Fleisher Art Memorial

Graphic Sketch Club. Image provided by Temple University Urban Archives

719 Catharine St.

This building, formerly known as St. Martin's College for Indigent Boys, was purchased by Samuel Fleisher (grandson of German Jewish immigrants) in 1911. The Fleisher family made their fortune by founding one of the nation's first worsted woolens mills, located in Southwest Philadelphia. Originally called the Graphic Sketch Club, Fleisher's school began in 1898, when it held art classes for poor boys. It eventually grew to include adults and children of all ages and both sexes. Fleisher purchased the adjacent Romanesque revival church, formerly Episcopal Church of the Evangelist, in 1922 to house his own private collections and host performances. He dubbed it "The Sanctuary," and opened it to the neighborhood residents as space for contemplation and study. Today, under the direction of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the school continues to fulfill its founder's mandate by offering free art classes to more than 3,000 children and adults every year.

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