themes. In addition to these exhibitions, the program also displays artwork from Philadelphia’s schools, other city agencies, local non-profits, and community arts organizations. For more information, visit: or join us on!/album.php?aid=200049&id=106611054824&ref=mf

The mission of the Office of Arts Culture and the Creative Economy is to improve access to the arts for both residents and visitors and to expand arts education for young people. The Office also coordinates with relevant City agencies to unify the City’s arts efforts, oversees all the City’s arts programs, and serves as a liaison between the City’s many cultural institutions. Furthermore, the Office supports the growth and development of the City’s arts, culture, and creative economy sector, by promoting public and private investment. In addition to the Office’s focus on the nonprofit arts sector, it also focuses on the many aspects of the larger arts and culture industry including individual artists, design industries, music clubs and other entertainment ventures.

Tu Huynh, 215-686-9912 September 2010

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