About Us

Where are we now? We are pleased to be offering our Library and Workshops at 1323 S. May Street until our full move to 4700 Kingsessing.

We will be able to expand our studio offerings and open hours in a larger location at 4700 Kingsessing, Philadelphia, PA. The space is undergoing renovations and we’ll be announcing our move-in date as it nears.

Sign up to receive updates here.

The Soapbox is a nonprofit community print shop, book and zine making center, and library of 2,000 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 out of a small rowhouse in West Philadelphia. We are excited to be outgrowing our space as we’ve added more equipment to our letterpress, screenprinting, etching/relief printing, and digital printing areas.

Thanks to the donations of over 100 individuals and a Creative Incubator Grant from the Corzo Center for the Creative Economy at the University of the Arts and the Wells Fargo Fellowship Program, we’re thrilled to have raised over $16,000 to support our expansion into a larger space. Submit your email to our mailing list to keep up-to-date on our progress.

Take a look around our site to see what we’ve got to offer, and 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. Further, our community programming will use engagement with the book to support literacy. In a larger public space, we can expand Open Hours, implement increased community outreach, and improve our equipment offerings.

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.

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. You can read more about our community on our Volunteer page. Re-opening in early 2017, we are excited to expand into a larger space with more equipment, more access, and more programming. Stay tuned to see how we grow!

Email us at info(at)phillysoapbox.org or find us on Facebook.