Craft Works Symposium

                                                                                                        Don’t You Forget About Me by Soojin Choi, 2023

Friday, November 3, 2023



Moore College of Art & Design

20th and the Parkway, Philadelphia

or Attend Virtually




Each year, CraftNOW hosts a symposium to provide a platform for critical discourse in contemporary craft. This year the event will be hybrid and hosted at Moore College of Art & Design with The Galleries at Moore. 

CraftNOW’s 2023 symposium and programming will center on the theme Craft Works. Through this theme, scholars, artists, and other speakers will explore diverse and changing ideas around work that permeate every aspect of the craft landscape. Made objects capture the work of bringing an idea into reality, so much so that we call them artworks. We’ll explore the work of making things, craft practice as labor, craft’s relationship to the needs of working people, and the power of craft to enact transformative work through communities. Craft Works will also pay tribute to the important contributions of  gallerists Ruth and Rick Snyderman to Philadelphia’s craft community through their gallery, Snyderman Works.



Working Lecture and Event Schedule 

 9:30      Coffee service begins/registration

10:00    Opening Remarks

10:15    Ruth and Rick Snyderman: a Lifetime in Philadelphia Craft moderated by Evan Snyderman

11:00   Emerging Voices, presented by Rago: May Howard.  Fast Embroidery I Slow Memory: The Commemorative Impulse in Tabitha Arnold’s Labor-Centered Tapestry

11:15   Craft, Now. The Makers and Creative Businesses anchoring Philadelphia Neighborhoods: With Sharif Pendleton of Laser Philly, Tiernan Alexander and Tim Eads of Tuft the World, and Dorthea Gamble of Trunc.  Moderated by Dr. Andrew Zitcer.

12:00    Networking Lunch – RSVP required

1:00      Conventional Departures – Gallery tour

1:30     In Memoriam, presented by Helen Drutt.   
Robert Winokur(1933-2020)
William P.Daley (1925-2022)
Yvonne Pacanovsky Bobrowicz (1928-2022)
Sharon Church  McNabb (1948-2022)
Adela Akers ( 1933-2023)

1:45     Asiyah Kurtz- Crafting Community: Art as a Socially Engaged Practice

2:30    Emerging Voices, presented by Rago: Sara Morris.  Body Work: Postwar Figurative Ceramics on the West Coast

2:45     Coffee Break

3:00     Shaping the Horizon: Collaboration and Korean Art in Philadelphia – with Elisabeth Agro and Hyunsoo Woo of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Jennifer Zwilling and Juree Kim of the Clay Studio, and Doug Bucci and Ju-hyung Park of the Tyler School of Art.  Moderated by Emily Zilber.

3:45     End


  Speaker Bios

Elisabeth Agro, a museum curator and historian, embraces authenticity and pragmatism while bringing humanity into her discipline. She works collaboratively with colleagues and artists to advance an international view of contemporary decorative arts. Her curatorial practice privileges empathetic scholarship, examining cultural, socio-political, and economic contexts to foster a deeper understanding of contemporary art and the lived experience it captures. As a co-Founder of Critical Craft Forum, Elisabeth is committed to craft’s inclusion in the ever-changing global landscape of contemporary art and rethinking craft’s past as well as documenting shifts in its relationship to nomenclature, classifications, marketplace, and presentation of the museum’s collection. Her current projects include co-curating The Shape of Time: Korean Art after 1989, a cross-departmental major exhibition examining temporal dissonance in contemporary Korean art; New Grit: Art & Philly Now, which inaugurated the museum’s Daniel W. Dietrich II Galleries for contemporary art; and contributing to the four-volume catalogue of the PMA’s American silver collection.

Tiernan Alexander and Tim Eads, founders of Tuft the World, are Texas-born artists and business owners living and working in Philadelphia. The company was founded to provide tufters with the high-quality tools, materials, and instruction they need to make their own tufting projects. Tiernan and Tim’s collective experience as crafters and educators, as well as their uniquely creative approach to art and life, inspire their mission to make the craft of tufting accessible to a broad audience, while staying true to their values of equity and sustainability.

Doug Bucci is an artist and educator in the field of jewelry who uses digital processes to explore and display biological systems and the effect of disease on the body. Computer-aided technologies enable him to view and simulate not only data, but also patterns and cell forms, which he transforms into meaningful, personal, and wearable art. Bucci views his digital process as one that allows for creative freedom unfound in traditional handmade methods.  Bucci’s work is in the collections of the Windsor Castle, Berkshire, London; the Philadelphia Museum of Art; Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich; Newark Museum, New Jersey; Deutsche Goldschmiedehaus Hanau, Germany; Design Museo, Helsinki; and the State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia.

Helen Drutt English is a curatorial consultant, art historian, educator, and author. She founded Helen Drutt Gallery in Philadelphia, PA in 1973. Considered to be the “godmother of craft and a global ambassador” since the 1960s, Drutt has championed and promoted American craft internationally and helped to elevate studio craft into the realm of fine art. She has received numerous honors for her profound impact on the field of craft, including Honorary Fellow of the American Craft Council and the Lifetime Achievement in Crafts award from the National Museum of Women in Washington D.C.


Dorothea Gamble founded Trunc in 2018 with Dagmar Mitchel.  Trunc, is a gift shop located in the heart of Northern Liberties, Philadelphia.  With over 30 years of retail experience management experience, Trunc’s owners aim to provide our community with access to affordable handcrafted, sustainable, and functional products.  Ninety percent of Trunc’s products are made by women of diverse backgrounds. They are functional sustainable and made in small batches. Many of the items in the gift shop feature businesses founded and staffed black, Latin, LGBTQ and veteran entrepreneurs. All of the items are curated for their ethical and sustainable commitment to the environment.


May Howard is a Houston-based arts administrator, writer, and artist. Her ceramics practice informs scholarly and curatorial interests that lie at the intersection of craft, performance, and technology. She received a M.A. in Modern and Contemporary Art History at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2022 and holds a B.A. in Art History from the University of North Texas. She currently works at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston as a curatorial administrative assistant to the Decorative Arts and European Art departments. She has held previous curatorial fellowships and research positions at the Dallas Museum of Art and the Roger Brown Study Collection in Chicago.


Juree Kim is a South Korean artist who has developed a mastery of clay sculpture over a 15 year career. She is internationally known for her Architectural Series where she uses water to artificially dissolve clay houses — a metaphor for time and the transience of the physical world. Kim also produces mixed media installations aimed to provide a multi-sensory experience. Her work has been exhibited all over the world including at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum, where it is now part of V&A’s collection. Kim lives and works in Seoul.

Asiyah Kurtz is an applied anthropologist and Executive Director of Camden FireWorks. Originally from Memphis, TN, she earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Memphis where she focused her work on community development and organizing. Her master’s research at Goucher College offered alternative indicators for connecting culture to development in the local arts economy. A self-taught quilter, Asiyah is accustomed to taking seemingly disparate items and weaving them together to create solutions that address macro-issues.  As Executive Director of Camden FireWorks, Asiyah leads the organization using an equity-driven, assets-based approach. True to FireWorks mission to “use art to create social change”, Asiyah uses all her resources to illuminate the human condition and celebrate our diversity and shared humanity.

Sara Morris is a Ph.D. Candidate in the History of Art & Architecture Department with a doctoral emphasis in Feminist Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Her dissertation, “Clay Bodies: Figurative Ceramics and the Crafting of Identity in Postwar Sculpture,” traces a history of figurative ceramic sculpture by women artists on the West Coast. Sara currently holds a position as the Smithsonian American Women’s History Initiative Curatorial/Research Assistant at the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Renwick Gallery. 

Ju-hyung Park was born in 1985 in Seoul, South Korea.  Park makes functional objects such as lighting, tableware and jewelry. He combines traditional techniques such as sheet metal forming that he has polished up over a long time with digital processes that allow him to build a variety of shapes. He is an MFA candidate in the Metals/Jewelry/CAD-CAM department at Temple University Tyler School of Art and Architecture. He earned his BFA and MFA in metalwork and jewelry from Kookmin University in Seoul. His work has been in exhibitions in France, Germany, and South Korea.

Sharif Pendleton is an entrepreneur, educator, and creative consultant obsessed with solving problems for people and industries through innovative products and processes. With degrees in Multimedia and Strategic Advertising from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, Sharif honed his skills by transforming complex processes into comprehensive learning solutions for top companies across various industries. He is the founder of LaserPhilly, a burgeoning creative hub that bridges the gap between traditional handmade techniques and innovative technologies. Opening this fall in Northern Liberties, LaserPhilly comprises a retail store, dynamic workshop space and design studio.

Evan Snyderman is the co-founder and artistic and creative director of R & Company in New York city.  For over 25 years, R & Company has been dedicated to the promotion and preservation of 20th and 21st century design. Snyderman received his BFA from Rochester Institute of Technology in 1992 and his MFA from Tyler School of Art in 1994. A Philadelphia native, as a professional artist, Snyderman received a Wheaton Fellowship in 1995 and a teaching position at Urban Glass in Brooklyn, New York the same year. Snyderman’s artwork is included in the permanent collections of the Delaware Art Museum, the Corning Museum of Glass and the
Hadeland Glassverk museum in Oslo, Norway.

Ruth and Rick Snyderman are Philadelphia gallerists, collectors and craft advocates.  They have served on many boards and worked with numerous community organizations.  Ruth owned the Works Gallery starting in 1965. In 1983, Ruth and Rick opened the Snyderman gallery.  In January 2011, the galleries combined to form the Snyderman Works.  In 2017, the Snydermans closed the gallery and retired, but are still active speakers, jurists, board members and art consultants.

Hyunsoo Woo, the Pappas-Sarbanes Deputy Director for Collections, formally the Maxine and Howard Curator of Korean Art and the Head of the East Asian Art Department, Philadelphia Museum of Art, is a leading authority on Korean Art and one of only a few Korean art curators in the United States.  With a wide range of curatorial interests from traditional to contemporary Korean art, Woo curated PMA’s first Korean American female artist’s solo exhibition, Jean Shin: Collections (2018). Her 2014 special exhibition at PMA, Treasures from Korea: Arts and Culture of the Joseon Dynasty, 1392-1910, was highly acclaimed and also traveled to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. The exhibition accompanied a substantial scholarly catalogue of the same title published by the Yale University Press. Woo is currently co-curating a large-scale special exhibition on contemporary Korean Art, The Shape of Time: Korean Art After 1989 to be presented in October 2023. Prior to her appointment at PMA in 2006, Woo held positions at the Brooklyn Museum (1997-2001) and Japan Society Gallery, New York (2001-2005). Woo received a Master of Arts degree in Visual Arts Administration from New York University, a Master of Arts degree in Korean Art History and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Chinese Language and Literature from Ewha Womans University, Seoul.

Emily Zilber is a curator, consultant, and educator whose work supports modern and contemporary art, craft, and design. As the Director of Curatorial Affairs and Strategic Partnerships at the Wharton Esherick Museum in Malvern, Pennsylvania, she facilitates conversations between contemporary artists and Esherick’s legacy. Zilber also maintains an independent consulting and writing practice, teaches at Tyler School of Art and Architecture, and guest curated exhibitions for institutions including the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum. For almost a decade, Zilber was the first Wornick Curator of Contemporary Decorative Arts at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, where she built an integrated curatorial program for craft and design within the museum’s contemporary art department.

Andrew Zitcer is an Associate Profesor in Drexel University’s Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design, where he directs the Urban Strategy graduate program. His research concerns cultural democracy, creative placemaking, and cooperative social and economic practices. His book, Practicing Cooperation: Mutual Aid Beyond Capitalism, was published in 2021 by University of Minnesota Press.

Jennifer Zwilling is the Curator and Director of Artistic Programs at The Clay Studio in Philadelphia. As an active scholar in the craft world she has forged relationships across museum, academic and media boundaries. At The Clay Studio Zwilling administers the Resident Artist Program, The Clay Studio Collection, and the Guest Artist Program. She guides the Exhibition Program in concert with co-curators and the Exhibition Council, and has recently produced exhibition including Figuring Space and Between Horizons. As a member of the leadership team she shapes programming in support of The Clay Studio’s mission – to support artists and community through the ceramic arts.



 The 47th Annual Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show returns to the Pennsylvania Convention Center November 3 – 5, 2023. Visit their website linked above and follow them on social media @PMACraftShow for more details. 

Recent Symposium History

2022: Public | Private

CraftNOW’s 2022 symposium and programming centered on the theme Public | Private and explored continually evolving concepts of shared versus personal space.  The keynote speaker was be Michael Lewis, architectural critic for the Wall Street Journal and author of Philadelphia Builds: Essays on Architecture, Frank Furness: Architecture and the Violent Mind, and City of Refuge.  Other presenting institutions included Craft in America, The Center for Art in Wood, Wharton Esherick Museum, varying divisions of the Philadelphia Mummers Parade, and four emerging scholars.

View 2022 Symposium >

2021: Environmental Effects

CraftNOW’s 2021 symposium Environmental Effects examined how communities and interiors shape our experiences, when sustainability issues are expressed through craft, and the greater impact of our contemporary material culture. Longer presentations were complimented by shorter Pecha Kucha style talks. Dr. Kelli Morgan was keynote having contributed the chapter Crafting Diversity in our recent publication Craft Capital: Philadelphia’s Cultures of Making.

View 2021 Symposium >


2020: Cultures of Making

CraftNOW’s 2020 symposium Cultures of Making examines the many ways community, activism, research, and connection develop out of collaborative craft practices in the neighborhoods of Philadelphia to the Santa Clara Pueblo and beyond. Keynote speakers Vashti DuBois, Executive Director of The Colored Girls Museum in Philadelphia, and Hinda Mandell, editor of Crafting Dissent: Handicraft as Protest from the American Revolution to the Pussyhats, are central to each day’s conversation as we talk and think about the role of craft as a tool for provocation and exchange, especially in this heightened time of social unrest.

View 2020 Symposium >

Moore College of Art & Design

20th and the Parkway, Philadelphia