Craft Capital Symposium

Friday, November 8, 2019

12:00pm – 6:00pm

PAFA, Rhoden Arts Center

128 North Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA


RSVP for Networking lunch.


Each year, CraftNOW hosts a symposium to provide a platform for critical discourse in contemporary craft. A half day of talks and moderated discussions is being planned surrounding the theme Craft Capital with the definition of “capital” interpreted broadly for its relation to place, economics, resources, prominence, etc. and as it relates to CraftNOW’s upcoming publication Craft Capital: Philadelphia’s Cultures of Making.

Michelle Millar Fisher will be the 2019 keynote as one of the contributing authors for the publication and for her recent role as the Louis C. Madeira IV Assistant Curator of European Decorative Arts at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Fisher’s recent exhibition Designs for Different Futures will concurrently be on view at the PMA and she was recently named Ronald C. and Anita L. Wornick Curator of Contemporary Decorative Arts at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.

This event is free and open to the public.

This program has been made possible with funding from the Center for American Art at the Philadelphia Museum of Art with additional sponsorship support from Rago Auction and the American Craft Council.

An RSVP will be required to attend the networking lunch – click here

An RSVP is also recommended for large groups by emailing

Lecture and Event Schedule
12:00pm         Join CraftNOW for lunch and meet symposium panelists. Click here to RSVP 

1:00pm           Opening Remarks by CraftNOW

1:10pm           Philadelphia Craft Resources with Jennifer Zwilling, moderator (The Clay Studio) and panelists Kelly Shindler (Pew Center for Arts and Heritage), Elisabeth Agro (Philadelphia Museum of Art), Chad Curtis (Tyler School of Art), and Luci Jockel (JV Collective and Towson University) will reflect on Philadelphia’s robust craft ecology with representatives from some of the most active sectors, including an artist, a university teacher, a museum curator, and a grantmaker. 

2:00pm           Make it Work: Craft, Business, and Building a Sustainable Life in the Arts with Emily Zilber, moderator (Independent Curator) and panelists Alex Conner (Philly Stewards), Liz Sytsma (Wild Hand), and Stacey Lee Webber (Artist) talk craft, entrepreneurship, and navigating the opportunities and challenges offered by Philadelphia’s unique landscape while building businesses in the arts.

3:00pm           Coffee Break

3:30pm           Material Gestures: Performing Craft artist talk with Martha McDonald, an interdisciplinary artist whose site-specific installations and performances feature handcrafted costumes and objects, will focus on her process of research and making.

4:15pm           Craft Driven Economic Development with Adam Kenney will outline the evolution and essentials of his programming through the Craft Business Accelerator and Monmade at Bridgeway Capital, and the methods used to empower craftspeople to become engaged and effective allies in equitable economic development. 

5:00pm           Crafting a Moral Compass, the keynote with Michelle Millar Fisher, will look at historical models of craft practice, as well as contemporary currents set forth from Fisher’s position as a museum curator responsible for the intersection of craft, design, and decorative arts of our time. In a moment where global and local forms of political turmoil, human crisis, and environmental disaster cannot be ignored, this talk will explore modes of sustainability related to materials, process, and labor, as well as social responsibility, commerce, aesthetics, and equity.


11am -9pm   Around the corner at the PA Convention Center is the 43rd Annual Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show – the nation’s premier show and sale of contemporary craft and design.  Stop in to see the work of Stacey Lee Webber, Roberta Massuch and many other talented artists from Philadelphia and around the United States.  Visit with this year’s guest artists from Israel and with students from three participating university programs.

Ticket information is available online at


PAFA Rhoden Arts Center

128 North Broad Street