Invest in us today to become a champion of creativity in our Philadelphia At The Soapbox, we’re touched by the local community’s outpouring of support for the arts in Philadelphia amid an uncertain future. Your involvement in our community has been critical to providing access to education and equipment for sharing their stories through book, print, and zine arts – and that’s under normal circumstances.
During Philadelphia’s Stay-at-Home order, late-March through June, The Soapbox’s studio has been closed to both our members and to visitors. This closure has damaging financial implications for The Soapbox, the community print shop & library you’ve enabled to grow from a tiny rowhouse studio to our beautiful new studio at 4700 Kingsessing. Income from workshops and studio memberships provides 47% of operating funds. During this time, we’ve cut expenses, raised supplemental funds, and planned new programs, all while monitoring the public health situation so that we can assess the right time to safely and gradually reopen our studio.
At the same time, Philadelphia’s fiscal year 2021 budget eliminates the majority of the Philadelphia Cultural Fund’s budget. The Philadelphia Cultural Fund supports hundreds of organizations across the city – and provided our only operating grant in 2019, covering approximately 4% of expenses.
Looking back to 2019, the support of our Soapbox community made critical additions to the studio. It enabled over 50 individuals to learn and create in our studio through memberships, fellowships, and artist-in-residence programs, and over 100 learned new creative skills through on-site workshops. It allowed an additional 200 visitors to read handmade, independent publications that can’t be found at the bookstore. Hundreds more attended workshops at other locations across the city, visited for special events such as the Edible Book Festival (hosted in collaboration with our friends at the Philadelphia Center for the Book), and attended Philly Zine Fest. With donations from our community, we:
- Purchased a board shear for cutting of large paper and board to support members in print and bookmaking projects.
- Bought rollers to get a Kelsey tabletop clamshell press up and running.
- Bought lumber and shelving for improved storage in screenprinting.
- Purchased supplies to expand the number of screenprinters working at one time in the shop, such as additional squeegees and printing surfaces.
Looking forward, we are excited to have just launched our first online workshop series, and restored studio access to keyholder members this summer. New online programs feature workshops in mask making, screen printing, zine making and book making by experienced instructors, as well as critique groups and a popular new postcard exchange program. Your ongoing support brings these workshops to the homes of our community members, and allows continued improvements to take place while the studio is quiet, so that when Open Hours and on-site workshops are restored, The Soapbox can accommodate more individuals than ever to gather safely to share stories, build community, read zines, and make art.
That’s why I would like to ask you to consider investing in The Soapbox through this incredibly difficult period. Your commitment to keeping the arts alive—even in homes or virtual classrooms—fuels our community and turns the challenges of 2020 into opportunities. Champion creativity by making a donation online at http://www.phillysoapbox.org/donate/ or mail a check, made payable to The Soapbox, to 741 S. 51st Street, Philadelphia, PA, 19143.
Stay safe and know that you are in our thoughts. At The Soapbox, we remain hopeful and filled with love for the local creative community. Thank you for being a part of The Soapbox!
Soapbox Co-Founder & Board President