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 the
field, 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.
Rick Snyderman Owner
Rick Snyderman has been active in the American Studio Craft movement since 1972, joining his wife Ruth at that time in the operation of The Works Gallery, which she founded in 1965. In 1983, He formed Snyderman Gallery, which specialized in contemporary studio furniture and glass. In the 1990s, he moved Snyderman Gallery to the Old City section of Philadelphia - then a largely abandoned warehouse district - and helped create First Friday, an event that brought thousands of people once a month to that district, spawning the development of Old City as a vibrant residential, cultural and commercial area. Since 2004, he has served as an advisor to the Irish National Craft Council, developing marketplaces for Irish artists in the United States and the E.U. He curated a solo exhibition for American jeweler Bruce Metcalf at the National Craft Gallery of Ireland in May 2011.
Ruth Snyderman Owner
Ruth was the founder of The Works Gallery in 1965. After 45 years, it has merged with The Snyderman Gallery. In 1970, Ruth was an active founder of The South Street Renaissance, stimulating the growth of the arts on South Street. Ruth serves on the Planning Committee for the 40th reunion. Ruth has served on the Board of The Clay Studio and Collab (connected with the Philadelphia Museum of Art), and she is presently on the board of the Watershed Ceramic Center and The Painted Bride Art Center. Ruth holds a business degree from Temple University but has always been interested in art. The gallery stimulates her creative interests, as well as dance performances and ethnic music concerts.
Leigh Werrell Assistant Director
Leigh Werrell is a painter who graduated from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts MFA program in 2012. Her most recent exhibition was a two-person show at Gross McCleaf Gallery, and she has also been included in a number of group and juried shows in the Philadelphia area since 2012. Leigh takes much of her inspiration from the streets of Philadelphia as well as from memories of Virginia and North Carolina, where she has previously resided.
Michael Bukowski Preparator
Michael Bukowski grew up in northern New Jersey, is 31 years old, and currently resides in Philadelphia PA. He attended The University Of the Arts and graduated in 2001 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Illustration. Since then he's worked tirelessly drawing records, shirts, logos, posters, ads, and flyers for hardcore and punk bands from all over the world (including bands from Asia, Australia, Europe, North America and South America) and traveling to all seven continents and throughout the USA.
Dennis Ambrogi Curator
Dennis Ambrogi grew up on the Main Line of Philadelphia, graduated with honors from Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, N.Y. in 1974, specializing in Primitive Weaving Cultures and their Techniques. After school he moved to Philadelphia and became a colorful member of the South Street art scene. During that time he produced a line of hand woven clothing and ritual home furnishing. Exhibited in major craft fairs, group shows and the Works Gallery during the late 70’s and early 80’s. Since then he has taught weaving, baked specialty deserts, designed interiors/landscapes/additions/complex wall finishes, orchestrated parties and Christmas decorations for the rich and famous. Self employed for 30 years, living in Miami, San Diego and Asheville, he has returned to assist at the Snyderman-Works Galleries again. He will continue to produce his ever-evolving creations.