About the FQA

A Fellowship of Quakers in the Arts would not have been possible a century ago. Friends have traditionally held that the arts were self-intoxicating and untruthful, encouraging "vain imaginings" and distracting us from "attending to the pure Life" and from doing God's work. (The evolution of Friends' views on the arts is presented through quotations in our pamphlet, Beyond Uneasy Tolerance.)

In his 1978 Swarthmore lecture, Signs of Life, Ormerod Greenwood called our forebears' shunning of the arts "a grave misreading of the Divine purpose." We agree. It is our experience as Quakers that spirituality and art reinforce each other in healing brokenness on many different levels of existence. Failure to recognize the synergy between the two undermines our Society's spiritual health and our ability to make our witness known. Therefore, we are no longer willing to keep our Quakerism and our art separate.

The Fellowship of Quakers in the Arts began in 1993 in Burlington Quarter of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting. The nucleus came from a Friends Theater Group which had been started the previous year. One of the cast members—Minnie Jane, a painter from Trenton (NJ) Monthly Meeting—felt led to try to begin patching the broken connections bewteen the spiritual and the aesthetic, between artists and other Friends. Minnie Jane corresponded with British Friends of the Quaker Fellowship of Artists (now the Quaker Arts Network), and began collecting names and addresses of North American Quakers involved in the arts.

In the Philadelphia area, meanwhile, productions by the Friends Theater Group were soon followed by art exhibits, poetry readings, coffee houses. and neighborhood arts festivals. FQA has hosted an art show and reception at the biennial Philadelphia Residential Yearly Meeting since 1995. Our first literary anthology, The Best of Friends, vol. 1 was published in association with Kimo Press in 1999.

In 1998 we inaugurated the Lemonade Gallery at the annual summer Gathering of Friends General Conference, an exhibition and performance space which has become one of the Gathering's most popular attractions. In recent years we have had a Western Sister FQA which sponsors arts events at Yearly and Quarterly Meetings in California.

FQA publishes a biennial directory with information about members and their activities in the arts. The first edition, published in 1994, contained 61 listings, all but four from Philadelphia Yearly Meeting. The current edition shows how FQA has grown, with members from all over the US and Canada, as well as other countries. It is our hope that FQA will come to provide a network of mutual support for Friends in the arts, wherever they live.

In addition to the directory, members receive Types & Shadows, our quarterly journal/newsletter. Members are also entitled to participate in FQA-sponsored group shows and other arts events, and to a listing on our Links to Members' Web Sites page.

The Fellowship of Quakers in the Arts is supported largely by membership contributions. We currently ask for an annual donation of $22 for individuals, $50 for groups and institutions.

To join, you may use the downloadable membership form on this site. Forms are also include in every issue of Types & Shadows.

Membership in FQA is open to individuals and groups who are in harmony with our purpose. We also welcome support, financial and spiritual, from Monthly Meetings and other Quaker bodies.

"Letting our lives speak through the arts"

Fellowship of Quakers in the Arts (FQA)
1515 Cherry Street
Philadelphia, PA 19102

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This page last updated on Thursday, October 20, 2011