The Works Gallery was founded by Ruth Snyderman in 1965. It is one of the oldest exhibiting galleries in the field of contemporary studio crafts, representing selected artists working in figurative, narrative and functional ceramics, glass, jewelry, fiber and wood. Rick Snyderman joined her in the operation of the gallery in 1972.
In 1983, the Snydermans co-founded a second operation, Snyderman Gallery, to create a specifically focused exhibition space for the rapidly developing areas of studio furniture and sculptural glass, while Works Gallery concentrated on artists in ceramics, jewelry and fiber.
During the 1980s, both became leading national galleries in those fields, mounting landmark exhibitions such as:
- glass and ceramics designed by Ettore Sottsass's Memphis Group
- one of the first exhibits of architect Robert Venturi's post-modern chair &
table designs for Knoll
- Masters of 20th Century Studio Furniture, an exhibit of 10 of the leading artists in thefield, ranging from Wharton Esherick to Wendell Castle
- solo exhibits of work by Dale Chihuly, William Morris, Harvey Littleton, Tom Patti, Toots Zynsky, Richard Marquis, Thermon Statom, Henry Halem, and many other pioneers in the field of glass sculpture.
In 1992, Snyderman Gallery acquired a 6,000 square foot space in the Old City section of downtown Philadelphia, an area that has since become one of the major cultural districts of the city. Today, Old City houses a mixture of more than 50 galleries and design studios, visual and performing arts centers, museums, and theatres, as well as some of the region's top restaurants.
The new space enabled Snyderman Gallery to expand into painting, prints, photography and sculpture. In 1996, the two galleries combined their operations in the Old City area, and began developing commissions and site-specific cultural projects for artists they represent, while
continuing to present solo and group exhibitions, and organizing exhibitions of work at art institutions throughout the United States and abroad.
The Snydermans have been active with many local, national and international organizations, some of the more recent ones being the Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts, Edgecomb, Maine; The Clay Studio, Philadelphia, Pa; and the National Crafts Council of Ireland.
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