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July 5, 2017

Beloved Philadelphia Art Gallery to Close After 52 Years

About the Author
Kim Minutella

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I hate goodbyes. I have a hard time saying goodbye to my cats when I leave for work in the morning. I don’t like saying goodbye to my friends after hanging out with them on the weekends. Heck, I don’t even like saying goodbye to a good meal after I finish it.
Saying goodbye to the innovative Snyderman-Works Gallery is the most difficult farewell I’ve had to say in a long time.
After 52 years of influence on the Philadelphia art community and the city itself, Snyderman-Works will be closing their doors at the end of July 2017. The owners, Ruth and Rick Snyderman, have sold the building and will be starting their own business as art consultants, continuing their work by assisting in the development of different projects.
It is inspiring to see just how much Ruth and Rick have accomplished with Snyderman-Works, which has become one of the longest-running galleries to exhibit contemporary arts and crafts in the Philadelphia area. They’ve had a long journey together as gallery owners, which began all the way back in 1965 when Ruth first founded The Works Gallery, with Rick joining her in running the business only six years later in 1971. Ruth and Rick would later come to open up a second operation, the Snyderman gallery in 1983, which focused on studio furniture and glass works. Both galleries would then serve as art industry leaders in Philadelphia during the 1980s, their popularity coming to pave the way for the refurbishing of the South Street and Old City areas.
Starting in the 1990s, The Snyderman would combine with The Works Gallery and receive a spacial upgrade, where Rick and Ruth moved the business to a larger building in Old City. From there, Snyderman-Works would serve as a major contributor to the creation of the First Friday concept (one of my favorite things to do in Philadelphia), an event in which galleries open up and host receptions in the Old City area on the first Friday of every month. In doing so, Snyderman-Works has helped to shape Old City as a center for the arts as well as a community for small, independent retail businesses.
In many ways, the Snyderman-Works gallery is a historical location that has helped to define the Philadelphia art community through it’s participation in the beginnings of First Friday as well as by revamping Old City. While saying goodbye to such an influential gallery is heartbreaking, it is also exciting because Ruth and Rick Snyderman will be launching new opportunities with their up-and-coming business as art consultants.  
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