Q & A With Sally Sharkey: Show Chair for the 2021 Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show

After a successful 2020 PMA Craft Show in a year like no other, approaching the 2021 Show has the benefit of perspective, plus the time to plan ahead. The person leading that mission on behalf of the Women’s Committee of the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show is this year’s Chairperson, Sally Sharkey. Sally has been involved for 22 years including as Women’s Committee President, Ex-officio trustee with the museum, and she was Chair in 2005. Planning is now underway for both an in-person* and online juried PMA Craft Show in November and Sally is looking forward to the event and supporting the artists involved.

What is your favorite aspect of being Show Chair?

I love seeing the end result, the fruits of our labor, when everything is ready to go.

What will be different in 2021?

We’re happy to announce we are in the process of building a brand new website. It will be really helpful before, during, and after the event. The virtual experience will support the in-person event and we don’t have to limit the audience geographically. Exhibiting artists receive great exposure of their work which stays on the website through the following spring. We’re very excited to be branching out and taking on this new appearance and appeal. The new website will also provide better than ever exposure for our sponsors.

(Above: Desk by Robert Spiece & Larissa Huff, recipients of the 2020 Wharton Esherick Museum Prize for Excellence in Wood)

How will the in-person event and the virtual Show work simultaneously?

Whether someone attends in person or online or both, there will be a lot of coordination back and forth. There will be artists demos on the website, so if your favorite artist is live at the convention center, you’ll still be able to view the demos in the virtual space at your time and leisure. This can be helpful in planning your visit, a great way to get to know the artists, and a new way for the artists to promote themselves and their work by bringing you (virtually) into their studio.

What would you like artists to know that are considering applying?

The link to apply is HERE and the extended deadline is April 19th. To help the artists, there will be no increase in the application fee for the extended deadline. Artists receive 100% of their sales and we do all we can to help them throughout the Show. We’re not only philanthropists for the museum, we’re ambassadors for the artists. There is a sense of belonging and being supported. We are a devoted group of volunteers that was dedicated to having a Show last year and we figured out a way. Now with more time to prepare, we can reflect on what the audience and artists liked, and make it an even better experience, online and in-person.

(Above: Bowl by Delores Fortuna, recipient of the 2020 Prize for Excellence in Clay)

What would you want attendees to know about the artists and their work?

It’s just amazing to see the talent of the craft world at its best. To actually see what goes into each work of art is fun and educational. How the artists execute and complete each piece is more impactful when you see the process in action, which attendees will be able to do via the artist demos on the website. It brings a new appreciation and value to the entire experience.

Any closing remarks?

It’s a great honor and a privilege to help promote artists and watch people learn about their talents. What a sad lonely world we would have without the arts. They bring us joy, contentment, and a sense of awe. To promote the artists and to see people get that “aha” moment and realize what it takes to make the beautiful objects they’re purchasing, I feel like we’ve done our job.

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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 the first priority.

Exhibitor Application: bit.ly/PMACSApplication

 

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