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About the Plastic Club

Since 1897, The Plastic Club has been devoted to the promotion and preservation of the visual (plastic) arts in Philadelphia. The busy gallery schedule offers several annual exhibitions for members and non-members, as well as invited artists in solo and group exhibitions. Members include well-known Philadelphia artists.

The name " Plastic Club," suggested by Blanche Dillaye, referred to any work of art unfinished, or in a "plastic" state. The term also refers to the changing and tactile sense of painting and sculpture.

Among the founding members of The Plastic Club were the "Red Rose Girls" -- Violet Oakley, Jessie Willcox Smith, and Elizabeth Shippen Green -- outstanding artists of their time. The name was given to this group of talented women by their teacher Howard Pyle.

Although initially formed as a women's group, The Plastic Club has always hosted exhibitions and lectures by prominent men and women artists. Membership was expanded to include men in 1991, and they now number about half of the active members.

The Club's home is a historic double townhouse located on one of Philadelphia's "little streets" in the heart of the city. Built in 1824, it houses the club's spacious studio, gallery spaces, offices and dining facilities. The club purchased the property in 1909, and expanded it to include the house next door in 1910. In the past ten years the building has undergone many rennovations so that it now functions like a 21st century building, but still retains its 19th century charm.

We are happy to have the venerable Philadelphia Sketch Club as our neighbor to the north on Camac Street. At one time there were several other clubs here, including the Cushman Club, now in private hands, which earned the alley the nickname "Little Street of Clubs". On October 21 2001, the historical value of our tiny street was formally recognized with the designation "Avenue of the Artists" by the City of Philadelphia.


Sidewalk sale of art by members brings in cash for building restoration. Generous donations from members of both money and time provide for the bulk of the ongoing improvements and repairs.






















The front of The Plastic Club's historic building.

The name sign for the 200 block of Camac Street conveys historical tribute

Interior of the main first floor gallery