Rites of Passage: Article from Museum News, 1976
Scope and Contents
This collection documents the activities of the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s Department of Urban Outreach, renamed the Department of Community Programs in 1977, hereafter referred to as the Department. The records date from 1951 to 1984 and include correspondence, exhibit planning documentation, photographs and scrapbooks, information concerning artists involved in various projects and general research files concerning related events and initiatives in the art community. While the collection does not provide comprehensive documentation of all aspects of the Department, it does include a wide variety of resources that demonstrate the Department’s intentions of appealing to culturally, economically and ethnically diverse communities. Of particular interest are the numerous records documenting exhibits such as “Hollywood Film Fantasies” and “Rites of Passage,” and as well as outreach programs such as Environmental Art Program and mural projects, including the “Wall Art” records for the initiative that eventually developed into the Mural Arts Program.
The collection is divided into six series: “Correspondence,” “Subject files,” “Programs and exhibits,” “Affiliated institutions,” “Scrapbooks,” and “Photographs.”
The “Correspondence” series contains internal memoranda and in-coming and out-going letters of the Department. The series is further divided into three sub-series: “General correspondence,” “Penny Bach files,” and “Jacqueline Teamor files.” Researchers should note that other correspondence may be found throughout the rest of the collection as well, particularly in series “Subject files” and “Special events, programs and exhibits.”
The “General correspondence” sub-series includes correspondence from a number of employees both within and outside the Department. Featured correspondents include Program Directors Penny Bach and David Katzive, and co-directors Don Kaiser and Clarence Wood. Arnold Jolles, originally the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s Assistant Director for Art and later Acting Director, is also a prominent correspondent, as is former Museum Director, Jean Sutherland Boggs and Executive Director of the Samuel Fleisher Art Memorial, Thora Jacobson. Most of the correspondence is related to the daily operation of the Department, and includes inter-office memoranda regarding programming and general decision-making. This sub-series also includes several five-year operations analyses, including budget information, as well as inquiries and requests from artists and their representatives. The files date from 1970 to 1981 and are arranged alphabetically.
The “Penny Bach files” sub-series contains correspondence and memoranda created during Bach’s tenure as Program Director. The correspondence reveals her role as leader of the department, and includes communication with potential donors, administrators from fellow institutions, and artists. The material dates from 1973 to 1981, and is arranged alphabetically by correspondence type, such as “in-coming and outgoing” and “memoranda,” with untitled files housed at the beginning of the sub-series.
The “Jacqueline Teamor files” sub-series, which dates from 1971 to 1979, consists of chronologically arranged correspondence between Jacqueline Teamor and artists, program planners and other community organizers in the Philadelphia area. Teamor was directly involved with the planning and implementation of a great number of the Department’s programs and activities and her correspondence reflects this. Researchers should note that there are related materials in series “Subject files” and “Special events, programs and exhibits.”
The “Subject files” series contains materials most likely collected and used by the Department for background research and planning, as well as records created by the Department, such as budgets, mailing lists, grant applications, personnel files and other records documenting the daily activities of the Department. The series is divided into two sub-series, “General” and “Artists files.”
The “General” sub-series consists of notes, clippings, some correspondence and other printed material related mostly to the planning of exhibits and events sponsored by the Department. Many of the records reveal relationships with and inspiration from other local and national cultural organizations, including the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance, the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, the Abington Art Center, the Philadelphia Urban Homesteading Program, the Academy of Natural Sciences, the San Francisco Art Commission, the Philadelphia Zoo, Philadelphia Department of Recreation, and the National Conference of Artists. Also of interest are the various grant applications filed by the Department to support ongoing projects, as well as budgets and annual reports. Many of the materials in this sub-series provide contextual information for records found in the series “Special events, programs and exhibits.” The sub-series dates from 1966 to 1984 and is arranged in alphabetical order by subject.
The “Artists” sub-series contains clippings, correspondence, biographical information, some photographs, and other planning and publicity materials related to artists either featured in exhibits and events or involved in the planning of Department programs. The sub-series includes records related to the artistic endeavors of Don Kaiser and Clarence Wood, who served as Department Co-Directors in addition to working as artists themselves. The most well documented artist in the sub-series is Jacqueline Monnier (researchers interested in this artist or her involvement with the Department should also consult the series “Special events, programs and exhibits,” where there are extensive records of her exhibit, “Travelling Exhibition”). Researchers may also be interested in the files which feature information about Philadelphia’s Black artist community, as well as national and international movements. The series dates from 1966 to 1984 and is arranged alphabetically by artist name, with the more general subject files housed at the end of the sub-series.
The “Special events, programs and exhibits” series contains correspondence, planning materials, and research files created and accumulated by the Department during program development and execution. Materials include program proposals, budget information, memoranda and newspaper clippings for programs such as the “Cinema in the Sky” film series partnership with the Franklin Institute, the “Hollywood Film Fantasies” lecture series, and the community-based “City/2” exhibition focused on Philadelphians reclaiming pride in their ownership of public spaces such as rivers, streets, sidewalks, and parks. Printed materials include brochures, promotional flyers, and photographs of the exhibits. This series also chronicles the Department’s participation in cultural events such as the Philadelphia Festival, and the Inner-City Cultural Arts Festival, as well as festivals sponsored by the Philadelphia Museum of Art, including the annual Super Sunday event and Chalk-In Festivals. Also represented are summer programs like the roving Craftsmobile, and traveling exhibitions like “The Collecting Instinct.” This sub-series prominently features the files of the Environmental Art Program, including the papers of the Creative Walls Committee, grant and funding information, as well as individual mural files from the “Wall Art” program. Jacqueline Monnier’s “Travelling Exhibition” is well documented, as well as the “Rites of Passage” serial exhibit, which highlighted culturally significant rituals within the African American, Chinese, Jewish, Italian and Puerto Rican communities. Of particular interest in this sub-series are the letters of acknowledgment and community feedback for the Department’s programming throughout the city and reference files describing the work of featured artists. The materials date from 1970 to 1983 and are arranged alphabetically by event name. Researchers should also consult related materials in the series “Subject files,” “Scrapbooks,” and “Photographs.”
The series “Affiliated Institutions” consists of records related to the Department’s administration of the Thomas Eakins House and the Samuel Fleisher Art Memorial in Philadelphia. The series is divided into two sub-series “Thomas Eakins House” and “Fleisher Art Memorial.” While the two sub-series contain similar types of information, the activities related to the Fleisher Art Memorial are better represented than those of the Eakins House.
The “Thomas Eakins House” sub-series mostly contains correspondence related to project planning, communication between the Department, Caretaker Bruce Johnson and other staff at the Eakins House, as well as various proposals for newly developed programs and workshops. Materials also include financial records such as annual reports, bills, budgets and insurance information, as well as brochures and information about the art collections at Eakins House and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The records date from 1968 to 1983 and are arranged alphabetically by subject.
The “Fleisher Art Memorial” sub-series contains records related to the planning and administrative operations of the Department’s administration of the Samuel Fleisher Art Memorial, a free art school in Philadelphia. Records document financial and budget information, including fundraising efforts, and correspondence between Fleisher Art Memorial Executive Director, Thora Jacobson and Department board members. Researchers will also find annual reports, committee meeting minutes, records related to art and artifacts, classes and workshops, as well as information concerning the physical accommodations of the Memorial building, such as deeds, correspondence and budgets. Also of interest are the “Exhibitions” materials documenting several events organized at the Memorial, such as “Philadelphia – Now!,” “70 Teachers Celebrate,” and “Faces at Fleisher.” Numerous printed brochures provide visually appealing documentation of many of these exhibitions as well. The materials date from 1951 to 1981 and are arranged alphabetically by subject.
The “Scrapbooks” series includes compiled memorabilia from the Department’s community programs and exhibits. The scrapbooks contain photographs and newspaper clippings from events included in the Environmental Art programs such as “Franklin’s Footpath,” exhibition of the artist “Woofy Bubbles,” and several Chalk-In Festivals. Other events represented are the Rites of Passage exhibit and the Inner-City Arts Festival. There is significant overlap with the materials in series “Special events, programs and exhibits.” The materials date from 1971 to 1978 and are arranged in alphabetical order by subject.
“Photographs” is a small series that documents only some of the Department’s events and programs; as such the materials supplement information found in series “Special events, programs and events.” There are photographs of murals created as part of the Wall Art program and other Department sponsored classes and exhibits, including the Craftsmobile, Chalk-In Festival and Super Sunday. Also included are photographs of street scenes and parks from the Philadelphia area, possibly used for inspiration or planning purposes for various events. Researchers should note that some photographs can be found within other series, such as "Subject files," "Special events, programs and exhibits" and “Scrapbooks.” The photographs date from 1955 to 1982 and are arranged alphabetically by subject. A “Miscellaneous” folder containing unidentified photographs documenting some exhibitions, lectures, and other cultural events most likely sponsored by the Department housed at the end of the series.
Conditions Governing Access
This collection is open for research.
From the Collection: 18 linear feet
Language of Materials
From the Collection: English
From the Collection: Spanish; Castilian
- From the Collection: Bach, Penny Balkin (Creator, Person)
- From the Collection: Katzive, David H. (Creator, Person)
- From the Collection: Teamor, Jacqueline (Creator, Person)
- From the Collection: Wood, Clarence (Creator, Person)
- From the Collection: Philadelphia Museum of Art. Department of Urban Outreach (Creator, Organization)
- From the Collection: Philadelphia Museum of Art. Department of Community Programs (Creator, Organization)