Collaborating with artists, revealing new possibilities.
Who We Are
The Fabric Workshop and Museum (FWM) is an internationally acclaimed contemporary art museum devoted both to the creation and presentation of innovative works of art. Its Artist-in-Residence Program provides artists at all stages of their careers with the opportunity to collaborate with FWM as they experiment with new materials and new media, taking their work in fresh and often unexpected directions. Founded in 1977 by Marion “Kippy” Boulton Stroud (1939-2015), FWM presents ambitious exhibitions which convey a story of contemporary art that unites process with finished works.
FWM originally invited artists to experiment with fabric, and later with a wide range of innovative materials and media. From the outset, FWM also served as an education center for Philadelphia’s youth who, as printing apprentices, learned technical and vocational skills along with approaches to creative expression. Today, FWM is recognized as an internationally acclaimed contemporary art museum, working in collaboration with artists coming from diverse artistic backgrounds including sculpture, installation, video, painting, photography, ceramics, and architecture. Research, construction, and fabrication occur on site in studios (open by appointment) providing visitors with the opportunity to see artwork from conception to completion.
FWM’s permanent collection includes not only completed works of art, but also material research, samples, prototypes, and photography and video of artists making and speaking about their work. This collection and archive, as well as publications, preserve and document the arc of artistic production. FWM brings this spirit of artistic investigation and discovery to the wider public and to local students in particular, ensuring and broadening their access to art and advancing its role as a catalyst for innovation and social connection.
Since its inception in 1977, The Fabric Workshop and Museum (FWM) has developed from an ambitious experiment to a significant contemporary art institution, featuring a museum collection documenting over 40 years of artistic innovation, highly acclaimed exhibitions, and an educational program featuring apprenticeships and a diverse range of public programming.
At the outset, Marion Boulton Stroud (1939-2015) envisioned founding an organization that combined the activities of the Finnish fabric printing company Marimekko—which promotes design excellence in everyday objects—with contemporary printmaking ateliers such as Gemini G.E.L. and Universal Limited Art Editions (U.L.A.E.)—which encourage artists to experiment with techniques unfamiliar to them, such as lithography or etching. With these models, Stroud established an inner-city art education program that provided a creative outlet for students of all ages, while also training them for careers in the textile industry.
Within FWM’s workshop space, students and artists have mastered hand screenprinting on fabric, as well as exploring a wide array of new materials and new media. Working alongside FWM’s highly trained staff as part of the internationally acclaimed Artist-in-Residence (AIR) Program, artists have realized ambitious and experimental projects that they may not have been able to achieve on their own. Over the years, the artworks resulting from this collaborative process have expanded the possibilities of contemporary art practice with the integration of new techniques, applications, and presentations.
In 1996, the word “Museum” was integrated into the institution’s name to reflect its growing collection of contemporary art, as well as FWM’s commitment to the presentation and preservation of these holdings and related educational programming.
Susan L. Talbott served as Executive Director from 2016 through 2019, during which time FWM more than doubled its attendance and professionalized its operations. Christina Vassallo, who followed Talbott as Executive Director from 2020 through early 2023, spearheaded an effort to keep FWM an active leader among the Philadelphia community’s institutions throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. In March 2023, Harry Philbrick joined FWM as Interim Executive Director after founding Philadelphia Contemporary in 2016 and serving as its Founding Director and CEO.
To learn more, please visit the FWM Press Room.
The Fabric Workshop and Museum respectfully acknowledges Lenni Lenape people, whose presence and resilience continues to this day in what we call Pennsylvania. We take this opportunity to honor the original caretakers of this land and recognize the histories that have brought our institution and ourselves here. We are all on ancestral lands, and we pay respect to elders, past and present. Our hope is to understand, and be accountable to, the full history of the space from which we work, dream, and make. This ongoing process will create new partnerships and inspire reflection, conversation, and action.
This Land Acknowledgement was developed by FWM Board and Staff in cooperation with local leaders of the Lenni Lenape community, who are working with us to continue FWM’s efforts toward accountability and understanding.
Board of Directors
Marion Boulton Stroud (1939-2015)
Founder and Artistic Director (1977-2015)
Interim Executive Director
Maja Paumgarten Parker, President
Jill Bonovitz, Vice President
Regina Morgan, Treasurer
Harry Feldman, Secretary
Harry Philbrick, Interim Executive Director
Lynn Leonard Hitschler
Ann T. Loftus, Esquire
Margaret “Maggie” A. McGreal
John B. Ravenal
Theodore R. Aronson, Emeritus
Richard P. Jaffe, Esquire, Emeritus
Katherine Sokolnikoff, Emeritus
David F. Stephens, Emeritus
Cynthia Stroud, Emeritus
Anne F. Wetzel, Emeritus
Artist Advisory Committee
Primarily serving as advisors, advocates, and ambassadors, Artist Advisory Committee members support FWM’s goal of collaborating with artists to develop an ambitious schedule of residencies, exhibitions, and programs.
John B. Ravenal, Chairman
Valerie Cassel Oliver
Ryan N. Dennis
Past members include Francesco Bonami, James Carpenter, Paolo Columbo, Lauren Cornell, Amada Cruz, Michael Darling, Kathie DeShaw, Helen Drutt English, Russell Ferguson, Thelma Golden, David Allen Hanks, Jun Kaneko, Rick Lowe, James Melchert, John Ollman, Lisa Phillips, Betye Saar, Rob Storr, Dianne Perry Vanderlip, Robert Venturi, Olga Viso, Yoshiko Iwamoto Wada, Kara Walker, and Betty Woodman.