Carolyn Harper

Carolyn Harper


    Please contact artist for purchases, commissions, etc.

    Fiber Arts

    Artist's Statement

    My work has a strong social justice component to it as I create images of people or groups who have been marginalized, discriminated against, or abused. Much of my work depicts specific Philadelphians; someone living in an area homeless shelter or on the streets. They provide faces to those who are faceless, nameless and powerless, and bear witness to those who are suffering. The current works are primarily hand sewn, large quilts, often with hand dyed fabric; and hand embroidered batiks. They provide very large, graphic images that call attention to those forgotten by society. They are visible markers that shout out: 'Look at me! See me!'

    My experience in working with portraiture and the homeless is that the portraits serve to empower those people depicted. They are able to see themselves through the portraits as not just homeless, or jobless, but as singular individuals with an important story and history. Portraiture is an extremely powerful tool of self discovery. There is something reached, something confronting, something born or remembered when an individual and an artist can coalesce into an honest creative space and energy.

    My practice is not only about documenting and creating - it is also about making connections with people, and I have formed deep personal relationships with many of the people whom I have met. My hope is that the work will encourage others to do the same, and that you will see something of yourself in these images, for as Paul Klee wrote, “Art does not reproduce what we see; rather, it makes us see.”

    Selected Exhibitions

    Visions Art Museum, San Diego, CA

    Muse Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

    Umppqua Community College, Rosebury, OR

    Morgan Community College, CACE

    Ruth Funk Center for Textile Arts, Melbourne, FL

    Look Me In The Eye, Muse Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

    Quilts Unlimited, View Center for Arts, Old Forge, NY

    All Media, Irvine Arts Center, Irvine, CA

    Faces & Figures, Flagler County Art League, Palm Coast, FL
    Award of Distinction

    Women in Art, Las Laguna Gallery, Laguna Beach, CA

    Art Quilt Elements, Wayne Art Center, Wayne, PA

    Red Shield Family Center, Philadelphia, PA

    Sunday Breakfast Rescue Mission, Philadelphia, PA

    Speaking of Fibers 2019, MoFA, Webster Groves, MO

    Fiber Arts IX, Sebastopol Center for the Arts, Sebastopol, CA

    A Different Vision, Plymouth Center for the Arts, Plymouth, MA

    Fiber As Metaphor, GalleryFRITZ, Santa Fe, NM

    The Ties That Bind, Gallery One, Ellensburg, WA

    Muse Group Show, Muse Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

    Finding Your Voice, Kelwood Contemporary Art, Baton Rouge, LA

    Reality Sandwiches, Los Angeles, CA
    Juror: Alison Saar

    Identity Spectrum, Susquehanna Art Museum, Harrisburg, PA

    The Dispossessed, Muse Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

    Political As Personal, Ann Arbor Center for Arts, Ann Arbor, MI

    Faces, Santa Barbara Art Center, Santa Barbara, CA

    Reflections, Kelwood Contemporary Art, Baton Rouge, LA

    Bloom, Sturt Haaga Gallery, La Canada Flintridge, CA

    Outside In, WCA Exhibition, Scotts Mills Studios, Philadelphia, PA

    Connected By Stitch, SAQA, Williamsport, PA

    Member Exhibition, Muse Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

    Fearless, Old Court House Arts Center, Woodstock, IL

    Contemporary Fiber, Santa Cruz Art League, Santa Cruz, CA

    FL3TCH3R Exhibit, Reece Museum, Johnson City, TN

    Allowed to Love, Muse Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

    Vision: An Artist's Perspective, Kaleid Gallery, San Jose, CA

    Fiber Innovations II, PACE, Parker, CO

    HERStory 2016, Manhattan Arts International, New York, NY

    How Early Is Too Early, Workshops and Exhibition, Carnegie Library, Braddock, PA

    Artist's Bibliography

    Artist in Residence, Muse Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

    The Puffin Foundation Grant for Artists

    Professional Experience

    2015 - Present
    Private art instructor

    2003 - 2004
    The Wetherill School, Gladwyne, PA
    Art Teacher

    1998 - 2000
    Chester Upland School District, Chester, PA
    Art Teacher

    1992 - 1998
    Moore College of Art and Design, Philadelphia, PA
    Student Activities Coordinator

    1990 - 1992
    Atwater Kent Museum of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA
    Archivist, Writer

    1987 - 1989
    Smithsonian Museum of American Art, Washington, D.C.

    Community Service

    Red Shield Family Shelter, Philadelphia, PA
    Project Volunteer creating portraits of residents

    2018 - 2019
    Red Shield Family Shelter, Philadelphia, PA
    Art Educator Volunteer

    2005 - 2010
    Soup Kitchens, Philadelphia, PA
    Meal prep & server

    1992 - 1995
    NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt, Washington, D.C.

    1987 - 1989
    Soup Kitchens, Washington, D.C.
    Meal prep & server


    Moore College of Art and Design, Philadelphia, PA
    Art Education Certification

    University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA

    Kenyon College, Gambier, OH