Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show Accepting Applications for the 2021 Show


(Above: Silver teardrop necklace by Emily Shaffer, and Emily in her booth.)

“The Philadelphia Museum of Art Contemporary Craft Show is a great opportunity for emerging artists to try a large, high quality show containing buyers and collectors who know and appreciate fine craft. The opportunity to have a booth within the same environment as experienced, successful artists from around the country can make an impact and facilitate connections that can last long after the show. I hope emerging artists will consider and apply to this category knowing that it’s a great step towards a career in craft.” ~ Emily Shaffer

Each year for over four decades, the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show has held their juried application process, and 2021 is no different. Following a successful 2020 virtual event, the Show committee has begun planning for both an in-person* and online juried Craft Show in November 2021. The first deadline to apply is April 6th, with an extended deadline of April 19th. Click HERE for more information and to apply. 

(Above: Fiber wearable by 2020 emerging artist Melissa Pare, recipient of the 2020 Louise K. Binswanger Prize for Best Artist New to the Show)

Approximately 10,000 visitors attend the PMA Craft Show each November. Out of the 160 artists exhibiting last year, 35 were new to the Show, including ten in the emerging artist category. This particular category is not only an integral part of the Show but a very important component for someone to begin establishing themselves in the contemporary craft world, both as an artist and an entrepreneurial business person. This is highlighted so well by one of our 2020 artists, Emily Shaffer, whose trajectory to her own successful business routed right through the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show. During her video presentation last year, Emily explains why the PMA Craft Show has become so important to her. “It has a special place in my heart and I honestly wouldn’t be sitting here in this career path without it.” As a student at Kutztown University, Emily was given the opportunity to participate in the student booth at the PMA Craft Show. “I knew it was a big deal, but don’t think I realized the gravity of that opportunity till I was actually at the show”, she said. This led to her applying and being accepted into the emerging artist category. “It was great to exhibit at the show”, says Emily. “I sold pieces and that was a very new experience for me. One of the most impactful things that came out of it was the opportunity to walk around and see artists….women…making money from their craft and sharing it with the world, and that showed me that I can do this. I’m going to look for this path and learn from these amazing craftspeople and pursue this career.” 

Emily did just that. Connections she made at the Show led to an apprenticeship with New Hampshire artist Molly Grant and an internship with Maine artist Cara Romano, which helped in developing her craft skills while also gaining important business knowledge. “There’s nothing like a real world experience. I learned how to run a business, I learned how to open a gallery, and I learned how to speak with retail partners and customers. 
To wrap up, Emily says, “The PMA Craft Show is really a pivotal show in my career.”

(Above: 1) Sculptural neck piece by 2020 emerging artist Maya Rose Weiss, recipient of the 2020 Prize for Excellence in Fiber Art, 2) Wood & Light pieces by 2020 Emerging Artist Dean Babin.)

The emerging artist category is one of 13 categories, including ceramics, metal, furniture, fiber, glass, and more. The 45th Annual Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show, a juried exhibition and retail sale, will be held in-person at the Pennsylvania Convention Center and online from November 5-7, 2021, with a Preview Party on Thursday, November 4. 

*The Show Committee reserves the right to make any changes to an in-person show in 2021 based on pending status with regard to health and safety. Complying with any CDC, state, and local guidelines will be our first priority. 



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