CraftMONTH 2023 is chock full of creative experiences

Between Horizons at The Clay Studio.

Every November, CraftNOW holds its annual CraftMONTH, which is full of works by internationally renowned artists displayed in galleries and museums across the city and the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s annual Contemporary Craft Show (which also happens to be this weekend).

CraftNOW was founded in 2015 by a consortium of individuals, galleries, museums, universities, retailers, and civic organizations, a release explains. Each November, proclaimed as “CraftMONTH” by the City of Philadelphia in 2017, CraftNOW unites leading institutions to host a widespread and diverse celebration of the region’s rich legacy and its important role as an incubator for arts based in wood, clay, fiber, metal, and glass.

The fun really kicks off this Friday, Nov. 3, with the organization’s free annual symposium. This particular portion of the month highlights current topics in contemporary craft through presentations and panel discussions led by curators, scholars, and artists. This CraftMONTH focus will be held in person at the Moore College of Art & Design (it will also be streamed virtually), with the theme this year surrounding Craft Works.

InLiquid. Provided

The theme is said to provide a platform for critical discourse in contemporary craft, and the speakers at the event will surround every aspect of the craft landscape. Ultimately, as the release also notes, the Symposium examines 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.

The event will also honor and pay tribute to gallerists Ruth and Rick Snyderman for their contributions to the local craft community, with a talk moderated by their son. There is also a screening of a short film by John Thorton highlighting the Snyderman’s years as gallery owners on South Street and in Old City.

Other presentations and panels happening this weekend during the Symposium span a presentation titled “Crafting Community: Art as a Socially Engaged Practice” and another titled “Shaping Horizon: Collaboration and Korean Art in Philadelphia.” The former will be hosted by Anthropologist and Executive Director of Camden Fireworks, Asiyah Kurtz, while the latter will be led by the Director of Curatorial Affairs and Strategic Partnerships at the Wharton Esherick Museum, Emily Zilber.

“I am so excited to present and experience my first CraftMONTH,” said Emily Edelstein, CraftNOW’s recently appointed Executive Director in a statement. “This year’s theme, Craft Works, encompasses so many aspects of CraftNOW’s programming and the greater craft community: craft as a body of work, a profession, an economic driver, and as a conduit for community development and social change. I look forward to celebrating and advocating for craft in Philadelphia.”

Ruth and Rick SnydermanCoco Snyderman

CraftNOW’s Symposium, which is sponsored by the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, Philadelphia Cultural Fund, Rago Auctions and others, takes place on Friday, Nov. 3, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The symposium is free and open to the public, and registration details and the itinerary are available online at

The 9th annual CraftMONTH will also feature a series of exhibitions, pop-ups and events to celebrate its message.

Throughout November, various exhibition spaces across Philadelphia will present the most honored and innovative artists working today in wood, clay fiber, metal, and glass, a release states. Each year, CraftNOW highlights exhibits in museums, galleries, and other spaces, showcasing Philadelphia as an urban destination for craft and making. Craft enthusiasts can look forward to new exhibitions from CraftNOW partners, including The Clay Studio, Da Vinci Art Alliance, The Fabric Workshop + Museum, The Galleries at Moore College of Art & Design, Museum for Art in Wood, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Wayne Art Center and the Wharton Esherick Museum.

Amy Day

Philadelphians can also have front-row seats to everything that the occasion brings through The 47th Annual Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show, which will be running in the city from Nov. 3 to 5. Located at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, this show highlights 195 of the finest and most dynamic craft artists in the United States, selected by an esteemed panel of craft experts. Everything is on sale for purchase, with 100% of the proceeds going to the artists.

CraftNOW’s CraftMONTH will also feature an event titled “Create”, which will take place on Saturday, Nov. 11, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Smith Memorial Playground. This family-friendly and day-long experience is free and allows elementary-age students to try hands-on demonstrations with step-by-step instructions on how to create eight unique craft projects.

Another notable stand-out is the Wayne Art Center’s Craft Forms: An International Juried Exhibition of Contemporary Craft, on Dec. 1, at the Wayne Art Center. As a release states, this exhibition will be juried by Jean McLaughlin, a lifelong advocate for artists and former director of Penland School of Crafts.

CraftNOW Symposium.Provided

A full list of what CraftNOW’s CraftMONTH has to offer and additional information is available online at