About Us

The Soapbox is a nonprofit community print shop, book and zine making center, and library of 2,500 rare handmade publications – one of only a few spaces in the country that combines zine, book arts, and poetry chapbook worlds in one location. Since 2011, we have been offering affordable workshops, equipment access, art exhibits, readings, a reading room, and edible printing events.

We are located at 4700 Kingsessing Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19143. For more information about getting to us, visit our Contact Us page.

During a twice-a-week Open Hours, anyone is welcome to visit our library and tour the studio. Studio members can access our shared studio equipment during Open Hours or at their convenience, depending on their membership type. Also check our Event Schedule for workshops and other programs. Feel free to let us know if you’d like to print with us or visit the library.

The Soapbox wants to help you make your voice heard. We support the community in recording and sharing its stories in a compelling way, using the tactile and visual arts of printed matter to grab attention with something authentic and handmade in today’s digital age. By preserving the crafts of the book and letterpress printing, we are also maintaining Philadelphia’s long and important history in printing, pamphleteering, and activism. Our library of handmade publications archives these stories and practices, preserving stories outside mainstream media and publishing, and supports literacy.

Mission:

The Soapbox is a West Philadelphia-based 501c3 non-profit that fosters the creative and political voices of the community. By providing resources, equipment, and instruction in printing, binding, and related self-publication arts, The Soapbox seeks to empower individuals and non-profit community organizations to disseminate information and creative voices. The Soapbox values art-making, word-smithing, and skillsharing towards a vision of social justice wherein all people have access to the means of production, and learn to produce materials that are accessible to the many rather than the few.

History:

In the fall of 2009, Mary Tasillo and Charlene Kwon met for the first time in a small coffee shop in West Philadelphia. A discussion about the lack of community studio space for book arts and zine-making turned into a plan to open a non-profit. The next summer, they purchased a space just one block from the same coffee shop, and in March 2011, The Soapbox was born. Since then The Soapbox has grown to offer a zine library, shared studio space and equipment for members, workshops and skillshares, and a growing community of like-minded artists, writers, and activists.